Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Musings, opinions, observations, questions, and random thoughts on island life, Fernandina Beach and more

Eating Smoked Mullet Is Cultural Appropriation! Who Knew?

While pondering what I was going to write about this week along comes reader “Julia” to save my day.

A pair of southern culture appropriators and white suppressor temptresses.

Over the years, of all the topics I’ve written about here, in magazines, online, in newspapers, and on bathroom walls, the least controversial would be smoked mullet.

With the exception of myself and a few pals, smoked mullet, despite its gastronomic  extraordinariness, may be one of the most boring and mundane topics ever mentioned. It’s as exciting as the history of crocheting and a topic to be dredged up only during a case of writer’s block.

So, just as I was thinking that I might be forced to write about smoked mullet again this week up pops “Julia” in the Comments section forcing me to do exactly that. This gal doesn’t realize it but she is an unintentional laugh riot – knee-slapping and aisle-rolling hilarious.

“Julia” uses only her first name, which must be a relief to her family. Her postings all came in between 1:15 a.m. and 2:15 a.m. last Saturday, not long after all the local bars closed.

“Julia” lashed out at me and other smoked mullet lovers hereabouts branding us racists, bigots and – here’s the best part – appropriators of southern culture and white suppressors because we like to eat this southern delicacy. In case you missed it last week here’s Julia’s most entertaining comment, a warning to me and smoked mullet-loving blog reader and friend, Tom Yankus:

Mullet is considered by most to be baitfish that is not really suitable for human consumption. However, because it is readily accessible it became a popular source of food for poverty stricken families in the south, most of whom were black. I find it difficult to understand why you and David would want to eat such a slimy, cheap, and unhealthy dish when you live in a seafood lover’s paradise? Regardless, what is really disgusting is the irony of how in a single posting this blog can manage to make statements that are highly prejudicial towards blacks while at the same time appropriating their southern culture and celebrating how much they love the food dishes created out of necessity due to the oppression inflicted upon them by white society.”

WOW! Julia is hot. I don’t mean “hot” as in hottie “hot” but “hot” in as furious as an angry Target or Budweiser shareholder or a thirsty gal realizing that she just ran out of wine and all the stores are closed at 2:15 in the morning.

If my pals and I were to heed Julia’s cultural appropriation scolding it would severely limit our menu options. For example, no more tacos, nachos, salsa, or any other food that smacks of a Latin American heritage. Italian pizza and pasta are forbidden as are German brats and sauerkraut; numbers one through 1,000+ on any Chinese takeout menu are history as are Greek salads and gyros. We can forget ever again about tucking into Polish kielbasa, Russian borsht, Hungarian goulash, Swiss cheese, Belgian waffles, French toast, or Middle Eastern hummus, falafel, or pita. And don’t even think about Jewish favorites including matzoh ball soup, gravlax, challah, and kugels.

According to Julia unless we are of the ethnicity that originated them and historically poverty stricken we have no right to nosh on any of that stuff. Nope! It’s just Wonder Bread, Twinkies, iceberg lettuce, and mayonnaise for us oppressive white cultural appropriating bigots.

As a native-born Canadian my options, according to Julia’s rules, are limited to rhubarb, boiled moose, and poutine. However, I really pity the poor Norwegians. If they heed Julia’s rebuke they’ll be forced to gag down lutefisk, a disgusting jellied smelly mess that was once a white fish, that has been aged in lye and rehydrated. Norwegians I know don’t even like it and hold their noses at its mere mention.

Julia obviously believes that me and my pals are folks of revolting taste and questionable judgement who do not measure up to remarkable people like her and her like-minded dining companions who subsist on avocado toast.

I bet Julia and her snooty friends are soccer fans too. They probably think there’s a science to the game. OK! Maybe there is. But every time I’ve ever sat though one of those interminably boring, 1-1, matches I’ve never seen a goal that doesn’t look like it was an accident. The game is a snooze fest.

Organizations that recruit soccer players are seeking players that can run fast. They should send scouting teams down to the Texas-Mexico border. Those illegal aliens can really run. Or would recruiting them be cultural appropriation?

I don’t know how I went from smoked mullet to soccer and illegal aliens. Don’t blame me, Julia started it.

***

Speaking Of Cultural Appropriation: What are your favorite ethnic foods or the ones you find particularly disgusting that even Fido turns his nose up at?

Personally I side with the Norwegians when it comes to lutefisk, it’s awful. But in my opinion anything that involves eggplant, a hideous mushy tasteless mess with no redeeming value is my number one disgusting food. Not even Italians disguising it with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese can hide the texture and flavor of this awful, ugly vegetable. I’d rather eat pork tartar.

Share with me your favorites and your least favorites and I’ll publish the worst five and the favorite five in a future blog.

***

Celebrate Cultural Appropriation: There are several smoked mullet festivals on Florida’s Gulf Coast but one of the most fun mullet events is the annual Interstate Mullet Toss that was held this past April 28 – 30th  at the legendary Flora-Bama Bar in Perdido Key.

Mullet tossing festival site

Billed as the Gulf Coast’s Greatest Beach Party the Mullet Toss is legendary. What started as just a reason to party has become one of the biggest beach parties on the Gulf Coast. Those who participate in the Mullet Toss throw a dead mullet over the state line of Florida and Alabama to see who gets the farthest. Is this a great state or what?

According to sponsors hotel bookings are done months, if not years in advance for this event and  people not troubled by cultural appropriation travel from across the globe to attend and drink at the Flora-Bama.

There is an entry fee to toss, and prizes are awarded. All money earned goes to charity.  Call for more information at 251/980-5118.

Are you paying attention Julia?

***

Dilly Dilly! While having lunch last Friday with a couple of newspaper columnist pals we ordered beer. I asked our waitress if the bar had any light beers on tap. She responded without prompting saying: “Yes, but we no longer have Bud Light.” When I asked why she said: “We stopped ordering it because nobody was buying it and what we had left was beyond the expiration date.”

There was nothing political in her response, just facts. Dilly Dilly!

***

Speaking Of Bud Light, Etc.: It’s too late now, but the suits that run Budweiser, Target and Kohl’s should have heeded the late President Calvin Coolidge who proclaimed in 1925: “The chief business of the American people is business.”

Had “Silent Cal” been in charge of hawking beer and clothing for these tone deaf companies they wouldn’t be sitting on millions of dollars’ of unsold inventory, facing purchasing boycotts by fed- up consumers, negative publicity, anger from pissed off shareholders, and combined losses of close to $30 billion in market capitalization.

The befuddled woke warriors heading these companies think that their contribution to customers is not offering fair priced quality goods but groveling virtue signaling. It’s obvious they have no clue who their customers are. Where are their boards of directors?

Prior to the pride marketing brouhaha most companies biggest social issue headaches were swatting down silly accusations of insufficient commitments to various zany causes. Not Bud, Target, and Kohl’s. They went all in with their pride campaigns to target less than .03 percent of the adult purchasing population.

If they survive, these besieged CEOs, who are now left attempting to disguise or explain their dismal failures, would be wise to heed President Coolidge’s advice, and get back to business.

Corporate America will eventually rid itself of such insipid misguided management as the torch and pitchfork bearing shareholder crowd continues to demand they clean house and consumers shun them. It may be too late for these three CEOs as they watch their firms shrivel under the weight of their idiotic Ivy League graduate’s marketing departments’ misguided decisions and their own bungling direction and lack of leadership.

Target, Kohl’s, and Bud Light’s marketing tactics will go down in the history of corporate business failures alongside the Edsel, New Coke, the DeLorean, smokeless cigarettes, and Segways. Like the 1950s Smell-O-Vision movies, they stunk up the joint and failed spectacularly. Bud Light’s, Kohl’s and Target’s marketing geniuses couldn’t peddle water in a desert.

The satirical Babylon Bee sums up this dismal corporate trio’s marketing approaches with the following headline: “Archeologists Uncover Target Store Ruins From Sodom And Gomorrah”.

***

Overheard At PJD’s Beer & Wine Garden: “It took AA almost 90 years to help alcoholics get sober. Bud Light did it in less than a week.”

***

Speak Up! The commentary section here offers people, like Julia, who disagree with any topic, an opportunity to openly proclaim their dissent, voice approval, or speak out.

For those who think my thoughts are as scrambled as a Kamala Harris speech it gives them a chance to publicly spank me. It also offers readers an opportunity to expand on any subject. Most of the time people posting here are literate, well informed, civil, and on many occasions humorous. Sometimes they aren’t.

Occasionally there is a small minority that are outrageously rude, profane, and fueled, not by facts or logic, but apparently by alcohol or severe neurological disorders.

Readers are limited to two, and a maximum of three comments: one to state their position and one or two to respond to others that may disagree. Vulgar and profane comments are flushed into the septic tank of incoherent incongruity for future use as letters to the editor in the online Fernandina Observer or the local print News Leader.

Folks who have been reading these musings over the years know that my political views lean conservative. I leave little doubt about that. Some readers believe I should be publicly flogged for my conservative outlook and based on some of their comments many would pay to perform the lashings.

When a reader points out that I am factually wrong on a topic I’ll admit it and say so, while mentally kicking myself and contemplating who I can blame for my stupid mistake.

Last week Julia’s comments provided me with enough material for this week’s blog and more. So feel free to add your two cents. I need all the help I can get. However, any comments after three will be deleted.

***

Drinking, Dining & Dancing: Local real estate developer and investor Spurgeon Richardson has purchased the property at 20 South 2nd Street which was formerly occupied by the now shuttered Le Clos restaurant. Richardson, owner of the South 2nd Street Boat House, a couple of doors down from Le Clos, will once again team up with his Atlanta high school classmate and restauranteur, Chet Huntley. Huntley has more than 40 years of restaurant experience having operated some of the most prestigious eateries in the Atlanta market. Plans for the new restaurant, including theme and menu, have not yet been released. The duo currently operate the popular Boat House restaurant and are still working on a menu and theme for their new venture. With these two in charge there is little doubt it will be a popular and fun site. Maybe change the name from Le Clos(ed) to Le Open? Just a silly idea. No charge.

  • Comment (25)
  • Me thinks that my Georgia friend Spurgeon Richardson should rename the now closed Le Clos “The Mullet House” and offer Julia the chance to ‘cut the ribbon’ for the grand opening! Classic.

  • Your essay on smoked mullet was very interesting but you left out one detail.
    Where do you buy smoked mullet on the Island or OTB?

  • haaaaaaa
    we used to fish for mullet along the beaches late at night when it was legal, and ate our fill. We were not poor, or black, but joined the thousands that enjoyed a good fresh fried mullet fillet. Where Julia gets this crap is beyond me. I just have to suspect it’s a spoof; no one could be that clueless about the South.

  • In Virginia we culturally appropriated from Indians a fish named shad. Bony and almost uneatable it’s smoked on a wooden plank and then thrown in the trash after we pretend to eat it.
    Shad is my submission for worst fish.

  • I used to enjoy planked Shad, a mid-Atlantic culinary delight. Since the Indians taught the settlers how best to cook it, was I appropriating Amerind culture.

    By the way, shad plankings are woven into the political life of Virginia. If you are running for anything major in that state you attend the local events.

  • Hey Dave, here’s another one for you – My husband grew up in Maine and my m-i-l used to tell us how when she was young lobster was considered a throw away fish. Only the poor kids brought lobster sandwiches to school for lunch. I wonder who discovered crab legs were good, can we thank the Indians? Why would anyone figure out slimy clams would become a delicacy? And on and on…..

  • Love Smoked Mullet!! From a full blooded Ukrainian raised in CT … Retired in FL…. I vote for opening a smoked Mullet Restaurant in Amelia!!

  • I grew up on Block Island, R.I. in my grandfather’s house. He was a Norwegian immigrant who made his living fishing and taking customers deep sea fishing. We ate seafood daily including mackerel, cod, clams, flounder, swordfish and lobster. We were a large family and my own father worked as a post office clerk and two other side jobs just to pay utility and medical bills. Dad eventually moved our family to Florida, as living on the island was so costly! Later in life, I saw that many seafood items we ate growing up were considered “rich man” food, such as lobster, swordfish and scallops. I also learned later in my life that my maternal grandmother, who passed away before I was born was a decendent of the English Ball family that owned huge plantations in the low country of Charleston, SC and owning many slaves. When I lived in Charleston and worked as a school district family program administrator, I met and worked with many African Americans decendants of slaves. Am I racist, as Julia might imply because I do not outwardly apologize that we had slave owners and slaves in our family? Do I apologize that we love shrimp, gumbo, blue crabs, mullet and catfish, traditional foods of the slaves, many seafood items considered bottom feeders? Today these foods are delicacies. For Julia and other “woke” minded persons, now constantly bombarding white folk, how about taking an attitude of appreciation for all that we have learned and absorbed from various cultures and our own unique heritages. God calls us to not look back, to not focus on errors and sins of the past, but to take the present moment, hour, and day to love and care for others the best we can, as” He has drawn each of us with loving-kindness” Jeremiah 31:3.

  • Clueless Julia, yes, undoubtedly off the rails in the wee hours of the morning, and culturally unenlightened. Wikipedia states the history of consuming mullet fish has a long history: “Mullets have served as an important source of food in Mediterranean Europe since Roman times.” (Hey Julia, “Roman Times” is B.C.) So, Julia’s statement that mullet is “baitfish that is not really suitable for human consumption” comes from deep and prejudicial ignorance. Even native Hawaiians eat them as mullet is stocked in their traditional fishponds. Culturally unenlightened, identifying as politically “progressive” and calling men “old farts”. Nothing socially redeemable in that mishmash.

  • Hello Dave,
    Another great blog! It is great to read we will soon have another great dining spot on 2nd street…cheers

  • Few things (1) Be it known that I am offended that Julia is offended. (2) Russia had a law that factory workers could not be fed Caviar more than twice a week at the manufactories they worked, because Caviar was considered undesirable. (3) There were no tomatoes in Italy, no
    Potatoes and corn in France until America was discovered. (4) there were no horses in America until the Europeans brought them along.

  • Dave, maybe for next week’s blog maybe investigate the origin of the “mullet” hair style.

  • So excited Le Clos is going to stay open …..Was the best food on the island in my opinion

  • As a huge fan of smoked fish dips including mullet, I really got a kick and a giggle from Julia’s late night rant. If you really want her to lose some sleep, let’s catch some WHITING off our beach and smoke it. The name alone will send her in to fits of near madness. I’m not even going to mention what grouper used to be called when I caught them in South Florida as a wee lad…
    In SE Asia, I’ve enjoyed eating a freshly killed cobra and A section of a kangaroo’s tail ( reminded me of a beef tenderloin) in Vietnam. Also enjoyed a braise that consisted of a sun bear that foolishly wandered into our camp in the highlands of Laos. Damn tasty…like this weeks blog.

  • Captain Jean Van Goidtsnoven had the best smoked mullet. We would buy it from the back of his home at 361 S Fletcher Ave. My aunt and uncle lived next door.
    From reading the comments there are many smoked mullet lovers out there. Maybe PJD’s could host an annual smoked mullet contest?

  • I better mosey over to the gator Shack here in Sebring and let them get a load of this Julia’s rebuke….along with the gator and mullet, they should rethink the gizzards and such. Enjoyed this week’s lesson on cultural appropriation.

  • I better mosey over to the gator Shack here in Sebring and let them get a load of this Julia’s rebuke….along with the gator and mullet, they should rethink the gizzards and such. Enjoyed this week’s lesson on cultural appropriation. PS it’s between 1:30 and 2:30 pm.

  • Maybe a “non-mullet” comment?
    DILLY should be spelled “DILLI” and followed “GAF”.
    The gaff that Bud made can be summed up with D.I.L.L.I G.A.F.
    Do I Look Like I Give A …

  • I’m looking forward to Julia’s comments Sunday morning. I’m sure they’ll be coming in again between 1:15AM and 2:15AM.

  • Julia- is a nut. My dad smoked mullet and sold them in our neighborhood family store. People from all walks of life love them- poor Julia.

  • Walmart Ian’s has joined Budweiser, Target, and Kohls but a large Pride display in the local stores. Last evening stopped in which I normally avoid like a plate of smoked mullet, but was in a need of a certain item so I broke down and went in. However, as it is well known I do not support the LGBTQAI+/GENDER CONFUSED movement I simply turned and left. Besides the store was full of non-English speaking people with questionable immigration status.

  • Although my tastes have changed q bit over the past 70+ years, a good (rare to medium-rare) porterhouse steak remains at the top of my list. If it’s cooked well-done, it quickly drops to the bottom of my list. A close second favorite would be a good prime rib. When I lived in Colorado, I dabbled in the occasional buffalo/bison steak, ribs or burger. The flavor was always good, but the lower percentage of fat, compared to beef, seemed to decrease the tenderness a bit.

    I can still remember a Colorado co-worker (in the 1970’s) trying to explain the concept of a cheesesteak sandwich. After 20 minutes of conversation, I just didn’t get it. Why would anyone want to put cheese on a perfectly good beef steak? Many years later, when cheesesteak became more common in fast food joints, I tried it and it’s been one of my favorite sandwiches ever since. Worst one I ever had was at the Philadelphia airport. Go figure.

    Colorado also introduced me to the regional treat of rocky mountain oysters and the somewhat similar turkey fries. Not particularly memorable, and not on my list of best or worst. Just one of those things you have to try.

    Dave – If your eggplant was “mushy”, then it was either canned, overcooked or not pre-salted to draw out some of the moisture. A cooked eggplant should be fresh and firm, with an almost meaty texture. Find a better chef. There are also taste/texture differences between lightly breaded or battered eggplant as well as differences due to either baking or frying. If you just didn’t care for the flavor, that’s a different story.

    Bottom of my list:
    1- Pizza with anything resembling pineapple, artichoke or eggplant on it. I love that stuff, but save it for the salad. Honorable mention: New Haven pizza when the coal-fired oven backs up and imparts that unique sulfur flavor to your pizza.
    2- Also – most beers, especially any brand with the word “lite”. Great beers have knock-your-socks-off flavor, complexity and intensity. Leave the rest of the “tasteless, mushy” beers with the kids looking for a cheap buzz.

  • I was fully expecting a complete article on “old farts”, but was pleasantly surprised that smoked mullet won out! Sorry Julia, but it looks like mullet is far more important than “old farts”.

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