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Sep 29, 2009 04:50 PM

Schrod vs. scrod

Just saw a feature on New England foods on Boston's WCVB "Chronicle". According to the owner of Legal Seafood, schrod is baby haddock and scrod is baby cod. Who knew?

Not to mention the very esoteric food specialties in Rhode Island - cabinet, awful awful, dynamite, chow mein sandwich...Sadly, the last is just what it sounds like - chow mein between two slices of white bread, drowned in brown gravy.

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  1. Wow, I always wondered about this when I lived in CT, I just thought schrod was an "alternate" spelling, as in typo. I have seen it advertised as "schrod cod", just to confuse the issue further. I know that scrod is baby cod, however.
    What, did they run out of rice on chow mein day and only had white bread kickin' around? Sounds god-awful.

    4 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      Yeah, I'd have called THAT the "awful awful", not the milk shake. The owner said something to the effect that when the restaurant (Chan's) opened 104 years ago, folks not used to Chinese food wanted something that looked more familiar. The chow mein part includes crunchy noodles. The Yankee Magazine food writer given the unenviable task of sampling it pronounced it "hearty" (good save!) and remarked that she could see it appealing to the college crowd (presumably the drunk/stoned, impoverished collegian in search of a cheap meal).

      1. re: greygarious

        For only $5 you too can "enter an uncommon world of dining."
        I went to culinary school in Providence and NEVER thought about going to Woonsocket to eat.

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          LOL bushwickgirl, I grew up in RI and never thought about going to Woonsocket for ANYTHING.

          Having said that, there is one bit of culinary interest in Woonsocket that I wish I had known about when I lived in RI: A sandwich called a dynamite, which I have seen described as a "sloppy joe on crack."

          This website has a listing of a few joints that serve dynamites.

          1. re: Bob W

            Update: The Early Bird in Oakland, Maine serves dynamites. Tried one last summer; not bad at all.

    2. That may be the way they define it at Legal Seafood, but I don't think there's any consensus on that generally and I wouldn't necessarily believe you're getting one or the other (except at Legal Seafood, I guess) based on the spelling.

      BTW, the Awful Awful was the trade name of a thick milkshake created by the Friendly's restaurant chain, subsequently changed to the Fribble (is it still? - I haven't been inside a Friendly's in years).

      5 Replies
      1. re: FlyFish

        Two comments:

        1. Agreed on the lack of consensus on what constitutes scrod. I have seen it defined as "flaky white fish."

        2. The Awful Awful is found at RI-based Newport Creamery, not Friendly's.

        1. re: Bob W

          Interesting about Newport Creamery - but, "Awful Awful" definitely was used by Friendly's back in the 60s, so I'm not sure who had it originally.

          1. re: FlyFish

            According to the TV program, it was created by Newport Creamery.

            1. re: greygarious

              I did a bit of googling to try to figure out what happened, and it's pretty clear that's correct - Newport Creamery created the name originally. From there, the story get a bit muddied, but apparently Friendly's also started using the name "Awful Awful" for their shake until NC asserted their trademark rights and Friendly's then changed the name to the Fribble. I grew up in Mass, where we had lots of Fs but no NCs, at least not that I knew of, so I'd always assumed it was exclusively a Friendly's thing.

              1. re: FlyFish

                You Mass. guys had Bailey's (chocolate sundaes) and Brigham's (raspberry lime rickeys) too! Although I do remember at least one Brigham's in East Providence.

                Nice to see Friendly's attempt at a not-so-friendly takeover got the beatdown LOL

                Newport Creamery has gone through some very tough times but a few do still exist, thankfully.

      2. Chronicle is just reporting a post-hoc rationalization. They are simply variant spellings, and they can mean the fillets of any small fish in the haddock-cod-type families.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Karl S

          So I guess we'll never know (sigh). I liked the "flaky white fish" definition.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              The free dictionary's definition is interesting, because of the "catch of the day" bit. When I was a kid growing up (1940s), if it was being sold as scrod, it was caught yesterday at best. Scrod just meant, "We bought too much white fish yesterday. The nice big, thick pieces have all sold, and now we need to get rid of the odd ends and small fillets."

              1. re: gadfly

                What do you think "catch of the day" means ;-)

          1. I feel as if my world has been turned upside down. I trusted my mom when she told me scrod, schrod, and cod were all the same thing! Worlds are colliding! It's okay though, I rarely see any signs for these fishes at all now that I'm out of New England.

            3 Replies
            1. re: HeyDeliciousBlog

              The nice thing is that at least 30% of the time your mom was correct. Honestly, 20 years ago when cod was still plentiful you were just as likely to get Cod as anything else when ordering scrod.

              Then of course there were the terrible T-shirts... "I got scrod at _______" fill in the blank's fish shack.

              1. re: StriperGuy

                And the old joke:

                Guy gets into a cab at South Station, tells the cabbie, "Take me somewhere to get scrod."

                The cabbie replies, "No problem, but that's the first time I've ever heard someone asking for it in the past pluperfect."

                1. re: Bob W

                  Totally forgot that one, made me laugh to hear it again.

            2. "Schrod is baby haddock and scrod is baby cod" total nonsense. These definitions go back hundreds of years and that ain't one of the distinctions. The terms are interchangeable, but see some of the links I posted above.