Lori McCarthy is the owner of Cod Sounds, a company that offers guided foraging tours of Newfoundland woods and beaches, as well as cooking classes that focus on preparing meals with locally sourced ingredients. She is also the founder of the Livyer’s Cultural Alliance, a club for people who are passionate about Newfoundland’s evolving foodways.
“We get together and do things like butcher a lamb or make sausages. We all work together to make something, then we eat it and share any knowledge we have about the food with everyone at the table,” McCarthy explained.
“The club is intergenerational – so the young learn from the old and the old learn from the young.”
This fall, the club will be launching a speaker series called “Kitchen Talks” which will look at how food culture is growing and changing in Newfoundland right now. Around ten speakers will present on various topics.
“There’s so much wonderful stuff happening with food here … People are making cheese, they’re catching fresh water eels, they’re preserving, they’re smoking fish, they’re doing all kinds of stuff – there’s aquaculture projects and new innovative ways to farm” McCarthy said.
“All this really cool stuff is going on, so I just want to bring people together in one room to talk about it.”
McCarthy is excited about a fresh approach to foraging that is emerging in Newfoundland. She is part of a new wave of foragers who are interested in preserving classic Newfoundland foraging practices (like picking berries), but also investigating what edible forgeables might be getting overlooked.
For example, when we talked, McCarthy was experimenting with making different types of seaweed butter. “The most interesting stuff would be the stuff that grows on the seashore, the beach greens. It’s very hard to find people who’ve eaten it in my mom’s generation or my grandparent’s generation,” McCarthy said.
Her own favourite beach greens include Oyster Plant, Sea Rocket, and Beach Orache.
“Oyster Plant has such a unique flavour, I’ve never eaten anything that tastes like it,” McCarthy said, and “Sea Rocket is awesome because it’s one of the only things I’ve found out there that has a really spicy kick to it. It creates a great substitute for horseradish which is hard to find here.”
As for Beach Orache, she says, “This is one you can pick and eat in large quantities, like spinach. It can be a full salad.”
If you’re interested in cooking with seaweed and beach greens you might also want to check out FoodFirst NL’s super informative seaweed’page.