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The lowly, bottom-feeding catfish was exalted -- and eaten -- during the latest edition of History Is Served: Historic Arkansas Museum's Arkansas Foodways Dinner Series, on April 18 at the Little Rock museum. "Catfish Tales in Four Courses" featured the culinary talent of Scott Rains, executive chef for Table 28.

Guests came in from the rain to first enjoy a signature drink and other libations and nibble on the evening's first course: Smoked Catfish Onion Dip on barbecued chicken skins; and Braunschweiger on rye with horseradish. Rex Nelson shared memories of fishing for catfish, as well as mentions of restaurants around the state that did the best justice to what was named the 2019 Arkansas Food of the Year by the Department of Arkansas Heritage's Food Hall of Fame program. Department Director Stacy Hurst also shared remarks.

At dinner, Rains introduced the other three courses: a ham and bean soup; Popcorn Cornmeal Crusted Catfish; and a S'more strawberry cake with chocolate honey mousse, smoked marshmallow topping and a side of chocolate ice cream.

Programs for the evening featured Arkansas catfish history tales; a mention of Arkansas as being the birthplace of the commercial catfish industry; and even a recipe -- "Tips for the Best Fish Fry," lifted from the July 13, 1950, issue of Blytheville's The Courier News.

The next Arkansas Foodways Dinner -- "If Reasons Were as Plenty as Blackberries: Arkansas Fruits and Berries" -- takes place at the museum June 6 and features dinner prepared by Jon Arrington of The Root Cafe.

Gallery: Arkansas Foodways Dinner Series

High Profile on 04/28/2019

Print Headline: Four-course fish fry features a history lesson with dinner

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