An old nursery rhyme went like this…Mary, Mary, Quite contrary How does your garden grow?
Here are some of our results:
As a young boy I always helped my grandmother and grandfather tend their gardens. I enjoyed everything from digging the trenches to laying potato seed to pulling stocks and reaping the reward of our harvest. Even as a young lad I certainly didn’t mind rolling up my sleeves and get my hands dirty. One thing I did not like doing though was – weeding. Thank goodness for grandma, who had the patience to ensure our beds were not overtaken by them. My grandma and extended family members continue to maintain these gardens growing a variety of crops.
I still have an appreciation for growing local food stuffs and want to get more involved in maintaining a garden and greenhouse. Now that the harvest time is nearly over on the Great Northern Peninsula, it is a great time to consider growing local in 2014!
Live Rural NL –Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
Fish & Brewis is a traditional Newfoundland Specialty. I enjoyed this meal of fish, brewis and boiled potatoes on January 5th, 2012.
I’ll share with you the recipe:
- 4 Cakes Purity Hard Bread
- 2 lb salt cod fish
- 1 cup of salt pork (finely diced)
- Drawn Butter: 1/4 Cup Butter, 2 Med. Onions (chopped), 2 tbsp Water, 1 Cup Water (Optional)
Soak Hard Bread overnight. Use lots of water. Soak cod-fish in a separate bowl overnight. In the morning change water and cook cod-fish for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Put hard bread in saucepan with water to cover and bring to a boil. Remove Hard Bread from heat and drain. Optional Add cooked flaked fish and mix if you would like what is called Fisherman’s Brewis. Keep hot. Fry pork until golden brown and crisp, serve with fish and brews.).
Drawn butter: melt butter in saucepan, add onions and fry until golden and soft. Do not brown. Sprinkle flour over mixture and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat. Stir in half water. Place on heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Beat until shiny and smooth. Slowly add remaining water, cook over low heat 2 to 3 minutes. Serve over fish and brewis.
My friends from Europe certainly enjoyed our traditional Newfoundland & Labrador cuisine.
Love Rural NL –Christopher C. Mitchelmore, MHA The Straits-White Bay North
- Big Fat Cod potato pancakes (stevesacooking.com)
Family is the cornerstone of our lives and society. The moment we were brought into this world we become a member of a family. A unit that unquestionably had a significant influence upon our lives. Sometimes we take for granted how important our family is to us. We often forget that they are the people who have shaped who we are, supported us when we encountered problems and shared our hopes, dreams and accomplishments.
Did you ever hear the saying, “Don’t know what you have until it’s gone? Well I can tell you it is true. I have always had a strong sense of family, but when I lost my father I appreciated family even more. There is not a day that goes by when I don’t think about him. I often want to tell him something exciting that has happened to me or ask for his advice on a particular matter. But I can’t because he is not there. Although, I will never forget the wonderful memories and the things he taught me, especially our times cod jigging.
After all, this is one of the things families do, right? They teach us and guide us in the right direction. They try to provide us with a sense of right and wrong. As a toddler, they teach us safety and security. As a school aged child they teach us to respect others and as a teenage they teach us to be independent. The kind of person we become is a result of the values we were given throughout the years. Reams of advice came from our parents and siblings, “Don’t sit too close to the TV“, “Eat your vegetables” and “Don’t drive to fast” are some examples that come to mind.
At times we probably felt that the advice was not good and that our family was trying to ruin our fun. Instead, ironically, they were only looking out for our best interests. Our family sets the stage and are the supporting actors that mould our character.
How often did someone say, “You look just like your mother?” or “You have your dad’s sense of humour?” Family members show us how to love and how to make good decisions. When I am faced with a problem, I think, “What would my mother do now?” Our roots shape our personality and to some extent determine what we will do in life.
Sometimes we find that life is not all sunshine and happiness. There will be times when we are faced with obstacles, challenges and even failures. These are the times when we need our family the most. A family is supposed to form a safety net when one of its members is falling. It isn’t just there to shine brightly when everything is going perfectly. Family members will have problems from time to time – mom, dad, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles. Drawing on love, support and strength of the family can help us weather even the toughest storms. For instance, think of the young teenage girl who gets pregnant. She is still in high school, has no money and probably not emotionally ready to become a parent. What will she do and whom will she turn to? If she has a loving and caring family, they will provide the needed supports. What about the times when we find ourselves in financial hardships. Everyone knows that post-secondary education is very expensive. Even more so, if you have to move away from your home. Probably one of the most trying times is the lost of a loved one. Whatever the case may be, the bottom line is that your family will be there for you unconditionally when all else fails.
My family has shared the highlights of my life. They have watched me become academically successful – obtaining a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) and receive the James Barnes Award for Academic Excellence; create my own business; internationally live, work and travel, and moreover become my own person. Family is there for all the important events and make up most of our memories. They are there to praise you for all the good things you have done and give you a pat on the back for your efforts. They are the people we want to spend the holidays with.
Family is a true gift, most likely the best one we will ever receive. Even though we all have busy schedules we should appreciate those closest to us. If you have not talked to a member of your family in a while, give them a call, drop by and visit just to let them know you are thinking of them . It will make a world of difference to your life and theirs.
The social media is no substitute for that personal touch, which was evident today at dinner. We went out to my grandmother’s house as she prepared a big traditional Sunday dinner with fresh greens. It was quite the meal with moose meat, turkey necks, peas pudding, turnip, carrot, potatoes, salt beef, molasses pudding and gravy.
We were 10 total, my cousin came with her four small children. It was nice to see so much life in the house. The kids ate in the living room with a TV tray each. Brings back memories when I was a child when there were other little cousins around and you always ate in the living room or at a small table. Now as an adult, we talked and yarned around the table as we filled our puddicks (stomachs) with grandmother’s good grub.
Usually after dinner I would rush off to get back to work, but my little cousin asked me if I would play “Go Fish” with her. I quickly agreed and so happy I did. My cousin is the eldest of four and she said that her youngest brother and sister (the twins) had to play as well, they were only 3. It was amazing to see the request to have everyone included, one could sense the strength of the family unit. We worked out a way to help the two enjoy the simple card game of “Go Fish”. We let the youngest sister start. She got 4 pairs right from the beginning and in the end, took 1st place. Myself, we I was a distance last – but certainly the one who turned out to be the big winner.
When I got up to go, the four children all gravitated to my legs and did not want me to leave. They were like bolts that kept me secured to the floor. There is no greater feeling than spending time with your family, sharing smiles and making new memories.
Today brought back so many memories of my childhood. There is something wonderful about the sense of fun and freedom as a child. They truly enjoy life’s simplest pleasures.
In today’s busy world, please take some time to spend it with those who matter most.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
Christopher Mitchelmore was elected the first New Democratic Party (NDP) member for the District of The Straits-White Bay North on October 11, 2011 in the Newfoundland & Labrador House of Assembly. He is the youngest sitting MHA in the current legislature.
- 2 seal flippers
- 1 small turnip
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 2 onions, sliced
- 1 parsnip, sliced
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 ounce Newfoundland Screech
- 1/2 lb fat back pork
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- small pat of butter
- Cut all fat and slag from flippers.
- Place them in a deep dish with enough boiling water to cover.
- Add vinegar and set aside to cool, then wipe dry with paper towel and place in baking pan or large casserole dish.
- Add pepper and salt to taste.
- Cover with sliced onions and sliced fat pork.
- Dribble Newfoundland Screech over contents.
- Cover and bake in pre-heated oven at 375 degrees F for 2 hours.
- Boil turnip, carrots and parsnip in 2 1/2 cups of water for about 20 minutes.
- When vegetables are ready, place in baking dish with flippers.
- Use vegetable water for gravy and thicken with flour.
- Make dumpling pastry and pat over flippers and vegetables.
- Cover and bake gently until pastry is done. This should take approximately 15 minutes.
Enjoy traditional seal flipper pie.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
- A Seal Flipper Foodstand? (liveruralnl.com)
- NL Moose Soup on Saturday (liveruralnl.com)
- Rabbit Soup on Saturday (liveruralnl.com)
- Live Rural NL retaliates against Ellen’s stance of “Stop Seal Hunting in Canada” (liveruralnl.com)
My Grandmother Mitchelmore has been planting a garden for a lifetime. At 79 years young she knows that around the end of May, there is a flurry of activity to attend to the ground. She plants potatoes, turnip, carrot, onions and cabbage to ensure that she can prepare her traditional Jigg’s Dinner throughout the year. She also maintains a strawberry patch, which at times I am tempted to raid.
I grew up helping my grandparents in the garden and always enjoyed the harvest. I remember Grandmother and I were digging all the potatoes and she got a supersize tater. I dug frantically trying to match her giant spud. I did dig up a larger potato, but it definitely would not win a beauty contest.
Today she helped me continue to attempts to grow a variety of vegetables locally. We planted onion, red onion, green onion and baby carrots. Tomorrow, I will plant lettuce plants in addition to my already planted tomatoes, green peppers, red peppers and asparagus.
There seems to have been a generational gap among those of my parents age, as many did not adapt the skills required to maintain a garden. However, there is hope as younger generations appear to have a strong interest in growing vegetables. Rural communities have an opportunity to utilize this interest as a means to share space and offer community gardens. Experienced elders can teach those younger the necessary skills to have a successful growing season.
Get your garden growing this season. It is not to late to start on the Great Northern Peninsula.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
- Needing Grandma’s Green Thumb to Grow Tomatoes (liveruralnl.com)