ELGIN – It wouldn’t take long to work yourself into a stew, catfish stew that is, if you had 1,000 pounds of catfish at your disposal.
Of course, you’d need other ingredients like 300 pounds of fatback, 700 pounds each of potatoes and onions and 300 cans of tomato soup. Rounding out things would be about five pounds of salt. 12 boxes of black pepper and a gallon or two of Texas Pete.
Ross Boulware and friends will have all these fixings on hand when they start preparing about 700 gallons of catfish stew for the second annual Elgin Catfish Stomp Dec. 3, in this small Kershaw County Town on U. S. 1.
The noontime serving of catfish stew is the thing that brings them out although stomp officials admit the crowd enjoys an 11 a.m. Christmas parade, afternoon free musical and square dancing entertainment in the school gym and a bevy of arts and crafts exhibits.
Last year, with no knowledge of what to expect, Cathfish Stomp supporters started off with 150 gallons of stew. It was gone in two hours. “We hope to have enough to serve a lot longer than that,” declared stomp coordinator Pete James. “A lot of people were disappointed when they didn’t get stew last year, but we’ll be ready for them this year.”
Using a host of give gallon pots, Ross Boulware and helpers like Larry Tucker, Hammy Moak, Vic Marthers an other cook each pot for about three hours. “It requires a bunch of hands to get all the fish dressed and potatoes and onions peeled,” said Boulware, “so cooking the catfish stew is really a community effort.”
His mouth-watering stew uses about eight pounds of dressed catfish to five gallons of stew for just the right taste. “You don’t wind up with a fishy tasting stew when you cook it this way, ” he observed. “People who say they don’t like catfish stew will come back for seconds.”