Brier Hill Volunteer Fire Department Bullhead Feed was the
subject of this March 27, 2000 profile jointly produced for
radio by Traditional Arts in Upstate New York and North Country
Public Radio. Listen
Fishing for bullheads, a bottom-feeding,
scavenger fish of North Country waters which resembles a catfish,
has long been a popular spring and early summer pursuit in
the region. While many individuals fish for bullhead, one
of the most common community traditions in the region is public
suppers--"bullhead feeds"--most often organized
and prepared by men's groups. The Brier Hill Volunteer Fire
Department continues one of the oldest bullhead feeds in the
region in the fire hall which serves their small community.
Begun in 1937 as a fundraiser, the bullhead feed is a community-wide
social event as well, with nearly 1000 meals served in one
evening each year. Nearly everyone in the area participates.
Traditionally, the women serve the food while the men prepare
and cook the fish. An informal master-apprentice system prepares
young cooks, who are trusted with the well-guarded "secret
recipe" for this regional specialty.
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