Thursday, September 25, 2008

brewis sighting: Vikings of the Ice by George Allan England, first edition page 117

"Fish an' brewis, how many youse?" It rhymed, for brewis is pronounced "bruise." "Anny man don't get up to braffus got to go widout un!" As the men told how many portions they wanted for themselves and for those they were serving, the cooks slopped out the famous dish renowned in Newfoundland lore: hard-bread boiled with cod. "Putt a little grase on un, b'ys. An' gi's us a drap o' tay, too, ye sons o' guffies!" Liberally the cooks drenched the fish and brewis with liquid pork grease and bits of crackling. With this, the sealers jostled away to their foul, underdeck quarters, to crouch and eat.

An old, familiar provender to me was fish and brewis, from previous rambles in "The Oldest British Colony." You can boil the hard-bread and fish in water or milk; condensed milk if you can't get fresh, which generally you can't. To thousands of Newfoundlanders it furnishes a staple, the hard-bread substituting for vegetables. As for "fish," that always means cod. The story is time-worn of the old livyere exclaiming: "if ye can't gi' us fish, gi' us haddock!"

The above excerpt is drawn from Vikings if the Ice: Being the Log of a Tenderfoot on the Great Newfoundland Seal Hunt by George Allan England, Doubleday, Page & Company 1924. An upcoming unabridged audio book release from Rattling Books.


REDEFiNE iT: Dictionary of Newfoundland English is brought to you by the Newfoundland based audio book publisher Rattling Books.

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