A week ago, we pulled our 7 year-old out of school to
play hooky for the day take a “family field trip.” We’ve recently moved from Chicago to southern Illinois farm country, and we wanted to explore our surroundings. We headed out on I-140 to Alton, Illinois, and drove The Great River Road observing the beautiful sheer rock/earth bluffs along the Mississippi River. (Who knew the Mighty Mississippi could be so beautiful?)
Growing up in Montana, I’ve seen my many bald eagles, but Grafton, Illinois is known as “The Winter Home of the Bald Eagle.” Amazingly, we saw at least 20 eagles soaring majestically above us as we drove along the Mississippi bluffs. The kids were thrilled to take a car ferry over the Mississippi on our way to Calhoun County. It was here in the tiny, tiny town of Hardin that we discovered, not one, but TWO of the most delicious road food restaurants on the planet.
And it was from the Kid’s Menu (of all places) at Mel’s Riverdock Restaurant that we ordered the very best fish sticks I’ve tasted.
These best-fish-sticks-ever were made from Mississippi catfish and were not-greasy, crunchy from cornmeal, and just-salty-enough from seasoned salt flavoring. And for the first time in my dear 5 year-old’s life, she said she “liked fish!”
Over the years I’ve tried to perfect healthier, non-deep-fat-fried fish sticks – but it’s a pain; there are just so many steps: Flouring, egg washing and then corn-meal dredging – baking and then flipping halfway through.
In two easy steps, the fish is egg washed (neatly in a bowl) and cornmeal dredged (securely in a zip-top bag.) This time, I adapted the below recipe to taste more like the Mel’s Riverdoc Restaurant recipe. Thus a new version of best-ever-fish-sticks emerged.
And for the second time in her 5 year-old life, my daughter again said she “liked fish”…which was almost as exciting as listening to our 7 year-old’s written report on her “Family Field Trip to the Mississippi.”
Do your kids eat fish or do they turn up their noses?