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Scottish High Tea - Aberdeen High Tea

High tea in Aberdeen is like no other meal on earth. It is the meal of the day, the meal par excellence, and the tired come home to it ravenous, driven by the granite streets, hounded in for energy to stoke against that
menace. Tea is drunk with the meal, and the order of it is this: First, one eats a plateful of sausages and eggs and mashed potatoes; then a second plateful to keep down the first. Eating, one assists the second plateful to its final home by mouthfuls of oatcake spread with butter. Then you eat oatcakes with cheese. Then there are scones. Then cookies. Then it is really time to begin on tea, tea and bread and butter and crumpets and toasted rolls and cakes. Then some Dundee cake. Then, about half past seven, someone shakes you out of the coma into which you have fallen and asks you persuasively if you wouldn’t like another cup of tea and just one more egg and sausage....

And all night long, on top of this supper and one of those immense Aberdonian beds which appear to be made of knotted ship’s cable, the investigator, through and transcending the howl of the November sleet. wind, will hear the lorries and drays, in platoons, clattering up and down Market Street. They do it for no reason or purpose, except to keep you awake. And in the morning when you descend with a grey face and an aching head, they provide you with an immense Aberdeen breakfast; and if you halt and gasp somewhere through the third course they send for the manager who comes and questions you gravely as to why you don’t like the food?—should he send for a doctor?

Lewis Grassic Gibbon
Scottish Scene, Jarrolds (1934)



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