Yes, David's kissing a cod! More on this later, read on
Almost everything about Newfoundland is extensively connected to sea, the cuisine first and foremost. In fact, seafood is the main reason that settlers from Europe came to the island in the first place.
Explorer John Cabot, came upon Newfoundland and wrote, "the sea there is full of fish that can be taken not only with nets but with fishing-baskets." Those fish were cod, and cod became the backbone of the economy, as well as the staple of the diet.
During our stay in Newfoundland, we discovered that there is more than one way to cook a cod -- many more -- before proceeding to eat (and drink) many other wild and wonderful things:
Cod tongue: We can truthfully testify that not only will a Newfoundlander kiss a cod, they aren't shy about using some tongue. Fried tidbits straight from the fish's mouth, served with scrunchions; deep fried bits of pork fat. The tongues taste like cod, with a very slight gelled consistency. And everything's good with a little pig fat on it!
Fish & Brewis: Salt cod and hardtack, boiled, broken up, and mixed together. It dates back to the days before refrigeration, so it's based on easily kept ingredients.
Fisherman's Brewis: A slightly fancier version of the classic Fish & Brewis, dressed up with potatoes and corn, and a handful of scrunchions for added flavor.
Cod cakes and eggs: The breakfast of champions!
Cod au gratin: A Newfoundland favorite, cheesy goodness served with beans.
Jiggs Dinner: Another pre-fridge staple. Salt beef, carrots, turnips, and pease pudding -- a pudding in the British use of the term. Made from split yellow peas and boiled in a pudding bag along with the rest of the ingredients, it is almost like a dumpling.
Toutons: A traditional fried bread accompanied by molasses or partridge berry jam, and served with tea.
Lobster: The island's most popular non-cod offering from the water. They are kept in pools all over Newfoundland, one only needs to pick one out and they'll steam 'em for ya. They're best eaten outside with a great view.
Screech: Food is not the only thing consumed in Newfoundland, libations have a long history too. Distilled spirits played a big part in the early fishing trade as salt cod was shipped down to the Caribbean and rum made its way back up. One of the most common types became known as Screech, allegedly for the sound a person makes after downing a shot.
A ceremony called "Screeching in" is performed for folks would like to become honorary Newfoundlanders--a revered practice on the island that must be performed properly by a registered Screecher.
After a week or more of crisscrossing the land, we felt pretty close to the locals, so we took the plunge, and the pledge. With a shot of Screech and a kiss of another cod, we were initiated.
Watch us getting Screeched in:
Moose: Steaks and...
...something we had never seen before and doubt we ever will again, Bottle Moose (we didn't ask).
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com
YOUR TURN: Have we inspired you to visit Newfoundland? What would be the first thing YOU would try?