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The Catfish Book

The Catfish Book

By Linda Crawford Culberson
Foreword by Craig Claiborne
Paperback : 9781604733891, 140 pages, line drawings, August 2009

A fact-filled, light-hearted book that tells everything everyone would wish to know about the South's fish of choice


What would the state of southern plate and palate be without this staple? What is his great appeal? What is his family tree? How do you hook him? And if so, how do you cook him? But first you have to clean him, so how do you do that?

This light-hearted book of catfish facts and folklore gives ample answers to these momentous questions and to others just as acute. And cooks wishing to greet their catfish on the stovetop rather than on the riverbank will delight in this book's variety of award-winning recipes from the National Farm-Raised Catfish Cooking Contest.


"Crawford's informative and entertaining little volume explains how to 'skin a cat' and how to cook it as well, while tossing in enough folklore and background information to turn any Yankee into a passable catfish expert. There are several 'catting' (catfish fishing) techniques; the most common one uses a cane pole, sinker and live bait. In a more energetic method, people wade out into the water and jump up and down to make it muddy, forcing the unsuspecting fish to swim up for air. However, Crawford notes, 'I'm not sure polite people do this.' Species range from 'madtoms,' which are only two to five inches long full grown, to 'flatheads,' which can weigh more than a hundred pounds. There seem to be as many different ways to 'fry up' catfish as there are cooks—all convinced their own way is 'best, most traditional, and maybe even God-given.' Readers can avoid joining that argument and proceed to sample by attempting some of the recipes rounding out the volume, like catfish and broccoli chowder, catfish en papillote, or catfish and sprout pita sandwich. At the very least, they can nibble on hushpuppies (there are five versions here) while listening to the more volatile cooks sort it all out."

- Publishers Weekly