Saturday, December 15, 2012

Strung Out

Salted cod has been a winter staple in Newfoundland for hundreds of years.  Passed down from Portugese fisherman, the 'bacalhau' is as much of Newfoundland's heritage as fishing itself was.  Small coves were skirted with fish flakes, built of stripped saplings with hundreds of cod lying out on them drying in the sun, brined in salt to preserve them first.

Even now, salt cod is easily found in stores in whole fish, split and packaged.  Rehydrate and eat, it was the original convenience food in that respect.   With the high salt content is has fallen from favour as even with several soakings in cold water, the salt remains to a fairly high degree in the flesh.  A bit of an acquired taste perhaps.

Still some people dry their own cod and although the flakes are rarely seen now, there are other ways of drying, as I came across in Pouch Cove one day.  A clothes line holding cod instead of washing.  Well it does the same job I guess and was unique.

This painting is in oil on a 12" x 24" panel.   Its still a work in progress so you'll see more of it again as it evolves and the colours more accurately reflect the fish and the surroundings.


RH Carpenter said...

I like the uniqueness of this one - you expect which linen and get - salted cod! Very nice already. You keep us informed about your local history and I like that, too.

Jeanette said...

It is unique Rhonda. You never know what you'll find on a clothesline around here! :)


salted cod drying wonderful subject jeanette ! when we buy "baccala" salted cod ...we soak it for days to make baccala vicentino !

Jeanette said...

Thank you Jane. Salted cod seems to be a tradition in many places that are near the sea. Its also traditionally eaten here on Christmas Eve too.

I'll have to look up a receipe for baccala vicentino.

Phelps Gregory said...

Great write up and wonderful post. Thanks a lot for sharing with us.

Sue Pownall said...

A fabulous and clever painting. Got a mention on 'Made a Mark' too