Work now eat later
By JEFF LUND
September 15, 2014
Mom used to make honey and Fireweed jelly, but filets always went into the freezer.
What intrigued me about the process, was not only that I thought it might be column-worthy, but that once fish are pressure cooked, the whole process is pretty much done. It’s just a matter of scooping it out, adding mayo, cream cheese, or just scooping it with a cracker. It’s ready to go. There’s no thawing, waiting, seasoning, cooking then eating. It’s pantry to mouth in seconds. I have prepared a lunch in December already.
Some of you are thinking, “Uhh, yeah…” because this isn’t some great discovery which took years of investigating. As I said though, I’ve had my own way of doing things and routines can be difficult to alter.
I don’t have a skiff. But my roommate Dave does and in a quick trip one afternoon we had eight silvers in the cooler, and school the next day.
We decided to filet the fish, keep them on ice and can them the next night. The next night was Monday, and all of a sudden I wasn’t as fired up about the notion of pressure cooking. There was trimming, slicing, seasoning, filling and waiting to be done. In short, all the work that I didn’t have to do later when I was unsealing the jar, I had to do now. Thankfully we had the 90s Hip Hop channel. Nothing says subsistence living in Alaska like some beats from the streets of Compton.
Dave had to leave for work obligations, so since I wanted this experience, I was left to do the work which at that point was just stuffing the jars and working the pressure cooker.
In went the fish, and I sealed the lid. The worst part of the process has to be the waiting. I watched as steam came out of one of the vents, but the needle on the gauge didn’t move. With no frame of reference I wasn’t sure if this was normal, or if the gauge was broken and I was about to blow up the kitchen of a house into which I had just moved. My security deposit might not cover that.
By the time Dave returned home it was getting late and the first batch still wasn’t finished. We hovered, then finally unloaded and set the second batch it. I told Dave I could take care of the rest so I waited until tonight became tomorrow and the pressure cooker did it’s work.
When it finally had, I unloaded it unceremoniously and went to bed.
I knew when it was time to eat, I’d appreciate it, but at the time all I could think about was getting to sleep.
The next afternoon I tried some. It wasn’t incredible, but it was worth the sleep deprivation.
Jeff Lund ©2014
Jeff Lund is a Teacher, Freelance Writer, & River fishing guide (Tranquil Charters) living in Ketchikan, Alaska