Have you ever been to Newfoundland before?
Me neither. Not up until recently that is.
Today imagine us meeting in a lightly painted wood cabin, natural light streams in through the oversized windows. White paint flecks from the sills, and outside the green grass almost looks grey it’s so shrouded in mist. The trees have a light coating of frost that glitters in the low light and snow floats lazily down. The aroma of hazelnut coffee pervades the room. Let’s talk about Newfoundland.
Now, I’m sure you’ve struggled listening to certain regional dialects before. I certainly have growing up in Lunenburg Nova Scotia. If you’ve never been there, it’s a quaint little fishing town that’s turned to tourism to stay alive. Well, Newfoundland is like if you took Nova Scotia and added a little something extra. It’s special with it’s warm tones, lilting accents, and hilarious sayings.
I’ve always loved the English language, and often find myself Googling the root of words. Take a simple one like the word “saying” like I used above. It’s defined as, “s short, pithy expression…”.
Pithy, now that’s how I want to describe Newfoundland dialect.
The reason I’ve brought you here today is to talk about something I’ve fallen in love with since living in Newfoundland.
Toutons. Little balls of fried doughy heaven.
My boyfriend and I stopped into one of the convenience stores looking for batteries one cold and foggy afternoon, and the store was lined up like this: Coors and Bluestar in one corner, all of the supplies for jigs dinner in another, and in the centre almost glowing in the fluorescent light there are these huge dough balls lined up next to Fancy Molasses. What’s the non-fancy molasses like?
Well, those dough balls are toutons. You stick them in a buttered pan, you fry them, and you add bacon fat on top if you’ve got it. Maybe even a side of cod tongues to go with it.
If you’re not from Newfoundland most of the words that I’ve used in the past two paragraphs would be absolutely foreign. I’m still adjusting. Oh, and you can get flippers on a street corner if you feel so inclined. Seal flippers.
Most of the food I haven’t fallen in love with. Toutons though. A bowl of golden fried dough, topped with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and bacon, glistening with deep brown molasses. I sigh just thinking about them.
Difficult to always be healthy, so at least if you’re eating that negative 20% you may as well make it count. But, like the Bagel Café says in St. John’s, “there’s no doubtin’ I’m having’ a touton”.
Welcome to Newfoundland.