Saturday, August 11, 2012

Comfort Food

There are certain meals that for me are just the epitome of "home." Newfoundland definitely has it's own special cuisine, born of the British Isles, and geared to the produce and protein most easily available locally. Mom's Sunday dinner ("cooked dinner") is right up there in my faves - salt meat and greens and gravy and lots of root vegetables. With turkey if you're lucky, chicken or beef if it's a regular week.

And of course there's fish and chips. Let's just say it straight - you can't get anything like real Newfoundland fi-n-chi in Toronto. Believe me, I've tried. Some spots run by Newfoundlanders come close, but there's still something not quite right. Availability of Newfoundland cod is certainly one issue. There's a Scottish place I like near my place, but it's different. And often, fish and chips means haddock or something else.

Yesterday, we took a little ferry trip to visit Bell Island, where my father was raised. More on that in another post, but for now I just want to wax eloquent (if I knew how) on the joyous wonder that is Dicks's Fish 'N' Chips. Dicks's is an institution on the island. Situated on the beach, just down the road from the ferry terminal, you can't miss it. It is my absolute favourite fish and chips anywhere, and is well worth the 20 minute ferry ride over from Portugal Cove. The fish is always white and flaky and smooth, and the batter the perfect crispiness, without being crunchy. They also serve hamburgers, fried chicken, and pizza, which are all excellent. 

I didn't think to get a picture before I took some off my plate for Little Boo (a two piece is plenty for us to share), and then smothered mine in gravy. I know gravy on fish isn't for everyone, but I say you should try it. Look at the golden batter, and that glimpse of the creamy white fish.

I'm drooling.

I should also point out the tin of drink. Birch Beer is sadly only available in Newfoundland, and is on the list of must-haves when I come home. The best way I can describe the taste is as a mix of rootbeer and cream soda. It is also a totally obnoxious shade of pink. I can find it sometimes at a Newfoundland Store in Scarborough, and I consider it a delicacy.

This is the ultimate comfort food for me. It is also why I tend to gain five pounds every time I come home. But it just seems wrong not to stock up on my favourite meal when I can get it done right once a year. Dad is making his special homemade fish and chips for me tonight, with fresh cod we bought on the wharf yesterday. O.M.G. I can't wait!

What is your most comforting comfort food? Is there something from your childhood you can no longer get that you dream of tasting again?

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