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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bokkoms: Turning from Silver to Gold




As the little fish dry out they become thin, papery and have a rich golden hue. In my painting I show some people deftly gutting and skinning the fish. It is good to watch them for a while as you can then have a few bokkoms weighed out and clean them yourself at home. The meaty part is then cut into tiny strips. About these workers: no assembly line here as each worker makes him/herself comfortable on an upturned crate and sit either in the shade or in the sun.

Later I strolled up and down the Berg River looking at every bird, boat, bend and island in the river, and still the lady in the yellowish t-shirt concentrated on her task, never moving, maybe because the knife was very sharp. "Her back!" I thought, and tried to paint the tension in those back muscles.

So how do we eat this delicacy? No doubt, the great cooks will invent some interesting pates for us, but here on the West Coast bokkoms are either eaten as a salty snack with ice cold beer or wine, or the other way, the high calorie way, which is how I and most people prefer it: Take home-baked oven-warm white bread, plaster it with real butter, add a good dollop of sweet apricot preserve and arrange the bokkoms on top. Pour a cup of the best coffee with it. Now I know how I am going to celebrate the completion of this week's post!

19 comments:

  1. Lovely painting, Marie! You sure did get the muscle tension in her back.

    We have something very similar to your bokkoms here. They are Blind Robin brand smoked herring snacks. Haven't had one for years. They are super salty good!!! :)

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  2. Great painting, Marie!!
    I like the way you eat your bokkoms. It sounds so delicious!!

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  3. Great paintings, great story and great looking plate of food!

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  4. Bokkoms...wow..how fascinating...thanks so much for sharing Marie...can always count on learning a ton when I visit your blog. Thanks again!

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  5. Love this follow on painting, Marie. What a great series too. If I liked fish, I'd sure want to give this a try. Even looking at fish makes me squeamish! LOL

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  6. Been "blog-browsing" a bit... very nice artwork and super fascinating commentary. Bokkoms with apricot preserves... hmmmm.

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  7. I can't decide what I like best. The great rendition of the people hard at work, or the description of how to eat these bokkoms. On a hot day, definitely salty with ice cold beer. And for dessert, bread, butter, apricot, and bokkoms:) It would be a paradise for my husband who loves any seafood...the fresher the better.
    Thanks for this wonderful visual and descriptive feast.

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  8. I never knew that was the way to eat bokkoms! Wonderful stories you tell Marie and beautiful painting - we visited the West Coast last year before I'd seen your blog (Congratulations on your one year anniversary!) Next time I'll know a whole lot more about it.

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  9. Wonderful and informative posts, Marie. Congratulations on your blog anniversary

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  10. LOVE YOU NEW PAINTINGS OF THE SEA AND SURROUNDINGS

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  11. They sound interesting.... We always like to try new foods so now we've got another thing to think about ..
    Congrats on your many recent successes Marie!

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  12. Wonderful painting Marie. You not only captured the muscle structure, but you captured a wonderful expression on his face. I wonder what he is thinking as he works. Brilliant!

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  13. Well, happy anniversary Marie! Isn't blogging the best thing since....well, not blogging and not having a HUGE audience?
    The painting of the fish is lovely and so is the photo of the blue plate still life.
    I hear you about local delicacies, up in Nova Scotia the big treat is Dulse which is dried seaweed. You have to have been eating it since you were a babe to appreciate it, which my hubby has. Not me, I usually end up using the leftover for houseplant fertilizer :D

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  14. Very nice painting Marie, your values are great. I always love your stories too.

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  15. Terrific painting and what an interesting story! Love the fish in the post below as well. This has turned into a really nice series!

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  16. Fantastic seeing you and your beautiful home and all your great work 'in the flesh' so to speak. And no, bokkoms will never taste ok to me!! But love the painting - even more so having just been in Bokkom Lane.

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  17. Congratulations on 1 year, Marie! You are amazing. I love the way you chronicle the goings on in your area - although to you they may seem commonplace... it is fascinating to others around the world. Love the way you painted one fish worker front and the other back - yes, you caught the tension in her back! I'll leave you to your fish dish, though... I am not a huge fan of a lot of fish! Thanks for sharing about it, though - and posting the photos!

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  18. Thank you for all these comments...I am amazed at how you really understand this unique coast. The West Coast has its own atmosphere as Liz can tell you...they had to drive about two hundred kilometers to visit Velddrif. Her first words to me was a breathless: "We saw a swarm of about hundred flamingos!" And thank you for all the blog birthday wishes too!

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