Five Centuries of Scottish food history unearthed

14 January, 2008

Some long forgotten recipes from Scotland's past have been unearthed revealing a nation far more cosmopolitan that you might imagine.

As the Scottish government launches a national discussion into what Scots eat, red meat promotion body Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) is giving it some historical context by highlighting what graced dinner tables over the past 500 years.

The selection of recipes making up the new Classics of Scotland recipe range were developed following months of painstaking research by QMS head of marketing and amateur meat historian, Laurent Vernet.

He said: "With its lush, rain-fed grass, Scotland has been envied for its lamb and beef since early times. Then, meat was roasted or served in broth, with the leftovers used for mince. But over the centuries Scotland's cooks have found new and imaginative ways to enhance the succulence and rich flavours of their native meats."

The oldest recipes in QMS's collection stem from the 1500s, with Teviotdale Pie from a Borders' cookbook and a traditional recipe for Forfar Bridie, although it doesn't solve the mystery of whether it was invented by Mrs Bridie of Glamis or Mr Jolly of Forfar.

There is also a definite influence from the 'auld alliance' between Scotland and France, with many dishes such as collops, lamb gigot and haricot displaying their Gallic roots, and some recipes being spiced up by a good glug of Beaujolais, a popular import through Leith Docks.

Vernet said: "Some recipes are linked to local tradition, some to the seasons as different diets - grass, flowers, turnips, hay, heather - bring their own subtle flavours to the meat.

"Scotland's rich gene pool, its many world renowned breeds of sheep and

cattle, all carry their own distinctive tastes. Now we've revived some of Scotland's classic recipes, adding a modern touch where ingredients are no longer available."

All the recipes are available from Scotch Butchers Club members, or from the Scotch Beef and Lamb website

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