Fresh Facts Week 8:
How to Cook Trout in the Mountains

By October 19, 2014Fresh Facts, Newsletter

I had my best success ever cooking trout this past trip so let me share my culinary tips before I forget ’em. The challenge here is you’re at 9,500 feet elevation and every pound on your back has to be worth its weight in sweat.

So you’ve got your state of the art jet boil pack stove that remarkably can boil a cup of water in a minute. The one thing I do splurge on weight-wise is my good big Teflon fry pan, weighs close to a pound, but the flimsy jet boil and Svea ultra-light pans just don’t get it. The problem is, you’ve got an extremely hot circle the size of a fifty cent piece that burns the fish in the middle before the ones on the side are done.

Here’s the solution. Lay the freshly cleaned trout on aluminum foil twice the size of the pan, salt and pepper both sides, butter and maple syrup—now I’ve got your attention—on top plus a couple tablespoons of water, close up the aluminum foil packet, pour some water in the bottom of the pan to spread the heat and lay another sheet of foil over the top so you don’t lose any heat. Let this steam for thirty minutes and that’s it, perfection!

Two more tips: only slide the trout out one at a time so the others stay hot, and start soon enough so you’ve got enough light to see; eating trout needs visually guided dexterity. Top Ramen and freeze dried lasagna can be eaten in the dark but not trout. And that’s as close to a recipe as you’re going to get from Uncle Vern.

***Completely different subject***

So the most important concept we need to master if we’re going to live effective lives is balance. Some days I feel pretty squared away in the balance department and others not so much. Risk and reward, pain and gain, rest and work, creativity and productivity­—get just a tad off-center in any of these areas and the whole bus starts shaking apart.

You’re dog tired but the baby’s crying; gotta take care of the baby. You’ve been working sixteen hour days for weeks, but you borrowed a million bucks that’s gotta be repaid; keep working. The relentless tyranny of the inbox, life is not fair, illness and untimely death…These and others are the common state of man.

Here are a few things that have helped me, and perhaps there’s some use here for you as well.

Find an island of peace in the midst of the sea of chaos. It’s amazing what ten minutes alone can do and you can find it if you look creatively.

When life goes dark—theologians actually call it the “dark night of the soul”—keep heading the same direction you were when you last had light; no course corrections. You’ll find yourself pretty close to the mark when the sun comes back out.

Margins. Build margins into everything important and steal them from what isn’t. Say no to the good, so you have the margin to say yes to the best. If the devil can’t make us bad, he’ll settle for busy.

Effective solutions require contemplative holistic evaluation and that can only happen when we step back. If you’ve dug yourself in a hole, quit shovelin’ and think.

Okay Uncle Vern, what’s this got to do with a box of organic produce anyhow? You’re supposed to tell us about organic farming and here you are trying to Yoda be.

Well, we’ve got plenty of time for farming, but our main business is health with all its ramifications. We’ll get back to farming next week.


Author Uncle Vern

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