Bawd Bree to Partan Bree, a distinctive culinary repertoire
awaits the traveler to Scotland, and those who associate Scottish
cooking with such deadly sounding dishes as haggis and black
bun is in for a pleasant surprise. Blessed with a wealth of
natural produce from its rich land and teeming waters, Scotland
has developed a culinary repertoire of exceptional quality and
variety. Partridge, grouse and pheasant from the rolling moorlands,
venison from the red deer running wild in the mountains, salmon
and trout from Highland rivers, succulent beef from the Aberdeen
Angus herds, shellfish of all kinds, with ingredients like these,
only a truly lamentable cook could fail to come up with a feast.
huge pot hung over the fire which leapt in a shining black-and-steel
range. A black kettle stood on one hob, a brown teapot on the
other. Steam rose gently from the kettle and thickly from the
great black pot, whence also came a continuous ‘purring’
noise and the wonderful smell of Scottish Cooking.
death’s dark stream I’ll ferry over
A time that surely shall come
In heaven itself I’ll ask no more
Than just a Highland welcome.
folk tend to look back to bygone days when the streets of the
larger Scottish cities rang to the cries of oyster wives
and vendors of everything from hot peas to Het Pints, a brew
of ale, eggs and whisky flavoured with nutmeg and sold from
a steaming copper kettle. Those were the times of Scottish Cooking
when a fish dinner, including ale and perhaps a dozen oysters,
cost little more than one cigarette does now. As far back as
the thirteenth century, salmon was so plentiful that it was
pickled for export to London to be fed to the poor, and only
a hundred years ago servants in big houses had contracts stipulating
that it was to be served to them no more than three times a
the fish for Peter’s sake,
He gruppit fish himsel’;
Bless the sheep for David’s sake,
He herdit sheep himsel’;
Bless the soo for Satan’s sake,
He was aince a soo himsel’.
those are bygone days indeed. The allure of traditional Scottish
fare, however, has carried through to modern times in all but
price. Breakfast and tea have a special place in Scottish cooking,
and the visitor who might think of these meals as something
light has another think coming. It was Dr. Samuel Johnson who
wrote: If an epicure could remove by a wish in quest of
sensual gratification, he would breakfast in Scotland.
Oatmeal is still a staple of the national diet, and certainly
most of the older people start the day with a bowl of porridge,
flavoured with salt, not sugar, please. Then come the soft warm
rolls known as baps, kippered herring from Loch Fyne or smoked
haddock (smokies) from Aberdeen and Arbroath, scones
and oatcakes with heather honey, jams, jellies and marmalade,
claimed by Scots as their own invention. Tea is the occasion
for another mammoth spread of cold meats and eggs, potato scones,
crunchy shortbread and such delicacies as Dundee cake, a fruity
concoction strewn with almonds.
hae meat, and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.
has long been a great tradition of soup making
and eating in Scotland. There are many reasons for this.
Before people started to live in large cities it was usual
for everyone to own a small garden and to grow
sufficient vegetables for the household needs. It was
typical of the Scottish housewife, who has always been
thrifty and able to make much out of little, to make a
pot of soup out of a little meat or a bone and her own
vegetables, and feed a family on good nourishing fare.
A century ago in the Highlands and outer isles, where
the wind and the rain made gardening very difficult, the
industrious housewife would use young nettles or wild
sorrel or kail to replace the cultivated varieties of
vegetables so common in Scotland today.
is much advice around on the making of tea from this nation
whose "other" national drink it has been for more
than two centuries. The only thing to be repeated about the
making of tea, is the adage from the side of the Victorian teapot:
who love good tea
Must please remember me
Be sure allow the water to boil
Then the tea you will not spoil.
which can be added, use freshly drawn water. Water re-boiled
is only fit for washing up. The following advice is also worth
remembering about keeping a pot of tea going and producing more
not drain the pot dry and then fill it up again; fill half the
cups at a time and replace in the teapot the water you have
taken from it; always with boiling water'.
elaborate dinner or late supper will bring out the smoked salmon,
rich dark venison or feathered game, roast beef or tender mutton,
perhaps lobster from the Firth of Forth. Auld Alliance, a savoury
of creamed cheese laced with whisky and served with hot buttered
toast, can be a superb climax to the meal.
With the Scots it was whisky or perish.
And how they have survived!.
Salmon Soup. They never dare make this with fresh salmon in England and it is not so good with tinned. But if you have fishing or poaching friends you may eat of it in Scotland. Prepare a stock with the head, bones, fins and skin of a salmon, the bones of one or two fresh whiting (the whiting makes all the difference) and a few root vegetables, boiling all for half an hour. Strain and remove all the fat and oil. Thicken with a little potato flour or mashed, cooked potato. Add chopped parsley, some scallops of the uncooked salmon and some brown bread crumbs. As soon as the salmon is cooked the soup is ready. This is provided in heaven for good Scots.
visitor who comes across haggis or black bun should not be put
off by the unappetizing names. Haggis consists of the heart,
liver and lights of a sheep, cooked with oatmeal and onions
inside its stomach bag. Hard to believe, but its delicious.
Black bun, also known as Scotch bun, is a cake made with raisins,
currants, almonds, ginger, cinnamon and brandy.
be here, and grace be there,
And grace be round the table;
Let ilka ane take up their spoon
And eat as muckle’s they’re able.
In rural districts in Scotland candy-making is a regular adjunct
to courting. It draws together all the lads and lasses round
about for miles, and the fun and the daffing that go on during
the boiling, pulling, clipping, cooling, are, both lads and
lasses declare, worth the money. A few of the lasses club their
sixpences together, a night is set, a house is named, and, of
course, the young men who are specially wanted are invited to
lend a hand and a foot too, for dancing is not an uncommon adjunct
to such gatherings."
From an old book on Scottish cottage cooking.
manipulation, delicate and deft, be one of the secrets of good,
or fine cooking, there should be many good, or fine cooks among
Scots housewives. So many of them can turn out scones and paste
that are gossamer.
names of many Scottish delicacies are nothing if not colourful.
A few examples: Bawd Bree (hare soup), Bubblyjock (roast turkey),
Cock-a-Leekie (chicken and leek soup), Inky-Pinky (beef and
carrot stew), Stovies (sliced potatoes cooked with onions and
lamb) and Melting Moments (biscuits in rolled oats).
you like your Scots broth, Dr Johnson?’
‘Ah! Very good for hogs, I believe.’
‘Then let me help you to a little more.’
One US cup is equivalent to 250 ml or 8 fl. oz.
A level teaspoon equates to 5 ml;
a level dessertspoon equates to 10 ml
and a level tablespoon is equal to 15 ml..
U.S. pint is 16 fluid ounces, and not 20 fl.oz like the British
U.S. cup = 8 fl.oz = 250 ml
1 British cup = 10 fl.oz = 300 ml
The teaspoon and tablespoon measurements are the same.
1 teaspoon = 5 ml
1 tablespoon = 15 ml
1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons