After staring at my dejected family for a few days, it was time. Time to leave the comforts of air conditioning and brave the elements for a day of fun. If NASA wouldn’t cooperate with our plans to drive to Florida to see the launch of the space shuttle, we would have to do something else. Something probably a little less exciting, but still fun, right?
When we moved to the area of the state where we currently live (a BIG 35 mile move that shattered many people in our family because we were now SO FAR AWAY!) there were many differences. One thing that happens every spring in this area is the Fish Boil. Now think about it. You take hunks of fish, pearl onions, red potatoes, and carrots and basically boil the snot out of it in water that is so salty you could float a rock in it. Then serve it with about a pound of melted butter poured over the top. What starts off sounding rather revolting becomes bearable. Anything is good with melted butter on it! When we went to our first Fish Boil, we were hesitant. Afterwards, we became junkies. If there was a fish boil within 50 miles, we were there. Most of the fish boils around here are fundraisers for local volunteer fire departments, and they are served to a mainly Catholic community on Fridays, especially during Lent.
My family became so addicted that I even found an online recipe and made one here at home. It was even better than most of the places we had gone, and I make it fairly often now.
Well, the Fish Boil originated in Door County, Wisconsin. If you look at the shape of Wisconsin, it looks like the mitten for a left hand with a skinny thumb. Door County is the thumb that pokes out into Lake Michigan. It is mainly a playland for the wealthy Illinois tourists, but locals love it also. It has become famous for its cherries, the shopping, the scenery, the resorts, and fish boils. If you want an authentic fish boil, this is the place to be. This was our mission.
We drove up to Sturgeon Bay, and stopped at two local yarn shops. I knew about one, but the second was a surprise. I satisfied my fiber craving and the girls satisfied their sugar craving at Apple Hollow Fiber Studio
. They have a large website, but the actual shop was small. I was greeted by the most beautiful hanks of wool as I opened the door. They had some skeins, and my oldest daughter found some yarn that she wants for her helmet cap, so we bought that. Afterwards the girls shared a smoothie and we sat at the cute tables in the middle of the shop. The owners were very friendly and helpful. Next, we drove down the road about 6 buildings and went into Temptations Needlework, described as a needlework, yarn, knitting and crochet shop. I wasn’t optimistic. Oh, my! Inside was a huge selection of almost any kind of yarn you can imagine! At every turn there was a hidden room loaded with yarn. And buttons? She must have every button ever made. My youngest daughter was in heaven looking at them, and DH sat down and watched us with a smile on his face. You see, it was his idea to stop at the yarn shops as a special treat to me. Another reason I LOVE this man!
We continued up the peninsula (discussing why it is called a peninsula when it is really an island. At Sturgeon Bay the waters from Green Bay and Lake Michigan actually meet) searching for a specific shop that sold British goods. We found it in Fish Creek, and inside Made In Britain
we indulged ourselves with treats that reminded us of our trip to England a few years ago. I bought a bunch of candy and then remembered another one that I had planned to buy. Off I trotted to pick it up while the family waited outside. When I walked out of the door of British Goods, there they sat with smiles on their faces, all eating the candy and moaning in happiness.
Next we went to Peninsula State Park and swam. This didn’t last very long because the water stunk so badly that we became sick to our stomachs. My thought is that with all of the hot weather we have had, the shallow water there has had bacteria growing, dying, and stinking up the place at a much faster rate than normal, so it literally stinks! We left, rather disappointed, and drove up to Ellison Bay for our fish boil.
The authentic Scandinavian Fish Boil is a little different from our volunteer fire department boils. They use fresh whitefish from the lake instead of cod fillets. This means that there will be bones. Lots of them! They also think that boiling the vegetables WITH the fish will taint the flavor of the fish, so the fish is boiled alone. We call that tainting FLAVOR! After shelling out $62 we watched for the boil over (a tradition that looks cool, but I’m told by a friend from the area who is related to a master boiler that this is really only for show) and got our trays.
On average, a local fish boil will cost $8 a plate, this one cost $13, and it wasn’t very good. I was the only one who actually ate the fish, and that was more because of my miser tendencies than any great taste coming off of the plate. So, I have a recommendation. If you want a really good Fish Boil in Wisconsin – come to my house!
On our way home, we stopped in Kewaunee for a frozen custard, and guess what? It was the start of their Trout Festival, and we had made it just in time for the fireworks. A great ending to a great day.
Today we rest!