Three Strikes, Deer Diner, And Plaid Shanking

   Written by on April 24, 2014 at 4:41 pm

Well, I get to add a new item to my resume’. Now I can say, “I’ve been out of Southside Virginia three times, been to two hog callin’s and a Chittlin Strut AND a Shad Plankin.’”

The stories in this column are true. Averett lives a dull life in rural Southside Virginia with his wife Management, two children and a rotating assortment of goats, dogs, cats, snakes and other local fauna.

The stories in this column are true. Averett lives a dull life in rural Southside Virginia with his wife Management, two children and a rotating assortment of goats, dogs, cats, snakes and other local fauna.

I have to admit that when I was invited and decided to attend I thought I was going to a Plaid Shanking. If you even know what a shank is you haven’t always been a good boy or girl or you watch too much television. For the good boys and girls out there, a shank is a homemade knife in prison.

Never having been much of a fan of prisons or plaid I thought it might be interesting to see some plaid shanked. As I was leaving, the senior minion observed my shirt was plaid. That could have been a fatal mistake. I might have been shanked.

I always think of my heavy shirts as flannel. Some are denim, some are other colors and oddly, some are plaid. My criterion for flannel shirts is that they are cheap at a yard sale. I’ve never paid any attention to the colors or patterns.

In any case, what I attended was a Shad Plankin’. Shad are a bony ugly fish that make a run up river to spawn like salmon. Shad are nailed to a plank and are smoked over an open fire. When they are cooked you throw the shad away and eat the board. The only real bonus is the roe which is a poor man’s caviar and is tasty.

If you are my own youthful age or a little older you might remember the guy who wrote a book back in the 70’s called “Stalking The Wild Asparagus.” He claimed all sorts of wild plants were edible. My position is edible means if you eat it, it won’t kill you. That doesn’t mean it tastes good. Another of my positions is that most of the animals that eat wild plants are edible AND tasty.

The story about plaid shad is that when my ancestors arrived here they found Indians (Native Americans if you are politically correct) planking shad and it has been a tradition ever since.

I don’t doubt Indians and my ancestors ate shad. BUT remember this was before grocery stores and anything edible beats starving. When you are hungry and food of any kind is delivered to your front door (or riverbank) and all you have to do is cook it, it is good. Just ask the guy eating at the dumpster restaurant.

I was served a plate with planked shad, fried whiting, beans, slaw, etc. and of course since “we all” are in the South- sweet iced tea.

It was all tasty but fighting the shad bones for the meat was more trouble than it was worth. Frankly, it would have been easier to eat my plaid shirt. I suspect I was the only person who actually ate the shad anyway.

While we are talking about edible (but not tasty), my garden is progressing. I’ve planted all sorts of compostey green stuff that my bride Management and the Grand-brats consider tasty. I suspect the deer will eat it all and then one of my hunting friends will kill the deer and eat it.

The deer spend so much time in our yard the dog thinks they are part of the family and doesn’t even bark at them. I suppose it is also politically incorrect to eat family members but since I expect everyone in the family to be productive, the deer need to contribute something.

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