North Carolina Sea Grant
Mariner's Menu

Mariner's Menu

September 8, 2014 | Vanda Lewis

seafood traditions


Lissie McNamee. Photo by Scott Taylor

Living on the coast has its advantages.

“I have my own gill net – 50 feet long – three crab pots and a rowboat,” says Lissie McNamee of Merrimon. “It’s just enough for me to go out there and catch a few mullet when I can on Cedar Creek off the Intercoastal Waterway. I do it right from my yard.”

She can dip her crab pots off the pier jutting from her house, too, for a few fresh blue crabs for dinner. “If you’ve got it right there in your front yard, you might as well learn how to harvest it,” she says.

McNamee has learned more than how to catch a crab in her 20-year tenure with the Nutrition Leaders. Before joining the group, McNamee had never cleaned a crab or filleted a fish. “I really only knew frying,” she recalls.

She grew up on a farm near Wilson’s Mills, the sixth of seven children, and learned basic cooking skills helping out in the kitchen.

“We had lots of vegetables. We grew our own,” she says. “And we raised our own beef and pork. Plus we had sheep, chickens and goats.”

Then in 1963 she had the good fortune to marry a man who caught, cleaned and cooked his own catch. For 16 years, her husband, Wayne, a commercial fisherman, brought home fresh snapper, shark, grouper and the likes straight from the sea.

Joining the Nutrition Leaders in the late 1980s taught McNamee even more ways to prepare their fresh-caught fare. Plus she learned how seafood helps fight fat.

Find out more about Lissie McNamee and her fellow Nutrition Leaders in Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of  Fresh Seafood Ideas. It is available from North Carolina Sea Grant by calling 919/515-9101 or 252/222-6307, from your local bookstore, or from UNC Press.

From: Mariner’s Menu: 30 Years of Fresh Seafood Ideas 

Contributed by Joyce Taylor

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