Fayner Posts: So we were at Pablo Diablo’s house in Malibu last week, and I mentioned how Cod (AKA Scrod) is not a specific fish, but whichever white fish is caught that day, thus the name Cod (Catch Of the Day).
TR said I was crazy to think that. But I’m from Boston and have lived in Nantucket which is one of the world’s fishing capitals…so I think my fish knowledge reigns supreme over hers, as she’s only lived in L.A., O.C. and Utah…three places not really known for their quality fishing conditions.
We argued for a bit, then smoked lots of pot. Days later we tried to recall just what we were arguing about that day, but alas, we could not. Blame it on the drugs.
But today we were watching The Deadliest Catch on the bob tube, and someone mentioned Cod. We both looked at each other and laughed.
But as soon as TR reads this I’ll be the only one laughing ’cause I was right and she was wrong and I’m smarter than a porno chick it’s now been decided. I will sleep well tonight knowing this, you can be sure of that…
It seems that the search to determine what a scrod, schrod or schrode really was/is became fodder for the newspapers. I was fascinated as I read entry after entry about a little fish! Back in the 1840s it was written that fish are scrawed when they are prepared in a particular way for cooking. This scrawing consists in cutting them flatly open and then topping them with a bit of salt and sometimes with pepper. They are then exposed to the sun and air to get rid of the moisture. In this dry state they were roasted over a coal or wood fire. Butter was added to the top and they were said to be scrawed. (Adapted from "1841 Spirit of Times.")
It is now easy to understand how the term scrawing some types of fish turned into the name scrod.
From "Goode Fisheries U.S. 1.201" in 1884 it was written, "In the vicinity of Cape Ann the young Cod, too small to swallow bait, are sometimes known to the fishermen as "Pickers," and throughout all Eastern Massachusetts the name "Scrod," or "Scrode" is in common use. In its primary meaning it seems to refer to these small fish slightly corned, in which condition they are a favorite article of food, but the name is also transferred to the young fish themselves."
In 1939 Wolott Yankeet Cook Book 43 thought they had the definitive definition of scrod. "In the fish industry, scrod has come to mean haddock under 2 ½ pounds. The correct definition of scrod is a small fish prepared for planking."
Then in 1993 in "FDA Consumer, September 14" we read, "Scrod is not a type of fish. The term originated in the Boston area to describe the catch of the day. It is a fish under 2 ½ pounds that is cod, haddock or pollock. Such fish should be labeled in the market or listed in a restaurant as scrod cod, scrod haddock or scrod pollock."
And finally from Boston Online in 1999 "Wicked Good Guide to Boston English" we read that scrod is a small, ambiguous piece of fish that never knows if it’s cod or haddock. Some people claim that scrod is a young cod which schrod is a young haddock but, in fact, there’s no difference – it’s basically whatever’s cheaper at the fish pier that day."