Saturday night I attended several of the parties that closed out
the 2010 BlogHer Conference here in New York City. Of course,
food was available at all of them, but one in particular had…drum
roll, please…cod fritters!
Can’t say I’ve ever seen cod fritters served at a party, or anywhere,
for that matter. I don’t think they’re typical, but maybe that’s just me.
Now, I’ve eaten, and made, numerous other fritters, including apple,
parsnip, the recent curds, and so on, but no cod. In any event, there
they were, I had a few, and they weren’t too bad. They weren’t too
great, either, but it’s probably because I’m not a big fan of cod.
Then I began to wonder if there were any receipts (recipes) for cod
fritters in historic cookbooks. I don’t particularly recall ever seeing
any. Nevertheless, I began looking in earnest, first in one book,
then another, and in one century, followed by the next. And you
know what I found?
Nothing. Nada. Zilch
Yep, that’s right. I came across receipts for all the usual suspects,
everything from apple to spinach to chicken, but not one for cod.
Even I was a bit surprised. There were separate cod dishes, too,
but none with it in a fritter form (found mostly stewed cod and
cod’s head). I also looked in two books that deal with British*
foodways in general. One mentions fritters several times, and
stated that they could be made of fish, but it didn’t specify what
fish. I did, however, find an oyster fritter receipt, but that was it.
The second book didn’t even mention fritters. Of any kind. Go figure.
A third on Europe as a whole had many fritter receipts, but again,
none for cod or any other fish. So, it’s possible I suppose, that they
might’ve been prepared using cod, but then, maybe not. Perhaps it’s
one of those perplexing “it’s impossible to know for sure’s.”
Then, late on Sunday, I just happened to read about the historical
1623 wedding presentation at Plimoth Plantation next weekend. The
site’s foodways manager, Kathleen Wall, shared the menu for the event.
Lo and behold, there’ll be fritters and fresh cod! HUZZAH! Not together,
mind you, but dishes of both will be prepared. She pointed out that
the fritters will actually be more like pancakes, and that cod (fresh)
was considered to be a rather unusual dish by the early settlers. I
suppose they may’ve been more accustomed to salt cod (dried). That
could possibly, maybe, explain the derth of cod fritter receipts? Guess
I’ll just have to continue in my quest for information! I hope everyone
out there will let me know if they find any, as well.
* 1.) Food and Drink in Britain, from the Stone Age
to the 19th Century, by C. Anne Wilson (1991);
2.) British Food, An Extraordinary Thousand Years
of History, by Colin Spencer (2002); and
3.) Cooking in Europe, 1650-1850, by Ivan Day (2008)