Thursday, September 17, 2009


The Carolina Foodie caught the largest wall-eye. Nanny-nanny-boo-boo. How does that sound for a grown-up after spending a week with your sister and brother in the Canadian wilderness of northern Ontario's lake district?
Along with two husbands, we arrived by float plane, 190 miles north of the border, the only folks to inhabit the four-mile long Lake Wilkie at a cabin powered by LP gas and solar panels. All food and drinks had to be flown in, under weight limits... how much does beer weigh?
Once there, we had four aluminum boats to tool around the lake with. Hiking was minimal, due to foot-deep moss which covered ankle-turning stone. But the fishing for wall-eye and Northern pike was terrific.
We had grilled fish five nights out of the seven. We had picnics on huge rocks lining the shore, with ghostly white aspens and firs reflected in the water.
And my siblings and I got to bond well, after our father had died just two weeks prior to leaving. The trip had been planned and paid for about a year in advance. Getting the three of us to commit was major. After Dad's death, we seemed driven to continue with our plans. So under the watch of a full moon, we talked and reminisced and figured things out around dinner and a campfire, re-capturing the bonds that genes had tossed together and left with renewed affection that goes beyond kinship.
Blueberries were prolific around the cabin and lake, so Amy and I gathered bowls full for blueberry pancakes and cobblers.
Limits of two fish per day per person were caught and cleaned, then grilled for our evening dinner, along with canned vegetables - not exactly gourmet.
We were told to take the fish guts out to a rocky point, where not just one, but three bald eagles landed daily and partook of the feast we offered. Later, they began to fly in each morning to stand sentinel in a tall pine, watching and waiting for a handout. Steve and I also saw a carribou cow swimming across the lake twice. During the dimming of the day, we took our boats to the middle of the lake and watched the sun set, then 180 degrees over, the glowing yellow moon rise and be reflected in the water.
We saw no bears, but saw evidence, through their scat, that they enjoyed blueberries, too.

Fillet fish. Wall-eye and pike are full of bones; pike are slimy. Cleaning them is not for the squeamish, so I volunteered to cook. I tossed out this contribution to the task at hand, that if you are going to grill fish, there is no need to scale the skin.
Melted butter
Salt and pepper
fresh thyme - yeah, go run out and get that when you're camping!
Preheat grill, and oil the grates with a paper towel swabbed in vegetable oil
Lay fish fillets, skin side down, on the grill. Spoon melted butter over, sprinkle with lemon juice, then salt and pepper to taste.
Close the grill cover, and cook for at least five minutes or more, until fish flakes when poked with a fork.
Eat immediately.