I sat down for dinner with Kyle in his Passy apartment to broker peace between our two lands. Stephanie Marple joined as my half-Portuguese backup. We also had editor Monkhouse, an Ottawa native, present with his European wife, acting as arbitrators for the respective continents. Ryan Heighton was also there as an observer, hoping to absorb some of the richness of Portuguese culture while also struggling to understand how Newfies can actually respect themselves.
We began the ceremony with an airing of grievances, each representing our homelands.
Kyle: Well I think you owe me and Newfoundland an apology for illegally fishing within our borders.
Eric: I think you owe me an apology for getting mad even when the Portuguese fish just outside your borders, even if it is still on the continental shelf that’s largely within your territory. That’s legitimate fishing, albeit to your great detriment.
Kyle: Almost all of the cod lives on the continental shelf! Your mass, unrestricted fishing on the 5% of the shelf that sticks out into international waters is wildly destructive!
Eric: While, we’re on the topic, I resent bearing all the brunt of your frustration. The Spaniards are also fishing your cod. Simply because you have not reached out to any members of their community, I am forced to suffer all your full cod-related anger.
Kyle: The collapse of the cod industries and subsequent moratorium has destroyed the livelihoods of so many of my people! I will complain to any culprit!
Eric: In that case, I think you need to point the finger at your greedy fishermen too. Besides, if you go to Portuguese grocery stores, Canadian Cod is totally second rate to the far superior Norwegian Cod.
Kyle: I’m going to strangle you!
Marple: Let’s remember that you are both friends! You had countless dinner parties together when Eric still lived in Passy.
Kyle: Like that time you tried to serve mousse, but put in 10 times the amount of milk because you misread your stupid Portuguese recipe!
Eric: I will not apologize for that sir. Those mousse shakes were delicious. And the box said “dl”! How would I know that deci litre and not deca litre? It’s very confusing.
Kyle: 2.5 litres of milk? Come on!
Eric: I admit, in hindsight, it seemed like a pretty clear mistake. But we’ve had some good times at Passy too Kyle. Remember when we explored the fire at the organic farm past the Passy field? We called 9-11 and talked to the firemen! Bonding moment. A broment of sorts.
Monkhouse: Hey! You guys told people I started that fire! I could’ve got in serious trouble for—
Eric: Shut up Andrew. This isn’t about you. This is about reliving good times.
Kyle: Good times? Like on October 17th, 2011, whilst at a bar, you promised me a drink. Where’s my drink, Eric?
Eric: “Whilst?” I don’t understand the question, and I won’t respond to it.
Kyle: Ugh! How can you try to look back at our friendship when you wrote an entire article based on cod, attacking me, and attacking my people!
Eric: Kyle, please. None of it was meant to be taken personally. All in good fun! Mark Freake enjoyed the one we did together. It’s not always about you or your funny sounding backwards people.
Kyle: Not supposed to be personal?! How about when you wrote an article about how you slept with my fiancé!?
Eric: (Getting up) listen, Mr. Rees, I came here to broker peace. If this is going to work, I need to be given some leeway for my rather ironic blending of journalistic integrity and poetic license. Slight exaggeration in describing my concert date with your woman—
Kyle: (Jumping out of his seat) It was not a date!
Marple: Now now gentlemen, settle down. The cod is almost ready. We all know you both love cod.
Kyle: Well I do love cod.
Eric: A unique and delicious fish.
Kyle: Remarkably versatile food.
Monkhouse: Seriously though, that fire that was not cool! To think—
Marple: Nothing brings piece like breaking bread together!
The boys did eventually settle their bad blood. There were a few more bumps in the road, such as when Eric unwittingly wiped his mouth on the Newfoundland flag, and when Kyle caught him covetously staring at a portrait of Laura. Cod, in the same way it brings together onions, cheese, potatoes in various forms, brought these two men together. It helped that Eric finally succeeded in making a mousse-based desert, with Marple’s help of course. And while Eric is no longer allowed to be left alone with Kyle’s fiancé, and Kyle can’t complain about Portuguese cod fishing without equally calling out the “Spaniards,” the issue has been largely resolved. For those curious, the treaty-brokering Newfie dish was…
Cod Au Gratin:
- 2 pounds cod fillets
- 3 tablespoons margarine
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 x 12 inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add cod fillets and cook for 4 to 6 minutes; drain.
- Melt margarine in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat and mix in the flour and milk. Return to stove over medium heat, and stir until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
- Flake fish into baking dish, alternating layers with sauce. Sprinkle top with shredded cheese.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cheese is browned.
Amount Per Serving Calories: 379 | Total Fat: 19.4g | Cholesterol: 108mg