Saturday, March 26, 2016

How to Cook Vietnamese Caramelized and Braised Fish For Kids

When I was a kid, I used to watch reruns of The Andy Griffith Show. After repeatedly watching the opening credits, I concluded that one of the jobs of a father is to take their sons fishing. The other job is to happily whistle whenever feasibly possible. I vowed that one day, when I had a son of my own, I'd take him fishing too.

That day finally came. Since Cassie had taken Cailya on a trip to Las Vegas, I figured it would be the perfect opportunity for a father son fishing expedition. The Herndon Parks and Rec department was holding their annual trout fishing derby, so I signed us up. The fact that I didn't know how to fish was a minor detail.

When we arrived at the park, I quickly realized that most of the other father son duos had at least one experienced fisherman in the pair. Other sons and fathers were armed with knee high waterproof boots and high tech fishing gear. On the other hand, I quietly made my way over to registration and whispered, "Can someone teach us how to fish?"

One nice teenaged volunteer handed us a loaner pole and showed us how to release the line and then reel it back in. He then handed us a cup of worms and said, "Hooking the worms is self-explanatory." In other words, only an idiot would have trouble attaching a worm to a hook.

We headed over to the stream and I picked a nice spot. After several attempts, I finally hooked the worm. Then, as I have seen it done so many times in television and movies, I whipped our fishing pole behind my head. Unfortunately, when I attempted to throw our line forward into the water, I couldn't. It had gotten stuck on a tree. I actually got our line caught on a tree three other times before I realized that I could simply put the line over the water, then send it out sideways. 

Colin and I took turns holding the fishing pole, patiently waiting for a bite. Colin asked a lot of questions to pass the time like, "Did you get the fishing line stuck on the tree again?" and "Did you lose the worm again?" After a couple of hours, our supply of worms and patience were exhausted. We didn't end up catching any fish, so we went to the supermarket and bought a fish instead. I brought it home and cooked up this tasty Vietnamese Caramelized and Braised Catfish recipe. Although I turned out to be more Don Knotts than Andy Griffith, I'm glad I took Colin fishing. Perhaps now I'll show him how to whistle.

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