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The potent power of potlicker (and catfish!)

by Caleb Baumgardner | March 25, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.

Some months ago, when I first started writing this column, I wrote about Southern culture and all the good things it has produced. One of those things was Southern cuisine. It really is one of the best things we have. Most people who have tried it agree.

Those who do not — well, nobody’s perfect. Pray for them.

It’s on my mind because I cooked some just last night. What was on the menu last night at Casa Baumgardner, you ask? The main course was venison sausages harvested from the deer right here in Union County. I also boiled a sweet tater (that’s what they’re really called, you know), and I had pots of turnip greens and blackeye peas, respectively, on the stove as cornbread cooked in the oven.

Magnificent, yes?

I think so too.

The thing I looked forward to more than anything else, though, was potlicker. If you don’t know what potlicker is, that is your misfortune. But do not fear! If you’re reading this column, there is yet hope for you to come away better and wiser than you were.

Potlicker is the juices left at the bottom of the pot after you’ve cooked something like turnip greens or beans. Done right, it is absolutely delicious. And bonus, it’s incredibly good for you. It’s chock full of vitamins and such.

Louisiana Senator and Governor Huey Long, while filibustering a bill he didn’t like, gave a recipe for potlicker on the floor of the United States Senate. He did the same during a radio address to the nation some years before that. Once asked what his favorite meal was, he said that it was cornbread, turnip greens, sweet potatoes and potlicker. The potlicker was the best part, he said.

Last night, I had the Kingfish’s favorite.

That’s not the only Southern cuisine I’ll be having this week, either. On deck tonight is a tried and true Southern favorite, fried catfish. And you, Faithful Reader, can have some if you like.

See, I belong to a worthy organization called the Knights of Columbus. We are a fraternal service organization within the Catholic church, and we do a great deal of work for charities both locally and around the state. We also help fund the education of seminarians.

And how do we do that? With catfish, of course! Well, that’s part of it, anyway.

I’ve been making catfish with the knights for awhile, and I’ll tell you, we do a pretty good job with it. You should come get some!

You can do so tonight, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in El Dorado. That’s at 440 West Main Street. You’ll see a sign out in front of the parking lot. Just come on in the doors nearest the parking lot and hang a left as soon as you walk in and you’ll find us.

It’s $10 a plate, and on that plate you’ll get 3 pieces of catfish, fries, a couple of hushpuppies, some coleslaw and beans. We’ve got pickles and onions too, if you want them. And the best part is that you can buy as many plates as you want! We don’t mind a bit!

If any of y’all have a delicious Southern recipe you’d like to share, email it to me. I’ll take a stab at it, and if I don’t mess it up, I’ll write a review of it here. I’m not going to say when, but I will!

See you Friday night, Faithful Reader. I’ll save you some catfish.

Caleb Baumgardner is a local attorney. He can be reached at [email protected]

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