Best Breakfast Ever
Looking back through these stories that I’m writing, I notice that talking about food is a favored subject that occupies a fair amount of space on the pages. This is of course is as it should be, what would life be like if we couldn’t or didn’t enjoy eating, after all we, do it often—every day. The scriptures say that God made food to be a “joy to us, for our benefit, to please the eye, gladden the heart, and enliven the soul.” (D&C 59:17-18)
Being an artist, I have often reflected on the beautiful colors of food. I believe that, in itself, is an evidence of the existence of God, a creator who understands, appreciates and knows the power of color, and the role it plays in the food we eat. There’s nothing quite like a fruit salad, for instance to whet the appetite and bring a smile. Delicious red cherries and berries, blue and purple too, green kiwi fruit and grapes, orange oranges, and cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, and watermelon, etc. Makes my mouth water just to see it. What if it was all shades of gray, or black?
Both my Mom and Dad were good cooks, and I have many fond memories of happy times at the dinner table in our home. Dad even wrote a cookbook, which we children treasure and use. It’s out of print, but he sold a lot of them. On my mission in the South Pacific I was a popular elder on Saturday mornings in the district mission home cooking up Dad’s recipe for “skillet bannock bread”. It was a big hit, with butter and banana jam and cold milk. There’s really nothing quite like banana jam, which we don’t have in the states as far as I know. Its dark red and a little bit tangy-soooo good.
I think we all have a few favorite meals that we have eaten, that still bring joy to us as we reflect upon them and the circumstances surrounding them. I have eaten many good breakfasts, most of them were in my own home, especially growing up in Idaho, up at the “cabin” in Island Park at Last Chance. Many Saturday mornings, Dad would cook up the best buttermilk pancakes along with eggs and sausage, accompanied with cold milk and orange juice, we all looked forward to those Saturday mornings after a long hard week of work at the gas station, and building, cutting timber, etc., and of course fishing. Good memories. I would have to say those breakfasts top the list in my memories except one particular breakfast I got in on with my son Scott, and our good friends Steve and Aaron of Star Valley, Wyoming.
Every now and then I find myself reflecting on that one particular meal it was sooo good, and sooo needed. We had packed into Lake Alice on a fishing trip in late July as I recall. Lake Alice is located far back in the mountains south of Star Valley and north of Cokeville. We went in on the trail which starts at Poker Hollow. We were all well mounted and had two or three good packhorses to carry all our gear and food for a great fishing and camping trip for three or four days.
It’s about 9 or 10 miles in to the lake on the Poker Hollow trail, a good ride, not too steep, and beautiful all the way. The weather was perfect, we couldn’t have had a better time, and the fishing was superb. Fat, strong cutthroat trout upwards of three pounds on the high end-to about a pound on the low end. We had the whole place to ourselves, the horses were good and dependable, plenty of good grazing for them.
I think it was on the second day at camp that “the breakfast” happened. We had got up early and made the quarter mile walk to the extreme east arm of the lake. The fly of choice was a sandy mite. We were on the shore working our flies in the smooth still waters by six A.M. or so. You could see the trout cruising for food through the clear water. Casting out ahead of a cruising cutthroat, you would place the fly about five to seven feet in front of him and in line with his direction of travel, let the fly sink a little, maybe a foot or two and then start a slow retrieve with the offhand, working the line with an over and underhand retrieve. The cruising trout would soon see the moving fly and speed its glide until he had taken it and with a quick firm lift of the rod tip the fight was on. These trout were sleek fat, healthy and strong, and very beautiful with the bright red mark under the jaw, thus the name “cutthroat”, and the dark round spots on their sides, the greenish brown coloring of their bodies and the fins tinted with a gorgeous reddish-brown color. It was a joy just to see them.
We released most of what we caught, which were many, back into the cold green water of the lake, but we kept a few of the nicer bigger ones. Time went by faster than we realized, engaged in such fun. Before we knew it, it was probably 9:30 to 10:00 A.M. Hunger pangs were becoming pretty strong, and I was starting to feel quite weak, we’d been up since about 5 A.M., and definitely feeling the need of nourishment.
Steve had gone back to camp earlier and built a good cooking fire and prepared breakfast for the crew out of the goodness of his heart. The sun was warm on our backs, it felt good. The air was still a little cool in the high altitude, sweet and invigorating with the scent of the pines, the water, the mountain grasses, and especially the smell of the cook fire smoke and the sizzling breakfast. It was time to leave our enjoyable fishing for an even more enjoyable activity…..eating!
By the time we got back to camp, we were famished! What lay before our eyes was a feast not soon to be forgotten. I’m in my 70’s and it’s still strong on the memory and the taste buds. In one skillet were frying those pink-meated trout, crispy brown on the outside, almost salmon colored and juicy on the inside. On a griddle were cooking light and fluffy big round blueberry hot cakes, and I mean loaded with juicy blueberries. On another griddle were sizzling Keil Basa sausage and golden-brown potatoes with onions, also eggs. Over in another spot was ice cold milk and orange juice taken out of our makeshift cooler in the icy waters of the creek. There was sweet fresh real butter and maple syrup for the hot cakes. I don’t believe any king sat down to a breakfast like this. Our hunger was at its peak and there was no shortage of anything. I never enjoyed any meal more than that one. The clean cool mountain air, the activities of the morning at the water’s edge, the sweet odor of the pine and aspen wood smoke, the warm rays of the sun, and the joy of good companions enhanced it all to the MAX. Yep—the best breakfast ever!