Taste the Land and Sea
I loved every minute of it. A morning spent with Lori McCarthy: baking, cooking, storytelling, eating, laughing and more eating. The experience at the Compton House, Cod Sounds Cookery School is a true pleasure.
If you are not familiar with Lori and Cod Sounds, the name of her business sets the tone for what she accomplishes with her food experiences. A “Cod Sound” is the swim bladder of the cod and most people, even locals these days, would discard it. Not Lori. And there are dozens of edibles we now walk over, mow down and underutilize — Lori is setting out to change that too. Through her foraging on the beach and in the woods, butchery, preserving and baking classes, Lori McCarthy weaves the preservation of Newfoundland & Labrador’s food culture into every experience.
Our day started with a tea bun baking lesson. “Tea buns” are the traditional Newfoundland version of what are known as “biscuits” in the US and “scones” in the UK. Full disclosure, I don’t like to bake. I love to cook. Bake, not so much. But I’m delighted to say I walked away from this experience a changed baker. Well, let’s say I will give the tea buns a try on my own and I’m a tad more confident they won’t be as hard as hockey pucks. Lori and her side kick, aka “Mom!”, were patient and excellent instructors. They added a little taste of place to the recipe by infusing Newfoundland Wild Rose sugar.
We each had a turn at the rose petals in the mortar and pestle to make it. So delicate and oh so good…
We next turned our hand to Rye Crackers. The recipe looks so easy on paper, but it’s all in the feel of the dough and using the hand cranked pasta maker. And I think laughing helps. Because there is plenty of that. My only regret in making these crackers is I am going to have to make them forever if I ever want to eat another cracker. There is no going back now.
If you are noticing a pattern you would be correct – everything is better when it’s made by hand.
Lori then took us through the uses are of her gathering efforts. A quick pickle to start. A sprig of this a dash of that and voila a jar of yum to have at the ready for your next board. She allowed us the opportunity to taste her moose chorizo, mackerel spread, pickled beets, chanterelles and more.
But my favourite moment was when Lori brought the beach to us and prepared diver scallops on warmed beach rocks.
The finishing touch to the morning was tasting our first experiment, our tea buns. We did good!
I can’t say enough about this experience. You must try it. Gather 10 people and spend a few hours reveling in the unique ingredients that make this place so special. This particular class is available in the fall. Lori’s foraging experiences will begin again in 2018. Visit www.codsounds.ca for a list of all the experiences available.