January 12, 2015
Us Memphians could probably talk about food all day… as long as we break to eat, of course. It has history in our community, it is something that we are proud of – to have some of the best food in the country – and it always makes for the best discussion (and debate). Food connects our city in the same way the river does, so in the RiverFood blog series, we will turn the spotlight on the food that makes our city great. Expect history, recipes and maybe even a few recommendations on where to snag the best of certain meals.
When you think about a river, you might think about fish. If you’re from Memphis and you think about fish, you probably think about catfish. This soul food is one of the most widely eaten fish in America and can be found on too many menus to count in restaurants across the South. Though it’s not the most attractive fish straight from the water, when it’s blackened, fried or slathered with tangy slaw on a hoagie it is always a welcome sight in this city.
The tradition of eating catfish arrived in the United States by migrants from Europe and Africa. It’s a food that was generally considered a “poor man’s fish” but has become such a staple on the plates of southerners that in 1987, President Reagan declared June 25th to be National Catfish Day. (New favorite holiday, anyone?)
If you are not a fan of eating catfish, you can always come splash around in Island Play @ Beale Street Landing with Big John, the larger than life catfish.