The Scots Kitchen: Its Traditions and Lore with Old-time Recipes (Mercat classics) Paperback – 20 Oct 1993
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A lot of space is given to references to, and descriptions of, food in literature, especially the works of Scott and the food of his fictional but legendary culinary heroine Megs Dods. The long links with France are delved into, and an appendix lists French-derived culinary terms and their original Gallic forms. The Gaelic is not neglected either, and the frugal traditions of the crofts, still much more alive in 1929 than we would expect, are treated at length. I was fascinated to discover that grinding grain with a rotary hand-quern was still common in remote areas in late Victorian times, also that the tradition of "smooring" the peat fire (carefully 'smothering' it with ash so it would smoulder till morning, ready to be breathed into life again for breakfast) was, as in Gaelic Ireland, accompanied by a protective chant half psalm, half magic spell, which mingled together the pagan and the folk-catholic.
The recipes themselves vary from the spartan to the lush, all using the wealth of local meat and game, the few vegetables and fruit then grown north of the border, and spices and exotic ingredients (almonds, orange-water, orange peel) which have formed part of the cookery of the British Isles since medieval times.Read more ›