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Scottish cuisine? I don’t think there’s any such thing . . . When you buy a Mars bar . . . they dump them in hot oil.” —-Jay Leno, as host of NBC's Tonight Show

Say Aye Tae a Pie

As you travel around Scotland, you may stumble upon all manner of local specialty, rarely found elsewhere—neeps and tatties, for example, or even Scotch Egg. Watch out for freshly poached salmon, and if in season, a newly-bagged cock-a-leekie, cullen skink or Scotch woodcock straight off the moors. Each region has its own mouthwatering dishes—Forfar Bridies, Arbroath Smokies and so on. On Shetland you can enjoy krappin, wirtiglugs, snoddie and slot. ——Scotland For Beginners, 1314 an’ a’ that, by Rupert Besley, 2001

 
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HAGGIS: Never eaten without a shudder, spiced, originate in the black mirk of awitchcraft conveniently forgotten, they squat, snotted, horny, reluctant to be moved behind the soiled glass of the delicatessen counter. They seem to crouch, crawl almost. With the alacrity of toads, they approach tables, gathered in strong moments by the clenched hands of aspirant foreigners. Whenever nationals touch them, they wilt, like toadstools. —-George MacBeth, My Scotland, London, MacMillan 1971

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...some of their dishes are savoury, and even delicate, but I am not yet Scotchman enough to relish their singed sheep's head and haggis, which were provided, at our request, one day at Mr. Mitchelson's, where we dined. The first put me in mind of the history of the Congo, in which I had read of negroes' heads being sold publicly in the markets; the last, being a mess of minced lights, livers, suet, oatmeal, onions and pepper, enclosed in a sheep's stomach, had a very sudden effect upon mine, and the delicate Mrs. Tabby changed colour; when the cause of our disgust was instaneously removed at the nod of our entertainer. —-Tobias Smollet (1721-1771) Humphrey Clinker

The northern Highlanders, who also were marauders, ate flesh largely, and often ate it raw. Lesley, indeed, affirms that they preferred it dripping with blood, because it was then "mair sappie" and nourishing. —-Old-world Scotland; Glimpses of its Modes and Manners ©Thomas Finlayson, 1844-1923

When the aboriginal Highlander or Borderer did condescend to cook his dinner, his appliances were of the simplest: he contented himself with seething the flesh of the animal in its own paunch, or in its skin. The broth, obtained in this way was the common drink of the Highlander ... so excellent that not the best wine, nor any other kind of drink, might be compared to it. —-Old-world Scotland; Glimpses of its Modes and Manners ©Thomas Finlayson, 1844-1923

FISH AND CHIPS
In every Scottish town and village see
The chip shop shining like the House of God.
It offers more than packages of food:
It shapes the face of the community.
Behold the altar with its chromium plate,
Breath in the fumes of fishy sacrifice;
With pickled eggs, black puddings, greasy pies
There’s food for thought for those who like in wait.
— F.Scott Monument
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Dunrobin Street Family Restaurant


Ancient Scottish cookery was specially distinguished by the excellence and variety of its soups. Of these it may suffice to mention three: to wit, hotch-potch, cockie-leekie, and specially fish-soup, compared to which last, the greasy turtlebroth of London City is a gross and barbarous abomination. —-Old-world Scotland; Glimpses of its Modes and Manners ©Thomas Finlayson, 1844-1923

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It was chiefly among the Lowlanders that kale attained its extraordinary vogue. It is a vegetable essentially Saxon and non-Celtic. The more unsophisticated Highlanders regarded its use as a symptom of effeminacy...the Grants who, living near the Lowland line, had grown fond of it were contemned as the "soft kale-eating Grants," and a Gaelic poem on the battle of Killiecrankie mocks at Mackay's defeated soldiers as "men of kale and brose." When the Highlander indulged in such a luxury as broth he preferred the common nettle. —-Old-world Scotland; Glimpses of its Modes and Manners ©Thomas Finlayson, 1844-1923

Other interesting foods that the fish and chip shops have been asked to fry include chocolate (21%) and sweets (16%) in general, Snickers (4%), Creme eggs (4%), and pizza (4%). Three shops each said they had been asked for deep-fried ice cream and deep-fried Maltesers. Deep-fried Toffee Crisps, bananas, pineapple rings, and Rolos had also been requested. We conclude that Scotland’s deep-fried Mars bar is not just an urban myth. Encouragingly, we did also find some evidence of the penetrance of the Mediterranean diet into Scotland, albeit in the form of deep-fried pizza. —-www.thelancet.com; Vol 364 December 18/25, 2004; Survey conducted for the Scottish National Health Service (NHS) among Scottish fish-and-chiperies, about the sales of deep-fried Mars bars.

In a candy store I saw Edinburgh Rock, fishills, voice -pastilles, chocolate bouncers and frosty railroads, but no railroad spikes or iron. Frosty railroads, eh, and chocolate bouncers!... In bakery windows I noticed short-bread, oatcake, and scones (pronounced, “scorns”), that were as big as an elephant’s ear; they sold for two cents each; and a variety of strange bread... May I be blowed! In a butcher shop I saw platters of Hamburg steak labeled Mince which came in several grades at different prices. The cheapest kind was labled 4d, (eight cents), and probably came off the horns; the next grade was labeled 6d, (twelve cents), and may have come off the neck or tail; and the eight pence variety was good stuff, no doubt, that came from good parts of the animal.
— A Poor American in Ireland and Scotland by Windy Bill, [ Ben Goodkind ] © 1913, W.S. Van Cott & Company, 516 Mission Street, San Francisco, California

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