In the late 1940s, when Anne (Grisham) Schultz was still in grammar school, she used to go out halibut fishing with her Fourth Street neighbors, J. Simpson "Sim" MacKinnon and his wife, Hazel.
Sim, a retired Navy captain and the first territorial appointee to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., owned the 52-foot Hyak, a gleaming charter craft.
"I was a real lucky little kid to get to sail on that boat," Schultz said. "I got to go out most weekends in the summer on the Hyak. We caught a lot of halibut."
Consequently, Schultz' mother, Margaret Grisham, cooked a lot of halibut. She learned one of her favorite and fastest recipes, "Halibut Logs," crumb-coated strips of halibut, from Ruby Green, the University of Alaska Cooperative Extension Service agent in town. Green lived next door with the MacKinnons, at a time when it was even harder to find housing in Juneau.
"Since our families had coffee and dessert together frequently, she was treated like family," Schultz said. "It's Ruby who gave that recipe to my mother, and my mother used it for all of her cooking life. That was how I remember halibut most being cooked."
"It was something that you could do when you had guests in the summertime who were in town, just announced," she said. "It was a great savior of (Ruby's), and she passed it around to a lot of people."
Extension agents such as Green have been passing out recipes, health and safety advice, home decorating strategy and nutrition tips in Alaska for three-quarters of a century.
The University of Alaska Cooperative Extension Service turned 75 on July 1 and will celebrate its anniversary with a party at the House of Wickersham from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24. It was Judge James Wickersham, then the territorial delegate to Congress, who lobbied in 1915 to allocate 250,000 acres in Fairbanks for the site that became the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Saturday's party will include some samples of Southeast Alaska recipes, a presentation of the Friends of the Extension Service and Dale Wygant on the accordion.
75th anniversary celebraton
alaska cooperative extension service
when: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. sat. sept. 24
where: house of wickersham
Schultz, owner of Rainforest Gourmet, will be at the celebration. She still has a pamphlet put out by the U.S. Extension Service in 1941 listing jam and jelly recipes.
"I've used it from time to time as a resource," she said. "People worked hard because there was so little prepared food. People made things from scratch, and they did what they could do to can and preserve. Everybody that I knew made their own jam and jelly."
Schultz also recalls the time when extension agents taught an easy way to make leather kid gloves.
"You would draw a pattern around your hand, and the kid leather was cut around the pattern," she said. "I know my mother made a pair."
"Southeast women were very resourceful," she said. "They knew how to make things and how to do a lot of things that had to be done. We were fortunate during the war. We didn't have as much rationing as people did in other places. But it was a very tough environment to grow up in and you learned an awful lot. Everybody seemed to know how to do something interesting."
Schultz, whose grandfather came to Wrangell in 1905, is writing a book of Southeast Alaska food history.
"It's a decade of how some things stay the same and some things change," she said. "It's about how families celebrate the ingredients that are so easily available to us here. Sometimes we take them for granted."
Green's famous "Halibut Logs" recipe was a cheap, easy and quick way to cook fish. Green used to make her own cornflake crumbs. At that time, they didn't come in a box.
"The principle essentially says that firm white-fleshed fish can stand at high heat for a short period of time and do very well," Schultz said. "And that it probably benefits from something that provides a little moistening, and that it certainly looks pretty if it's rolled in a dry crumb of some kind. You could probably use Panko.
"It's very nice with some kind of a tartar sauce of your choice, and mother always liked to have a tiny bit of horseradish to give it a little bit of a kick."
A Ruby Green recipe, as passed down to Anne (Grisham) Schultz by her mother, Margaret Grisham
Directions: Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
Cut the halibut into into strips or "logs," three inches long, one inch wide and one inch thick. Soak the halibut logs in milk for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the milk.
Roll the logs in cornflake crumbs, or some sort of bread crumbs. Place the coated logs on a cookie sheet. Drizzle lightly with vegtable oil.
Bake logs for 15 minutes, or until the halibut is cooked through. Serve with your choice of sauce.
Korry Keeker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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