|Pierre D'Amours cooks a shore lunch |
on the banks of the Restigouche river -
Iphone pic by Alex Bielak
The filing deadline for this column was inconveniently in the middle of Food for Thought's annual fishing trip to the Maritimes. I'm sending this photo - recording a remarkable lunch in a remarkable place - from a Timmies in Campbellton during a "supplies run." (The river is low, as are staples like nibblies and gin, so needs must, and we have ventured from camp to "civilization" to restore the larder.)
The joys of such a trip with good friends include not just the fishing and easy camaraderie, but also long discussions after dinner on esoteric subjects: thus far we've covered the recent discovery of the oldest ever published volume of fly patterns, fraternities, British sketch comedy, and what in life remains sacred. Not much beyond love, apparently.
The integral fuel for all of this is the fantastic camp food, wine assembled from all over the world and intermittent, copious refreshments. An additional bonus this year was a side trip a number of us arranged down much of the Restigouche River. Over the course of a sunny day we motored and floated about 100 Km of the river, including over 60 Km of stunning wilderness, punctuated by some of the most exclusive salmon camps in the world.
Our guide, Pierre D'Amours, a superlative woodsman, navigated the skinny waters, teaching us much about the ecosystem, and some about ourselves and our place in it. At midday, after we had seen a fisherman land a fine male salmon on the best pool on the river that can hold thousands of Atlantic salmon up to 40 pounds or more, Pierre made a fire over which he cooked a splendid shore lunch.
Salmon smoked according to his secret recipe, and fiddleheads were followed by the steaks in the photo, accompanied by fried potatoes, onions and mushrooms. His wife Lisa's fresh strawberry jam on rolls baked by his mother were dessert. And yes there were libations, chilled in the cool tributary that ran into the main river.
It has been said one fishes to feed one's soul rather than one's body. I put that into practice this morning as I released a small salmon back to the clear green waters of Camp Pool. Luckily our cook, June, had a light something ready for us to restore the balance between soul and body!