Shark: It’s What’s For Dinner

I briefly mentioned the fishing trip my boys took while we were at St. Simons last week in my post on Monday.

They went out with Captain Tim of Coastal Georgia Inshore Charters last Wednesday for a 4 hour trip. To say they had a great time is an understatement. They fished the Hampton River at the north end of Sea Island and they found a treasure trove of fish. Sharks, in particular.

That’s what Henry they went for, and that’s what they got!

Tim wrote more about their trip on his blog, including their score (shoutout Capt. Donut)!

After they got back to the marina, Capt. Tim expertly filleted three of the sharp-nosed sharks for us to take home. I may have gagged a little thinking about eating shark, but whatever. Henry was all, “I’m gonna eat shark” and coming from my kid who eats very little meat (my kid) this was huge.

So I talked to Tim about what to do to it to make it delicious. He promised me that we would love it.

We got home and I took the fabulous knife out that I won on Adam’s site from Ree and first of all, you ALL need this knife. It’s the best thing to slice bread since sliced bread.

I cut the shark meat into small bites for Henry and smallish pieces for us.

Still… skeptical. I mean, it looks like white fish but it’s shark.

Jason picked up a Fish Fry breading from the Farmer’s Market and I thought it was a little flimsy so I added some panko crumbs to it. I would say it was half and half.

In oil, I fried them up. It smelled like a good ole catfish joint up in here, y’all!

Look how crispy they fried up.

But still? Skeptical.

I plated them up with some fresh Silver Queen corn we got at Poppell Farms on our way back from St. Simons. (Followed a Georgia AgriTourism sign off Hwy. 341 around Odum.) I also made some roasted cabbage and I knew it would be delicious.

So if all else failed, we had some edible food.

But the verdict was:

SIX THUMBS UP. Two thumbs from each of us, obviously.

We’ve had shark three nights since we got home. It’s been fabulous each time, and I have to tell you… I’m kinda sad that there are only 4 more pieces in the freezer.

Henry has devoured it. And asked for more. I’m not sure if it’s the novelty of catching it and eating it or if he really just loves it, but you can be sure I’m going to be calling a lot more stuff “shark.”

Thanks, Capt. Tim, for a great day and for fixing us up with some good eats!

 

The Most Magical Week

Unlike most other times we’ve gone to the Georgia coast, this one was drama-free and downright magical. Also, there were no plane crashes or celebrity deaths (that I’m aware of).

There are so many things that happened this past week while we were in St. Simons that rendered the two of us speechless. Signs and confirmations that we’re doing what we’re supposed to do and we are where we should be were hiding around every corner.

We drove straight into Tropical Storm (or whatever they were calling it) Beryl knowing that our first two days would be full of rain but didn’t care one bit. In spite of my horrible fear of bad weather and knowing that Jim Cantore was on the Island with his “oh shit” crew and jacket, the peace we all felt driving over the causeway was the precursor to a wonderful week.

Staying at The King and Prince brings back so many memories of my childhood, staying there with my grandparents when the hotel was simply the Historic Hotel part. None of the villas or oceanfront rooms were there. It was small, simple, yet grand. And even with all the additions, it still is.

On Memorial Day, I took myself out into terrible weather to get a glimpse of the hottie extreme-weather-chaser and succeeded.

Later that night, Henry called us out onto the patio to see the most amazing double rainbow I’ve ever witnessed.

The week continued to get better.

From the perfect sand dollar we found when we walked out onto the beach, to the family portrait we took in the spot where Jason and I got married almost 14 years ago…

To the fabulous yellow bag and angel I bought from my friend Marti at Two Friends and the sweet potato ice cream from Moo Cow…

and to the fishing trip Jason and HL took with the singular goal of catching a shark, that ended with Henry having caught three sharks by himself and three being filleted to bring home with us, the week just got better and better.

We were having such a great time, we added a night.

We enjoyed two meals at Bennie’s Red Barn… the first one was so good we had to go back for more (per Henry’s demands). Chip, from Alfonza’s Supper Club where we had our rehearsal dinner, sings in Bennie’s now. The first night we were there, he sang “Butterbean” to another table and tears welled up in our eyes. The second night, I talked to him and told him he sang at our rehearsal dinner forever ago. He gave me a big hug and said he’d had another table request “Butterbean” so we got to hear it again!

The last night, we surprised Henry with putt-putt. On the way from Bennie’s to The Village, I got an email saying I had been chosen for BlogHer’s Voice of the Year. To say I was floored is an understatement. I may or may not have squealed and cried a little. We celebrated with drinks from the bar at the King and Prince when we got back to the hotel. (My hand has been forced by Jason and I’m now going to BlogHer in NYC in August.) Here’s the post if you want to read it!

And as always, when I’m on the Island, I’m reminded of what an amazing experience it was being a nanny for two summers for an amazing family. They are my Island Family and we always jump at the chance to see them. If only Haley weren’t on the other side of the country, we could ALL lunch together. Instead, we had to just talk about her at lunch and wish she was with us!

We’re home now. Summer vacation is in full force. There will be camps and Bible Schools and two blog conferences and fun. But we’re all refreshed and ready to take on the summer with a renewed sense of purpose.

Summers To Remember

We’re seated by a young girl with a brand new Mullet Bay t-shirt on. Just by looking at her fresh pressed shorts and brand new tennis shoes, I know her deal.

The waiter fumbles to remember today’s specials because it’s his first day of work.

The adorable waitress from Japan doesn’t know what a Shirley Temple is, but when I tell her it’s Sprite and cherry juice, she writes it on her little cheat sheet. She won’t forget now.

This is the beginning of a summer to remember for so many people on the Island.

From now on, they’re going to be able to say, “I worked a summer in St. Simons and it was the most fun I’ve ever had!”

I know because I can say that, too.

I’ve been back to St. Simons a zillion times since I nannied here in the summers of 1995 and 1996. I was married here. I’ve vacationed here and yet, for the first time, I’m feeling almost weepy with nostalgia when I think about the boys and girls who are here to work, get paid, enjoy their freedom and most of all, make memories.

Granted, some of those memories will end with massive hangovers and huge regrets, but whatever… it’s summer.

I see them huddled together, nervous and self-conscious, waiting to see which tables they get to serve, rehearsing what to say, but in the back of their mind they’re really wondering whether the guy who’s helping the bartender is interested in them. Will he be the one who asks me to the beach on our day off? Does my hair look ok? It’s not too frizzy is it? 

I know them because I WAS them.

Luckily, my job involved keeping an adorable (now freaking grown) elementary aged girl. (You people don’t want me waiting on your table, I promise.) Haley and I spent our days at the pool, doing arts and crafts and generally goofing off. The second summer I had a friend with me and we ventured out more at night, eventually both finding boyfriends — locals who were bartending for the summer. Of course those weren’t long-lasting romances, but they were fun. We enjoyed ourselves and the memories I have of the things Haley and I did will surely stick with me forever.

And that’s what this new batch of kids will do this summer.

Whether they’re bartending, waiting tables, putting up umbrellas on the beach, nannying or working in a retail shop, the memories will be made. They’ll dance to bands at night, swing on the swings at the King and Prince with their dates, climb the lighthouse, bask in the sun to perfect their “I lived at the ocean” tan, and sleep until noon if they can.

Maybe they will appreciate it while they’re in the moment, but probably not. More than likely it’ll take them a good 15 years before they realize what a wonderful experience they had.

And when they do? They’ll be the one tearing up in the middle of Mullet Bay because they’re flooded with emotions and gratefulness for the summers they spent on the Island.

(What? That wasn’t me tearing up. I’m just saying.)

(Ok, fine. It was me. And I’m proud of it.)

When The Anthoines Visit The Georgia Coast…

… bad things happen.

Jason and I have spent a lot of time on the Georgia coast, namely St. Simons Island and Sea Island.

We love it so much there we even got married there! (Look at me, I’m such a BABY!)

We’ve celebrated anniversaries, stayed for Georgia/Florida games, even spent a week at Sea Island the week after Charlie was buried in the most blinding pain and heartache ever.

Times there have been both happy and sad.

But when we’re there? Bad things tend to happen to other people.

In fact, it got to the point where we would make sure that my dad didn’t fly his place while we were on vacation or my sister’s family didn’t travel while we were at St. Simons. They laughed, but I’m SURE we saved their lives 1000 times over.

Think I’m kidding? Read on.

It all started way back when I was a nanny on St. Simons. It was the year of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. I had a chance to go to the Olympics with the family I nannied for, but opted to stay back and hang out on the Island. I had had a very funny feeling in my gut all along about the Olympics and felt like I’d be safer at the beach than there. My gut was right. Eric Robert Rudolph decided Atlanta’s Olympics would be a great place to set off a freaking pipe bomb.

That same summer, while I was in St. Simons, TWA Flight 800 exploded and crashed over the Atlantic Ocean. On the plane was a young woman my age (20 — at the time) from Macon who went to a rival high school. It was heartbreaking for a million reasons. I think that was the first time I realized that I was *this close* to being an adult and that things like this would start to impact my life and potentially impact people I know.

During our wedding week in 1998, the fastest woman alive, Florence Griffith-Joyner died at age 38 from epilepsy.

We were vacationing in St. Simons, at the Queen’s Court, in July of 1999 when John F. Kennedy, Jr and his wife Carolyn and her sister were killed when his Piper Saratoga crashed off Martha’s Vineyard.

Later that year, on Halloween weekend, we would tempt fate by going back to St. Simons for the Georgia/Florida game. PARTY TIME, Y’ALL! Well, until EgyptAir Flight 990 crashed. Families of 217 people were forever changed that day when the plane crashed off of Nantucket Sound.

Believe me now? Seriously, we’re trouble.

There’s more!

In August of 2001, R&B singer Aaliyah, whose songs I cannot name, died in a plane crash coming back to the US from The Bahamas. At 22 years old, a very bright and talented young woman was killed along with 8 other passengers.

The trip to St. Simons was an interesting one in April of 2002. It was like the trifecta, y’all.

  1. Our first pregnancy was conceived. (I would find out on June 13 that there was no heartbeat)
  2. Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes died in a car accident in Honduras. At age 30, after being part of the awesome TLC and making waves by setting fire to Andre Rison’s shoes and burning down their mansion that they bought with their bazillion dollars, Left Eye went out in a crash in (of all things) a Mitsubishi. I mean, it would sound better if it was a Lamborghini or Ferrari, right? Anyway, sad days for the CrazySexyCool fans of Left Eye.
  3. My Grandaddy died. I remember where I was sitting on the beach at Sea Island when my phone rang. I knew it was coming and my mom didn’t even have to say anything when I answered. I had told him before we left (Jason was speaking at a conference) that I loved him and that it was ok for him to go before I came back. Put the whole Left Eye thing in perspective, huh?

We know there have been other crazy things that have happened but it’s been a while since we’ve doomed anyone by being at the Georgia Coast.

Until Jason went camping with some guys last weekend at Sapelo Island. Dang if Whitney Houston didn’t up and die while he was there. I texted him to tell him and the only thing he said was, “Well, I AM at the coast, so somebody had to die.”

The moral of this story I’m telling you today is this:

Don’t fly or drive or leave the bed when the Anthoine Family is at St. Simons, Sea Island or anywhere near the Georgia coastline. Your life could be in danger.

 

It’s Already Ready Already!

Kids, have I got a recipe for YOU!

I don’t know if it has a real name, but in our house it’s Ready Spaghetti. I wrote this recipe when I was a nanny for a family in St. Simons a bazillion years ago! Mrs. Maggie made it and I was instantly in love. It’s now one of our staple meals. Henry likes it, Jason LOVES it and I adore the simplicity of it!

So here you go…

  • 1 pound lean ground beef, browned
  • 3 ½ cups water
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 16 ounces spaghetti noodles
  • 2 shakes pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 4 shakes salt
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire
  • ½ teaspoon basil

In a large pot, mix tomato sauce, water, pepper, oregano, salt, worcestershire & basil. Bring to a boil, add spaghetti.

Brown ground beef, drain. Add to the pot of spaghetti.

Cook for approximately 20 minutes until spaghetti is ready. (You can let it sit there for longer though on low/simmer if you want until it’s the desired consistency.I usually simmer mine for an hour or so.)

If the water cooks out before the spaghetti is ready, add 1/2 cup HOT water. DO NOT ADD COLD WATER. It will end up thick and not liquidy.

NOTES:

  • I usually double the recipe.
  • I also use Italian Seasoning instead of all the oregano, basil and pepper and salt.
  • This recipe is much better the next day and it’s even better with shredded cheese over it.
  • We also put chopped (or sliced) black olives in it sometimes.
  • Serve with some Italian bread and a salad and you have a beautiful, simple meal!

It doesn’t photograph well, but here’s what the final product looks like so you’ll know what the consistency is.

Enjoy!

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