Lakes Region Foodie — Go fish!

02 15 salmon


After the Meredith Rotary Fishing Derby last weekend, and for many the season of Lent is upon us, it seemed that a column about fish might be appropriate. When I had my cooking classes, people would always say, “I don’t cook fish, I don’t know what to do with it.” You have to remember I had my cooking school in the Midwest, and when I moved back to my native new England, people knew a lot more; however, complaints ranged from “It smells up the house” to "the kids won’t eat it.” (Turn on a fan, and buy the kids fish fingers!)

But enough of constructive criticism.
Legend has it that when Paul Child took his wife, Julia, to France the first time, the ship landed at Rouen and Paul, being knowledgeable of the area, took her to La Couronne, a restaurant he apparently knew, where she had sole meuniere, and after the first bite, she had an epiphany! Thus began the second romance of her lifetime, according to her biographer Noel Riley Fitch. Fish and French food in general, it was that good!
Not only is fish good, it is good for us. There is such a range to choose from in the fish family. Think shellfish (lobster, clams, scallops, crabs, shrimp), round fish have an oval or circular shape, and include salmon, tuna, trout and bluefish and, from our own big lake, cusk! Then there are flatfish, flat and broad, such as halibut, sole and flounder.
When you go to select your fish, if you are choosing a whole fish look for clear, slightly bulging eyes, not cloudy. Cloudy eyes mean the fish has been out of the water too long. Press the fish with your finger; whole fish should be firm, not floppy. If I’m in a supermarket, I ask to smell the fish (with the exception of skate and shark, where an ammonia-like odor is actually a sign of freshness).
This is one of my favorite “go to” recipes, it’s quick, easy and delicious!

½ cup dry mustard powder, preferably Colman’s
½ cup sugar
2 lbs. center cut salmon fillet, about 2 inches at the thickest part, with skin
2 ½ Tb. extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 250 degrees

In a bowl, whisk together mustard, sugar, and up to ¼ cup water, set aside.
Cut the salmon into four uniform portions. Pat dry with a paper towel. Heat 1 Tb. oil in a heavy ovenproof skillet over high heat, (skillet should be large enough to hold all the salmon without crowding. Add salmon, skin side up, and sear quickly for about 2 minutes. Turn, sear another 2 minutes skin side down. Thickest part of the salmon should still be raw in the center.
Brush top of salmon with remaining oil, and the with the mustard sauce. Place in oven for about 10 minutes, until medium-rare in the middle. (An instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the fish should register about 100 to 110 degrees.) Remove from oven and serve.
I have scaled this recipe down for two, or even one. Just halve or quarter ingredients.

This recipe is reported to be the one that Julia ate at La Couronne, and forever changed the course of culinary history. Sole meuniere is simple to prepare: meuniere means “miller’s wife” in French, and indicates the use of flour.

SOLE MEUNIERE (serves 4)
4 fillets of sole
Seasoned flour (lightly salted and dash pepper)
6 TB. unsalted butter
Lemon juice, and lemon slices for garnish
Chopped fresh parsley
Place the flour on a plate and dredge the fish lightly in the flour. Heat 3 Tb. of the butter over medium-high heat and saute the fish lightly until light golden brown on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes each side. Place the fish on a warmed serving platter. Add the remaining 3 Tb. butter to the pan. Allow it foam and become slightly brown, add lemon juice, swirl around, and pour over fish. Garnish with lemon slices and parsley.
Bon Appetit!

Barbara Lauterbach is a member of International Association of Culinary Professionals and a Certified Culinary Professional with extensive background in teaching, lecturing, demonstration and product promotion. She is the author of four cookbooks, and has been published in Cooking Light, Yankee, Fine Cooking and the Boston Globe. She lives in Meredith.

Hot laps on the bay: Nostalgic Latchkey Cup brings ice racing back to Meredith

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Fabian Smith and his winged racer will be among the Modifieds competing in this weekend's Nostalgic Latchkey Cup Ice Races on Meredith Bay. (Tom Caldwell/Laconia Daily Sun)

CENTER HARBOR — The garage at Scott Burns Landscaping serves as a gathering place for members of the Lakes Region Ice Racing Club of Moultonborough, where they can tinker and fine tune their racing cars ahead of the next weekend’s racing events.
This week, they are preparing for a special race on Saturday, the Nostalgic Latchkey Cup Ice Races on Meredith Bay, which will be part of that town’s 250th anniversary celebration.
Ice racing had been taking place on Meredith Bay whenever the conditions allowed from the 1950s to the 1980s, with the Lakes Region Ice Racing Club getting involved to hold the first Latchkey Cup race in 1984. The race took its name from Meredith’s nickname as “Latchkey to the White Mountains.”
After a few years, the racing moved from the Bay to Lees and Berry ponds in Moultonborough, where the ice would freeze sooner and get thicker. Ice on Meredith Bay was less predictable, and as ice fishing grew in popularity and the number of docks increased, it made it more difficult to hold races there.
This year, however, the cold weather has produced a good layer of ice which measured between 28 and 30 inches thick when the crew went out earlier this week to fill in the holes from last weekend’s Great Meredith Rotary Ice Fishing Derby.
To hold a race, the ice must be at least 12 inches thick, according to James Demond.
“Everything has worked out great this year,” he said, noting that there seems to be a four-year cycle between good conditions and poor.
There is some concern about the warm weather this week, which forced a postponement of Laconia’s World Championship Sled Dog Derby. Fabian Smith said the ideal ice is cold and hard, but with crusting on top of it, the ice may be a little rough this year. He is hoping that, by Friday, they will be able to move the crust for a smoother ice surface.
The club measures the track and plows the ice before the race, and banks snow around it, if possible.
In order to make it safe to get on and off the ice, the club has logging bridges erected from the shore to the “good ice” and, for this weekend’s event, Lance Williams and Son Logging and Trucking and Mike Franks Logging will be setting the bridges. A ramp truck will be on hand in case it is needed, Smith said.
Racing will begin at noon, with free admission to the event.
There will be a donation can for those wishing to support the club, which donates all proceeds back into the community, through scholarships to students at Kingswood Regional High School in Wolfeboro, Moultonborough Academy, and Inter-Lakes High School in Meredith. The club also provides for those in need, whether they are suffering from cancer, need assistance with fuel costs, or are simply “down and out.”
Lengthy planning
The Meredith 250 Committee, which is coordinating the town’s anniversary event, got together with the Lakes Region Ice Racing Club back in 2013 to being planning for the return of the Latchkey Cup races to Meredith Bay.
Co-Chairman Steve Durand said the club is going to put on a great show, featuring racing in six classes: Sprint, Modified, Stock, 4-Cylinder front-wheel-drive, four-cylinder rear-wheel-drive, and Juniors — racers between the ages of 13 and 15.
Smith said they expect to have at least seven Juniors racing this year, including three girls — Lilly Horsch, Tess Poitras, and Callie Burns.
“We’ll miss Allie Ripley,” said Demond, referring to a junior ice-racer who two years ago switched to snowmobile racing.
Durand, who has followed racing since he was a child, said ice racing started out with jalopies in the 1930s, racing in Plymouth. By the 1950s, when there was racing on Meredith Bay, there were stock cars, and the technology and models continued to change.
“It has evolved from cut-down jitterbugs,” Durand said.
Ice racers, he said, are a close-knit group that will share cars and, if someone is in trouble, others will rush out to get the car back on the track.
Almost any vehicle can be modified to enter the race, as long as certain safety precautions are taken. Each vehicle must carry a fire extinguisher, and be equipped with a window net and roll bars. Junior racers must wear protective collars. There is a weekly brake check for those doing racing.
Then, of course, there are the tires. Some racers will use old motorcyle tires with a roller chain and studs. Others will use stud chains or V-bars to hold traction on the ice.
Demond said the first racers did not have front tire chains, but then the drivers began using chains on the left front tire, and finally, both front tires also had chains for traction.
Planning for the race also means thinking about amenities. Shanty 603 will provide concessions for burgers, hot dogs, chili, chowder, and cold drinks. United Site Services will provide porta-potties.
While there will be trash cans available, the event calls for carry in-carry out to ease the cleanup after the event.
For further information, see or

02 15 Latchkey 1
James Demond, Fabian Smith, and Roland Zeiler are among the members of the Lakes Region Ice Racing Club who are preparing for this weekend's Nostalgic Latchkey Cup Ice Races on Meredith Bay, part of the town's 250th anniversary celebration. (Tom Caldwell/Laconia Daily Sun)

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Much of the race prep for the Nostalgic Latchkey Cup Ice Races takes place at Scott Burns Landscaping in Center Harbor. Standing, from left, are Scott Burns, James Demond, and Fabian Smith, with Roland Zeiler sitting on the side of Smith's Modified that will be taking part in the race on Meredith Bay this weekend. (Tom Caldwell/Laconia Daily Sun)

TRAVELS WITH PAULA - Keeping a culture alive


Our Tanzanian guide offered a change in our itinerary. We were close to Olduvai Gorge, the cradle of human origins. A detour to Lake Eyasi and a rough run up a dried river bed would give us a a few hours to hunt with an indigenous tribe he referred to as the bushmen. Were we interested? – yes, we were.

When I met the Hazda people, I had no idea who they were. It wasn’t until I arrived home and did a little research, that I realized the significance of visiting these extraordinary people, and the ethical questions that it raised.

My first impression was that the men were friendly and open, but the women were very guarded to the point of being sullen. It was hard to tell if they were very shy, or resentful for our intrusion.

The tribe live outside under an open sky in the dry season. In the rainy season they retreat to caves in the area for their shelter. They had built a few small stick structures and a hollowed-out baobab tree where they kept their tools and musical instruments made from wood or gourds and skins and decorated with feathers and carvings. Hand-made bows and arrows hung in trees, drying animal skins were staked to the ground. One tree had several baboon skulls hanging from it. The reason for this was not made clear. They speak an ancient, isolated clicking language which was beautiful to listen to.

Given a choice of joining a hunt or staying with the women to gather – I chose to hunt. We started out on foot at a very rapid pace, with a large pack of well trained dogs. Scouts ahead whistled and clicked, and we would start to run. The bushmen are fast and nimble in the brush and it was a challenge to stay with them. When a young boy of about 8 years took down a bird, our hunt was over. A small success that was enthusiastically celebrated for the young hunter. They cleaned it, built a fire, cooked it and passed a tiny morsel to each of us to taste along with baobab fruit, berries and flowers that they gathered as they waited for the bird to cook. The young hunter had the honor of placing a feather in his hair.

This hunt was clearly put on for our benefit. Though we had run a fair distance, we had been circled back close to camp and when our hunting party returned, out came the tobacco pipes and instruments, and the singing and dancing started. We all got dragged into a circle and there were lots of laughs as we tried to imitate their moves. The most memorable thing for me was being invited into the baobab tree which housed their instruments. The tree was large enough to fit six to seven people and they played their instruments and sang inside the tree which had great acoustics. It was clear that they loved to sing and entertain themselves and their guests.

When we left them we purchased small items, decorated gourds and beads. But they would not sell their bows which are beautifully crafted, decorated with feathers and arrows with markings that identify the bowman. Those they will only give as a gift.

The Hadza people have lived a traditional hunter/gatherer life with no technology, no currency, no religion and no social hierarchy for 10,000 years or more and have left no footprints on the earth. Their lives are completely fashioned from the land they inhabit. They are peaceful and equalitarian. Men and women have different roles but an equal say in how things are run. They have no sense of time and no use for it. They have been called backwards, but are they?

If you are completely self-sufficient and happy with your life and you are an expert at it, are you backward because you choose to eschew the modern world? They only work from two to five hours a day to make their tools and hunt and collect honey with larvae for an extra protein punch. They expertly coax fire from sticks. The women gather berries and tubers, and most importantly fruit from the baobab tree, which is rich in anti-oxidants, fiber and a fat laden seed. They are very lean but well nourished. Their diet consists of more than 600 items and is very nutrient dense and studies have shown they have an exemplary gut biome. They have no oral history of starvation or famine or war, and historically their numbers were in sync with what the land could provide.

They have vigorously resisted multiple attempts at forced education, settlement, modernization and religious conversion and have succeeded, but they are endangered. Today, there are less than 2,000 Hazda people.

Encroachment on their hunting grounds by pastoral tribes and wealthy foreigners who buy safari camps, and game that has been poached to unsustainable levels is threatening their survival. Now they have resorted to hosting tourists to help sustain them and get word out to the outside world that they exist and choose this life of peaceful tradition that goes back to the beginning of human history.

We spend a lot of time working to protect wild spaces and endangered species. Should we also protect the rights of indigenous people who want to live on the land as their ancestors have for millennia? Or should we just allow their fires to burn out?

– Paula Hiuser is the owner of Epic Global Adventures. She is committed to purposeful small group travel that sustains, conserves and protects people, places and wildlife.

02 14 travels with Paula 1

The little hunter in the blue shirt was the hero of the day. (Courtesy photo)

02 14 travels with Paula 2

Singing and dancing in a baobab tree. (Courtesy photo)

02 14 travels with Paula 3

Hunting with the Hadzabe tribe. (Courtesy photo)

Southern Style


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By Elizabeth Howard 

It is difficult to identify the one American writer I most admire. When I put William Faulkner at the top of the list other authors immediately spring to mind: James Baldwin, Willa Cather, Herman Melville. Then the list grows from there.   Notwithstanding, William Faulkner always makes the short list. 

 My dog-eared copy of The Sound and the Fury is filled with notes, highlighted paragraphs and awkwardly drawn boxes around words that are repeated in one or two graphs. Faulkner’s use of sensuous language, “smelling the rain” or “hearing the roof,” and his long rambling sentences are poetic.  One of the places I have wanted to visit is Rowan Oak, the house in Oxford, Mississippi where Faulkner lived and did most of his writing.

Last week I made that trip.  It began in New Orleans visiting the William Faulkner bookshop located just off an alley on Jackson Square in the French Quarter. In 1925, Faulkner rented rooms in the house when he moved to New Orleans and it is where his writing career began. Now a lovely independent bookstore, The William Faulkner Bookshop has become a literary landmark. 

The drive from New Orleans to Oxford is almost six hours, fortunately broken up with a stop for lunch at Rick’s Diner Inn in Goodman, Mississippi, a small hamlet with a population of just over 1,200. Almost every town in Mississippi has some literary connection and Goodman is no exception, as it was the home of David Herbert Donald, a Pulitzer-winning historian.

Rowan Oak, situated on forty acres of land just a few miles from the Square in downtown Oxford, was the Faulkner’s home from 1930 until his death in 1962.  Faulkner’s daughter, Jill Faulkner Summers, sold it to the University of Mississippi in 1972. There is a trail, approximately five miles long, that meanders through the woods from Rowan Oak to the campus of the University.

The house is left as it was when Faulkner was living there. In his office and writing room his small manual typewriter is set up on a simple wooden table so he can look out across the expansive grounds. The plot outline for The Fable is written in his hand on the wall. 

Southern style is radically different from our northern style.  The cultural influences of the French who settled much of Mississippi in the mid-1700’s, the Spanish who came later, then the British and the many Africans, have collectively made major contributions to the Delta region.

 This cultural integration, combined with fresh fish from the Gulf, has contributed to extraordinary food. The rhythm of music, gospel, blues and jazz, just seems to hang in the air. The many planation’s and stately houses, now either restored as historic homes or renovated as private residences, remind us of the elegant Southern lifestyle. All framed, of course, by the complicated under belly of the South that is ever present. The poverty, the racial inequality and the lingering prejudice.  Leading to stories and fascinating characters, of course.

The homes of writers have a similar ambiance. Like Faulkner’s home in Oxford, Emily Dickinson’s home in Amherst, Massachusetts and Robert Frost’s farmhouse on Sugar House in Franconia, New Hampshire, the rooms are spare, and there are simple writing desks and large windows that open onto a landscape of nature. The Frost homestead also has a trail where one can walk and read lines posted along the way from Frost’s poems.   

Touring Faulkner’s home we notice a radio in the room that was Jill Faulkner’s bedroom. Apparently, she and her father had an argument over this because he didn’t want a radio in the house.  One can only smile.  What would he think of our various devices and enormous television screens with the screeching cacophony of political diatribes constantly being broadcast. Somehow one can picture William Faulkner sitting quietly, a pipe in his mouth and a tall Bourbon over ice on a side table, working on his small black Underwood Standard or Remington typewriter.  Even now. 

Elizabeth Howard is an author and journalist.  Her books include:  Ned O’Gorman: A Glance Back, a book she edited (Easton Studio Press, 2015), A Day with Bonefish Joe (David R. Godine, 2015), Queen Anne’s Lace and Wild Blackberry Pie, (Thornwillow Press, 2011). She lives in New York City and has a home in Laconia.  You can send her a note at:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.