The Fryer’s Edge

15 Aug

Frying Contraption, Immobile with Skinny Legs, It’s best you stay put.

Greetings, Fellow Catfish Enthusiasts, 

The final base camp of the climb offered the most foreboding glimpse of the summit yet.  As I set down my gear and brought my hood up to shield my weary head from the blowing snow, I paused for a moment to reflect.  


Hongse, Home to the Mystical Headwaters of Mekong.

Here we were, the Bayou Fryer 700-701 and I, in China and attempting to reach the summit of Hongse, unclimbed peak of the Tibetan Plateau, home of the pure headwaters of the Mekong River, and spiritual Nirvana of which the lowland catfish chefs had reverently spoken:  

“Each flake of snow that falls upon Hongse is a single spirit of the universe who makes a decision to either become a part of the snowy peak, or to embark upon the long journey down from the Great Mountain to the Mekong River, eventually becoming a healthy, robust catfish suitable for frying.  

Or maybe pan-searing, depending upon the restaurant.”

But in addition to the snow blowing around my head and around Bayou Fryer’s heavy steel lid, a cloud hung over the expedition that both B.F. and I had avoided for days. As Chairman of The Denver Catfish Festival, I am charged with maintaining both my mental and physical attributes in apex condition at all times.  But these old bones have fried a lot of catfish, and carrying the 70-lb. Bayou Fryer from the Mekong Delta to the Roof of the World had taken its toll.  Plus, there really is no easy way to also carry five gallons of fryer oil and a full-sized propane tank in addition to that steel hulk of a fryer.  

I set up our tent while Bayou Fryer heated its oil for dinner preparation.  I dropped the last of my ration of boudin balls into its cavernous maw and watched the oil pop and sizzle as the boudin sunk, floated, and cooked to a delicious golden brown.  I sat down with my paper plate across from BF and, with every muscle searing in pain, delivered the news that I’d avoided for days. 

Big Bayou Fryer,

Mountain climbing is a bitch

With you on my back.

I had reached total physical exhaustion.  There would be no attempt for the summit of Hongse.   

The monthlong journey back to Denver and the Denver Catfish Festival Chateau and Reflection Gardens was a slow and silent one.  Traveling via mule, ship, and Vanagon, we hardly spoke; we knew we’d let each other down.  I had lacked the necessary physical strength and Bayou Fryer was too damned heavy.  We’d been so close to the summit, but in the end, the mountain had defeated us both.  Perhaps a younger Catfish Festival Chairman and maybe an aluminum Bayou Fryer would have stood a better chance against the unrelenting land of the Mekong Headwaters.  


Months later while perusing a popular frying magazine, I came across the sight of a new product which took the breath from me.  I fumbled for my smart phone and found the item on Amazon, and yes, it was available there, and with Prime shipping!  I rejoiced as the confirmation screen popped up, then waited anxiously at the gates of the Chateau for its arrival.  

Three days later, rapture:


Wheels & The Fryer Keep on Turnin’…

The Bayou Fryer 700-185 Fryer Cart!  

It holds the Bayou Fryer and its propane all in one modern, compact, stainless steel design!  With this new technology and our newfound mobility, we shall again follow the Mekong to its source on the summit of Hongse and, as a plus, be a much more mobile, quick-strike tactical frying operation.   But not until after…

The 2016 Denver Catfish Festival





2 Responses to “The Fryer’s Edge”

  1. samforms August 16, 2016 at 8:10 pm #

    I can’t believe I read this crap.

    • DCF Chmn. August 16, 2016 at 8:18 pm #

      I can’t believe you took the time to comment! Many thanks.

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