Smelling Fishy Arthur Anderson art artnscience-(at)-yahoo.com
I enjoy eating eels. I remember, from my childhood, seeing the distinctive wood stick "eel traps" that were set up on the Lackawaxen river between Rowlands and the place where this river joins the Delaware at the town of Lackawaxen Pennsylvania. The V shaped traps were originally designed by the local native american tribes but later were maintained by a colorful character named Gotleib Kuhn. Kuhn used to work for Zayne Grey while he wrote novels in his cabin by the Lackawaxen river. Gotleib collected the eels and froze, smoked and gellied them for shipment to Denmark where eel is considered a delicacy. Occasionally, while fishing off the Lackawaxen bridge I would catch an eel instead of the small mouth bass I was hoping for. One time I took the brown slimy eel home and my grandfather's friend Leif Cartwright showed me how to skin and prepare it. We nailed its jaw to a tree, cut the skin around behind the head and with a pliers pulled the skin off with one tug.
Then I fried segments of eel in butter with salt and pepper. It really tasted good. It was not fishy and tasted like rattlesnake. I never had gellied eel but I imagine boiled eel would gel if you left it in its broth, especially if you added carrots, celery and onions to the liquid while it was boiling.
Once while dinning in Denmark, I asked the waiter to bring me the local specialty. He brought boiled eel and alebrod. Alebrod is a thick dark gravy made by soaking stale bread with crusts in the broth of boiled eel and dark ale. When this mixture is slowly reduced in a sauce pan to the consistency and color of applebutter it is ready. I can't say I liked the boiled eel. It was tough and hard to get off the bone. The alebrod was tasty but when my knife slipped while trying to free some meat from the boiled eel, I managed to accidentally fling some dark alebrod onto my partner's white blouse...oops. That stuff really stains!
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