Salt Fish and Scrunchions
Here in Nova Scotia the tradition for Christmas Eve seems to be lobster (blech). Back home in Newfoundland, or at least my part of it, the traditional Christmas Eve meal was salt fish (cod) and scrunchions.
Scrunchions are basically small pieces of fat back pork, fried up crispy (like bacon fat) and then served with the liquid fat over your fish and potatoes. Sounds gross to the uninitiated I know, but its sooooooo delicious.
Salting cod was (and still is I guess) the traditional way to keep it for the long winter months before everyone had electricity and deep freezers. Salted and sundried, the fish would last for a very long time, and when wanted, was left to soak in water overnight and then drained and boiled the next day.
Fat back pork was another staple in every household, and used for anything needing fat, traditional Newfoundland foods had a high fat content, with lots of fried foods. I can only assume the hard rugged lifestyle helped the older generation burn it off.
For me another treat from the salt fish were the leftovers. Why? Because they’d typically be mashed with leftover potato and onion and then fried (mmmm more fat) into fish cakes, one of my most favorite meals ever.
Are you hungry yet?
May you be blessed with your favorite foods, family and festivities over the holidays. Merry Christmas!
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