I’m no poet, but for what its worth, this came to me last night.  Hope you like it.

Partridgeberry jam by the spoonful from the jam dish: You can taste it.
Wood smoke drifts from chimneys in the frosty morn : you can smell it.
Dew kissed fence palings on your path : you can feel it.
Vapor rising from the glass like sound : you can see it.
An echoing put put from down the arm : you can hear it

Home, it fills up your senses, never to be forgotten.

… Me …

Fish n Brewis

Purity Hard and Sweet Bread

I guess every culture/region has some of its own “weird” foods, and Newfoundland is no exception.  I guess being reliant so much on fish as a locale (and by fish I mean cod, to Newfoundlanders any other fish has a name), we came up with or borrowed many unique methods of preparation.  One of these is Fish n Brewis. The link provided is wrong in my opinion though.  It says that fish n brewis uses salt cod and fisherman’s brewis uses fresh.  I’ve always known it to be the opposite; we always use fresh, and I personally don’t care for the salt fish variety.

Even in the fresh there are different methods of serving, but first… what is it?  Well its basically hard tack (hard bread) soaked in water to soften, and boiled fish.  Sound appetizing right?  Well it is delicious! Even better when served with rendered pork fat and scruncheons drizzled over it!  Some people prefer to keep the bread and fish separate, I’ve actually never tried it that way, I prefer it mashed together, drizzled with pork, and blackened with pepper, mmmmm.

Some people serve it with drawn or drawing butter, another thing I’ve never been fond of, though all it is is butter, onion and flour thickened as a sauce.

I’m not really sure the origin of fish and brewis, but I like to think its probably from the offshore fishery or navy, where non-perishable foods like hard tack were prominent, and cooks needed to improvise meals as best they can.

In any event, today’s supper was a memory of home.  Hope you get to enjoy some soon!

Happy Thanksgiving!

At least here in Canada. Maybe its because winter comes earlier to us than to the majority of our southern neighbours, but we celebrate thanksgiving the 2nd Monday in October.  Like them its a shopping holi…. no wait, wait sorry, it isn’t!

While we don’t have any history of pilgrims and sharing with the native Indians, and our thanksgiving history is all over the map (celebrated in April at one point! See the link above) it, at least now, is a celebration of the harvest, thankfulness for what we have, and of course family and friends.

Newfoundland Blue - courtesy Melissa Wiseman

Newfoundland Blue – courtesy Melissa Wiseman

It is also known in our lighter way as Turkey Day, and turkey is the traditional meal cooked for some on the Sunday or other the actual Monday holiday.  In my family, and I think for most Newfoundlanders, we ate thanksgiving dinner at Newfoundland dinner time (lunch) on Sunday, and it consisted of Jiggs dinner with all the fixings, dressing, peas pudding, etc.  One thing I want to mention though is something I really haven’t seen since I moved away. We, in Newfoundland, had what I thought was a common blue potato, but I don’t see them up here.  All blue potatoes I see here have flesh that is completely blue, not like the blue we had back home, and pictured.  These have bluish/purplish skin and white flesh with blue veins.

Also with dinner there were likely to be puddings!

Now the problem with pudding is… what kind?  My dad used to make a flour and baking powder pudding that is similar in taste to a tea biscuit, and its served with the dinner.  My buddy Bernard calls it a gravy biscuit.  There’s also pudding, or duff, that is, well I honestly don’t know what its made from, but its boiled in the boiler with the dinner usually, and served for dessert traditionally with molasses cody.

Apsey Brook United Thanksgiving

Apsey Brook United Thanksgiving

Besides the traditional gathering of family and friends, and belly bursting food, Thanksgiving was also traditionally a time to share the bounty.  We would always have a special thanksgiving church service, and people would bring vegetables, meats, fish, preserves and other purchased staples to the church, which would be gathered and shared with the more needy after the fact.  I’m sure there was also a little “showing off” involved, as it was always nice to have pride in how good a crop of potatoes or carrots or whatever you had.  It also often led to trading.  Often times people back home traded what they had for what they didn’t, and this worked in reverse in other years.  For example, if you were lucky enough to kill a moose, or own a cow, you might trade a quarter of beef or moose for potatoes or vegetables, etc.

I hope you and yours have a great thanksgiving from me and mine.  Loosen your belt, laugh with family, eat some duff, splurge on the gravy, and remember to hold everyone dear close.  Happy Thanksgiving!