Scotland is a small country, but it has an abundance of water in the form of lochs (lakes), river and streams.
Not forgetting the sea which surrounds the Scottish mainland and its numerous islands.
Here are just a few of Scotland’s interesting foods which you might encounter and choose to eat during your stay here.
PORRIDGE – a breakfast food made from oats
The famous 17th Century writer and traveller, Samuel Johnson, once remarked,
“In England we wouldn’t think of eating oats.
We only feed them to horses.”
His good friend, Boswell, with whom he had undertaken a journey through the Highlands and Islands of Scotland was quick with a response
“Well, maybe that’s why in England you have better horses,
.. and in Scotland we have better men”.
Scottish food has come a long way since the 17th Century and Johnson and Boswell’s travels and there is a great diversity and choice.
Photo by Alex Motoc on Unsplash
However, there is still a secure place for oats in the Scottish diet – and, of course, the health benefits of eating grains are now apparent in the 21st Century.
There are many variations on how people eat their porridge as there are spurtles* in the gift shops (you have to read on to get that reference!).
Purists believe that porridge should be made with soaked oatmeal and water and served with a sprinkling of salt. However, these days if you ask for porridge in a hotel, it is more likely to be cooked with milk and, as an accompaniment, you are more likely to be offered sugar or honey with it as well as perhaps fresh fruit. (I enjoy eating mine with some granola ..oh…and just a little drop of cream!)
NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THIS…
There is a special implement for stirring the porridge – a wooden spoon called a *‘spurtle’ This stirrer sits well in the hand and with its rounded end it is easy to work into the corners and edges of pots. Its use dates back to the 1500s.
Both the Scottish highlands and lowlands are full of wild game (although today there’s less ‘wild’ game and some of it is ‘farmed’) including pheasant, grouse, partridge, pigeon, hare, rabbit and more. Most up-market restaurants will have some sort of game on the menu – most likely a cut of venison or a venison stew.
FISH AND SEAFOOD
The lochs and ocean provide a ready-made supply of food. Salmon, Haddock, Trout, Mackerel and Herring are probably the favourites, with plenty of fresh seafood/shellfish such as lobster, crab, prawns, scallops, mussels thrown in. Most restaurants will have fresh fish on the menu but it’s the coastal villages dotted around Scotland which offer you the greatest and fresh variety of fish