Friday, 27 March 2015

Just Another Dinner


Newfoundlanders are big on family. They have big families. Basil is second youngest of a family of 9 children.
Newfoundlanders are big on family meals. Family dinners (or lunch) are still an occasion down here and usually, the big family dinner is on Sunday.
Being just the two of us, we have family suppers every night. Our dinner (lunch), is usually prettty simple. So technically, once in awhile for our supper, I love to make a traditional Jiggs Dinner. And it's a big dinner.


For those of you who've never heard of a Jiggs Dinner, you're not alone. I hadn't heard of it either until I befriended a Newfoundlander back in Burlington, Ontario. And she wasn't even a native Newfoundlander. Silvana was born in Italy but emigrated to Ontario, and long story short, married a Newfoundlander and moved 'back home' to The Rock. And then back to Ontario. It was in her home that I first had a taste of a Jiggs Dinner. It can also be referred to as a Boiled Dinner, probably because your whole dinner consists of vegetables, split pea pudding and salt beef all boiled in the same pot.
Most families will also roast some meat along with this dinner, such as a chicken, a pork roast or the ever popular turkey. Silvana did a roast chicken.
Well, I can't say that it was love at first taste. It was 'different'. Living in a very culturally diverse area, I was used to all sorts of different foods, but this was 'different'.
Fast forward to the present.
Honestly, you develop a craving for this meal. If you're invited to anyone's home on a Sunday, chances are this will be on the menu. And you'd think that it would taste the same, no matter who made it. Wrong! Somehow, everyone manages to make it a little different. And every single one of them is delicious. And when it comes to the two of us, if I don't cook it often enough, I start to imagine the flavours in my mouth to the point where I have to make this meal, even if it isn't on a Sunday.
So how did this delicious excuse to stuff yourself get it's name? Well, I'm not old enough to remember, but apparently there was a comic strip called Bringing Up Father and the main character, Jiggs, loved his corned beef and cabbage. Hence, naming this salt beef and cabbage dish Jiggs Dinner. So, yes, cabbage is in it, as well as turnip, carrots and potatoes. Basil likes boiled greens. You can also make a pease pudding to boil along with it. Make a gravy. Serve along with pickled beets, mustard pickles, and voila! You have the makings for a feast. I've even made a steamed pudding to go along with it.





Here's my favourite--blueberry pudding.














Now you may say to yourself, why would I ever make so much food for just two people?


                             

The answer in one word:

 LEFTOVERS

                                                                                               
There is nothing better than taking all those delicious leftovers the next day, frying up some onion, adding a can of corn beef and smushing up all the ingredients to come up with a hash dinner.



And if you think I exaggerate, let me relate a short story.
When my daughter and son-in-law visited awhile back, I made a Jiggs Dinner for them. They 'liked' it. I don't think they 'loved' it.  But I made a huge hash dinner the next day with the leftovers. My daughter loved it so much, that she ate leftover hash dinner for breakfast for the next few days!


So if you have any Newfoundlander friends, beg them to make you a Jiggs Dinner. Or, ask to be invited for leftovers.

Better still, come and visit Newfoundland and develop a discerning palate for Jiggs Dinner. Yum!

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