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Traditional Scots Recipes – a Selection

The foods traditionally associated with Scotland may seem a little plain – even dull – in today’s world of readily-available international cuisine. However, not only did they keep many communities alive, they also ensured health and vigour which was the envy of many other nations in pre-industrial times. Many of these foods – oats, oily fish, kale for example – are finding new popularity today as healthy options, both in traditional and in modern dishes.

Most rural communities in Scotland were self-sufficient. Oats were the great staple. They were used to make oatcakes, porridge and bannocks. They were also used to make stuffings and to thicken soups and stews. Cattle were kept for meat and also for milk which was made into butter and cheeses. All parts of the animal were used, hence the origin of haggis, black pudding and such. Milk was also available from goats and sheep while hens and wild birds provided eggs. Communities living by the coast or by rivers supplemented their diet with fish, with the surplus being dried or smoked for use during the winter. They also used dulse, a finely flavoured seaweed, which could be eaten raw or cooked. There was not much variety in vegetables, with potatoes, kale (or kail) and turnips being the staples, but the summer would provide berries, plums, rowans, apples and pears in different parts of the country, and these would also be preserved to add cheer in the long winter months. Wild garlic added flavour to dishes and honey added sweetness.






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