Smoked Cod (Finnan Haddie) and Egg Sauce…

When I was growing up (back in the dark dim…) every Good Friday we sat down to a lunch of smoked cod and egg sauce. It was the only time in the year that we had it, a bit like Christmas pudding. My mother and her mother from Scottish roots served the traditional smoked cod called finnan haddie, with egg sauce and we loved it.  Now I’m not so sure many people still do this, I think some of my aunts might. We don’t because my husband has long refused to have anything to do with smoked cod and egg sauce, even once a year was is too much for him…

In my husband’s family there was no such tradition of smoked cod and egg sauce on Good Friday. They were practising Catholics with Irish ancestry so they certainly ate fish on Fridays but not the ‘disgusting smoked cod stuff’…  Irish history tells us that the Holy Week leading to Easter and including Good Friday was harsh with food denial rules, no way a wee bit of smoked cod and egg sauce would get a run… And so, over the years I’ve relinquished the idea of having smoked cod in exchange for any fish or non-meat meal. I miss the tradition but I then I guess Good Friday is a sombre day so perhaps the meal is not important. However, some people would say that finnan haddie is perfect for such a solemn day…!

I know that other cultures have special food for particular days. My Italian friend is cooking baccala (a traditional Italian dish) and polenta for lunch. Every Good Friday her family has partaken of this food and they still carry the tradition forward. Easter is a very big food event for the Italians, or so I’m informed but then the Italians do love their food and do it well.

Makes me think about food traditions, how they are reinforced and passed on and how easily they can be lost. It seems that once a habit is broken it’s unlikely to be reinstated as we all know that some food tastes and ideas are developed from the crib. Sometimes, of course traditions are altered along the way and I think that’s fine. I’m hoping next year to persuade one of my sons (who happens to be a very good chef) to join me in cooking and eating finnan haddie and egg sauce on Good Friday (a little attempt at reinstatement). I don’t think my other son will be too worried (big smile if he reads this) as he happens to be a vegetarian…so much for tradition…

finnan haddie

About Heathermargaret

I'm a writer and the author of Finding Eliza, 2018. I'm currently working on my second novel.
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8 Responses to Smoked Cod (Finnan Haddie) and Egg Sauce…

  1. deivamarina says:

    Yes, you should reinstate your tradition for your sons. It’s so nice to reflect back on these family traditions. I don’t recall the fare on Good Friday but I do remember dying the eggs! And I know we would visit my Grandmother’s for a meal after church. I’m pretty sure there was nothing as exotic as your special cod and egg sauce.


  2. I’m with Kevin and Andrew on this one. The pic of the fish was bad enough…..our tradition is Fran’s homemade hot cross buns on Good Friday, minus the cross (quicker without them) and I tried to push for the glaze but was reminded it’s just sugar…..very lovely anyway with lots of real spice. I’ve already had 3!


  3. I haven’t eaten cod for so long. We have no traditions, only fish and chips for dinner, which we have just eaten. Long may your traditions continue Heather and a Happy Easter to you and yours.


  4. joanne says:

    This is a tradition that we have kept in our family to, my mums mum used to cook it for her family, mum cooked it for us and now I cook it! Although this year hubby and daughter finally admitted to not liking the egg sauce, so they still had the cod but with a rarebit topping! Guess the tradition will stop at me! Another tradition we have yearly is the day after boxing day we have left over turkey in a white wine sauce with small road ties and veg!


    • Yes Joanne, hard to keep some things going along isn’t it. I do however, like your trukey tradition after boxing day, sounds delicious. One question, what are small road ties??
      Thanks for your lovely reply. Heather


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