Friday, December 21, 2007


Ever since I read The Shipping News by Annie Proulx, I've had a desire to see Newfoundland. So, when I ran across some mention of Screech and discovered it was connected to the island, I was intrigued. Apparently, there was an exchange back in the day between ships journeying south to the Caribbean with loads of salted cod and returning with barrels of molasses and rum. A thick sediment of sugary stuff would collect in these barrels over time, so it would be heated up, fermented, and distilled to create a form of rum unique to Newfoundland. It's still bottled and sold today, though I hear the very best (and most potent) stuff is home brewed on the sly.

What really intrigues me is the fairly recent practice of holding Screech-Ins. Custom dictates that visitors are made honorary Newfies by doing a shot of Screech, kissing a cod, and reciting some Newfie verses or sayings. I thought this would be fun until I read the middle step. Anyone who knows me knows I'm deathly phobic about fish. I hear that some even like to single out a few people and insist they tounge the fish. I'll be having some nightmares tonight. Dude-would you put your tounge in this mouth?

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