Ever since we crossed the Mason-Dixon line, we’ve had to turn down numerous offers of fresh caught fish because we lacked any decent tools to filet and cook them. Finally after the nth time fishermen pulled over to our canoe and offered us their catch, we said what the hell and packed four large tripe into our cooler. Don’t ask me why we turned down the catfish we had been offered earlier in the trip for a much less tasty fish. In any case, here are the steps you should not take when cooking a fish caught in the Mississippi River.
1. Don’t pack a plastic bag overstuffed with ice and tripe into your cooler, infusing your food with fish smell.
When we started planning this trip, lots of people had one of two reactions. One was to say something about Deliverance. The second, less common response was to say something like “Yikes, you’re going to be going through the South.”
As accessible towns on the river can be scarce in the Delta, we decided to page through the Lower River maps to get a better sense of what towns are close to the water. It was December when we did this. 12-12-12, specifically. Hurricane Sandy had just happened and we had the 12 12 12 concert for Sandy relief streaming live in the background. I flipped the map over to chart 35, which shows the town of Rosedale. “Rosedale!” Dave said, “That’s where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil!”
That second, I mean that second, Eric Clapton played the opening riff to his version of Crossroad Blues onstage at Madison Square. I’m not particularly superstitious, but I think I had to put the maps down for a few minutes. I’m still not sure what to take away from the whole thing, but we decided we had to get to the Crossroads.