Save on gear, the goal is trout to eat

Cooking In The West By Susan Metcalf
Thursday, June 18, 2020
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As Father’s Day approaches, the rivers and creeks are running high and muddy, which makes all of us happy--except those planning a Father’s Day fishing trip. This summer of social distancing makes camping and fishing the ideal pastime, especially because the fly fisherman has been glamourized and romanticized almost as much as the Gary Cooper/Marlboro cowboy image. Movies like A River Runs Through It have made fly fishing a huge industry in our part of the country, and I am glad because it provides me with a lot of summer amusement!

Now don’t get me wrong and send me hate mail! There are a lot of amazing fly fishermen out there who are true masters of their sport, and I envy them. However, there are many more who watched the movies and headed out west to catch the wily trout on a fly rod. Orvis and Cabela’s and other outdoor outfitters have capitalized on the glamour of fly fishing. When the aspiring fly fisherman walks through the door, the cash register is going to ring-a-ling. The fly fisherman needs the latest in graphite rods, high tech reels, the perfect line, leader, waders, mitts, creel, landing net, vest, float tubes, and a fly box containing every fly known to man and some no man has ever seen anywhere along any stream or river. He/she will buy the best fly fishing sunglasses, fishing hat, and even sun screen that money can buy. Then, they head to a creek or river to amuse the natives.

First, however, they have taken some very valuable fly fishing lessons, which covered topics such as tipping over rocks to check for hatches, looking cool while snagging branches on your back cast, and most importantly the 10:00 o’clock to 2:00 o’clock four motion cast. Some take advanced classes, so they can roll cast and look really cool while snapping their fly off that 7X tapered leader that has the test strength of a cobweb.

Then they head to the stream to ask for permission to fish. I always try really hard not to laugh out loud at the sight of the perfectly outfitted fishermen standing on the porch step full of optimism. They have paid more for their outfit and their lessons than I make in a month. I resist the urge to ask them if they need to dig any worms and wish them good luck. They assure me that they will catch and release the trout, and I assure them that I am SURE they will release anything they catch.

A few hours later, they usually return looking much less perky. Of course, they have no fish, because they “released” them all. From observation, I know this means that they spent 70% of their time trying to retrieve their $3.00 flies from overhanging branches and the other 30% of the time tipping over rocks and trying to choose or maybe even tie a fly that matches something they believe is hatching. If they actually do accidentally catch a really stupid and/or suicidal fish, they have 50 digital pictures from all angles to show me. I am pretty sure most of them would make me a great deal on their complete Cabela’s fishing outfit, but I hate to add insult to injury by asking them if perchance they want to sell any of their really snazzy fishing stuff, which I could resell on eBay.

As for me, I prefer to take my $25.00 Zebco spin-cast rod and reel combo down to the river with some worms, Power Bait, garlic cheese, and WD-40. I find a shady spot to set up my fishing chair that I bought for a quarter at a garage sale in 1983. It is really cool, because it has a rod holder on one side and a Diet Dr. Pepper holder on the other. I read my book, drink my pop, eat some garlic cheese, and eventually catch some fish. If I am feeling really energetic, I might throw out a few lures with big old treble hooks. To heck with catch and release- -the objective of fishing is to have trout for dinner!

It might seem that I would run some trout recipes, but I released them all! Instead I have great beef recipes from faithful reader, Kathleen Hogue of Mission Valley Ranch near Topeka, Kansas. These recipes would make a great Father’s Day feast. Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers and grandfathers!


1 lb. hamburger

1/8 t. minced garlic

2 beaten eggs

1 t. dried parsley

2 slices torn dry bread

14 oz stewed Italian tomatoes

1/3 C. parmesan cheese

2 t. leaf oregano

1/4 t. pepper

2 C. shredded mozzarella

Grease a 9” glass pie pan. Gently mix the hamburger, eggs, bread, parmesan, pepper, garlic and parsley. Press into the pan and up the sides. Drain and chop the tomatoes and spread on top. Sprinkle with oregano and cheese. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

Italian Hoagies

1/2 lb. lean ground beef

1 clove garlic, minced

1/8 t. ground red pepper

salt and pepper

14.5 oz Del Monte Italian styled stewed tomatoes

1 C. white shoepeg corn

1/4 C. sliced black olives

1/4 C. sliced green onions

1 1/2 C. shredded Cheddar

1 pkg. hoagie rolls

soft butter

In a skillet, brown meat with garlic and ground red pepper. Salt and pepper to taste, drain. Add tomatoes; cook uncovered, over medium-high heat about 6 minutes or until thickened. Drain corn and add to mixture. Slice rolls in half and place on cookie sheet, cut side up. Lightly butter and toast under broiler for 1 minute. Spread mixture over buns. Top with cheese, olives and green onions. Bake for 5 minutes at 400°. Watch closely!

Bluestem Beef Brisket

1/3 C. water

1/8 t. ground red pepper

1 t. minced onion

1 t. chili powder

2 T. Worcestershire

1/3 C. catsup

1 T. apple cider vinegar

1 T. brown sugar

1 t. beef bouillon granules

3.5 lb. beef brisket

Combine water, onion, Worcestershire, vinegar, bouillon, red pepper, chili powder, catsup and brown sugar. Slice brisket into 1 ½ inch thick pieces. Trim off fat and place in a 7X11 or 9X13 glass baking dish. Pour liquid mixture over the top. Cover with foil. Bake at 325° for 1 hour. Remove from oven, turn beef over and bake covered at 300° for an additional 2 hours. Turn oven down to 275° and bake for 1 more hour.