When I was younger and worked in a restaurant, “scrod” was always on the menu. It looked to be a plain and mushy piece of white fish with a few breadcrumbs on top. I tasted it, and yes, this particular scrod was a bland and feeble piece of fish.
Fast forward to now… during a conversation about food writing with my husband, I told him I did not like scrod. He said, “Hmm. Well, do you like cod?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Do you like haddock?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Then you like scrod!”
Naturally an ‘argument’ ensued, and I vehemently stuck to my position. I did not like scrod! Just to prove him wrong, I researched the issue online, and lo and behold, my husband was right. He is only right once a year so I am marking this special occasion by writing about it now.
In New England, scrod (sometimes spelled schrod) is not a specific type of fish. Scrod refers to any young white-fleshed fish. Some say the term was invented to describe the freshest catch of the day, or Secured Catch Received On Dock. It is believed restaurant owners who did not want to change menus everyday coined the term to describe whatever white fish was available. Although the origin of the word scrod has been debated for years, this much we do know: In New England scrod can mean any young white fish that is available, normally cod or haddock.
Looking back, perhaps I did not like the way the scrod was prepared in the particular restaurant I worked in. It’s bland, feeble taste kept me way forever. I plan to visit another restaurant and order it, to hopefully change my perception of this dish. With my new knowledge, I can taste and write about scrod with an open and informed mind.
YOUR TIP: When writing about food, especially regional or ethnic dishes that you think you are familiar with, it doesn’t hurt to look up the dish online and verify what the “facts” are. Verify the origins of the food or recipe, and how its name came about. You might learn something new in the process.
Now, I must reluctantly thank my husband for this insight on this topic. He is scheduled to be correct about something next year around this time. He has been eating more fish lately, which is said to make you smarter. So, check back often just in case he surprises us with more wisdom! :)