The Scots Kitchen

 
Traditional foods for  holidays and every day.  See what's inside the Scottish Country Dance "Cookbook" and perhaps make or "dance" one of these recipes today!

Selected Dances

(click for more holiday folklore and background information)

Helen's Shortbread

Helen's Shortbread

Shortbread Day

Shortbread originated in Scotland, with the first printed recipe appearing in 1736, from a Scotswoman named Mrs. McLintock. Shortbread was so popular, early Scottish bakers fought to prevent shortbread from being classified as a biscuit to avoid paying a government biscuit tax! Do you have a family or favourite shortbread recipe with just the right proportions of butter, sugar, and flour (and maybe some salt to enhance the flavour)? Or maybe you fancy the occasional addition of chai, rosemary, lemon, or chocolate - flavours compatible with a sweet biscuit. Some recent shortbread trends may not be for everyone. One trendy addition is adding the flavour of Katsuobushi, a smoked, aged and dried skipjack tuna, which gives an unusual umami character! Hmmm ... you have to draw a line in the flour somewhere. Although we have not found the namesake recipe referenced by the dance, included are traditional regional variations such as: Pitcaithly Bannock (almonds, caraway seeds, crystallized orange) and Yetholm Bannock (chopped ginger)! 🧈

The Foula Reel

The Foula Reel

Bird Day

The island of Foula, part of the Shetland archipelago of islands, is one of the United Kingdom’s most remote permanently inhabited islands and named from the Old Norse Fugla-ey, meaning "Bird island." Seabirds and moorland birds, including 'Bonxies' – the Shetland dialect name for the Great Skua – as well as Puffins, Kittiwakes, Guillemots, Arctic terns, red-throated divers, Fulmars, amongst others, inhabit the sandstone cliffs and open moorland. Foula remained on the Julian calendar when the rest of the Kingdom of Great Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, keeping 1800 as a leap year, but not observing leap year in 1900. As a result, Foula is now one day ahead of the Julian calendar and 12 days behind the Gregorian, observing Christmas Day on the 6th of January and New Year's Day on the 13th! The traditional fishing grounds for fishermen from the isle of Papa Stour (lying roughly a mile off the west coast of Shetland) lay way off into the Atlantic. The fishermen would row west to the point where the cliffs of Foula would disappear into the horizon . This was "Rowing Foula down." 🦅 🦆 🐦

Sandy's Scotch Broth

Sandy's Scotch Broth

Homemade Soup Day

A traditional farmhouse soup, Scotch Broth gained extra notoriety in the early phases of the Pop Art movement though American artist Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup can series. Scotch Broth is featured in the second portfolio of soup can prints from 1968-69. He rendered each label by hand, including all the lettering, aiming to mimic the everyday commercial item as closely as possible! Lamb, barley, and root vegetables .... ‘Mmm, mmm, good!’ 🍲

Haggis Hunters

Haggis Hunters

Haggis Hunting Season

It's Open Season for all Haggis Hunters! Whether you are an old hand at trapping this wily beast or this is your first attempt, remember that you have until Burns Night, January 25th to bag your haggis. Also note that although it is legal to catch and eat most types of haggis including the Hebridean Haggis and the Lewis Haggis, the "Shaggy Lowlands Haggis" and the "Urban Striped Haggis" are protected by law. If your sympathies lie with the poor beasties or if your diet requires a meatless option, there are now vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options for a mock-haggis! Also, for Californians, a recent law was passed now making it legal to eat road-kill haggis. What's your fancy?

Petticoat Tails

Petticoat Tails

Shortbread Day

Shortbread was an expensive luxury in times past and for ordinary people, usually reserved for special occasions such as weddings, Christmas and New Year celebrations. In Shetland it was traditional to break a decorated shortbread cake over the head of a new bride on the threshold of her new home! Although shortbread fingers and petticoat tails are the most common baking shapes, Walker's Shortbread, one of the most easily recognizable brands, sometimes creates special edition shapes, such as camels!

The Haggis Thrash

The Haggis Thrash

Burns Night

Suet, spices, onions, oatmeal and a sheep's pluck - heart, liver and lights - boiled in a sheep's stomach, the haggis is a dish whose origins have been hotly disputed by food historians over the last decade. Regardless, this humble food is distinctly and de facto Scottish, no less for the regional ingredients than for the general reverence and good humour associated with this humblest of peasant foods. Similar but less celebrated variations include the Pölsa (Sweden), Hakkemat (Norway), Niania (Russia), and Chireta (Aragon).

Atholl Brose

Atholl Brose

Liqueur Day

The brew is first recorded in 1475 during the campaign of the Earl of Atholl to capture Iain MacDonald, Lord of the Isles who was leading a rebellion against the king. Hearing that MacDonald drank from a small well, the Earl ordered it to be filled with honey, whisky and oatmeal. Allegedly, MacDonald stayed sampling the delicious concoction and was captured!

Archie's Clootie Dumpling

Archie's Clootie Dumpling

Figgy & Plum Pudding Day

A "Clootie/Cloutie Dumpling" is the Scottish version of a Christmas pudding. Firstly and most importantly, it is a pudding boiled in a "clout," a cloth. The tradition comes from the days before people had ovens and so cooked much of their food by boiling ingredients in huge pots. Although flour, suet, dried fruit and spices always feature, regional variations, like the addition of treacle, feature in Fife and other areas. And like all traditional puddings, clootie dumplings come with their own set of traditions. When it's being made everyone in the household should give it a good skelp – or smack – to make sure it has a nice round shape! Serve with custard. 🎄 🥮

Shortbread Fingers

Shortbread Fingers

Shortbread Day

Regardless of shape, some traditional Scottish variations on shortbread are Pitcaithly Bannock (made with almonds, caraway seeds, crystallized orange) and Yetholm Bannock (which includes chopped ginger)!

Bannocks and Brose

Bannocks and Brose

Pancake Day

Shrove Tuesday (known in some countries as Pancake Day or Pancake Tuesday) and in Scotland as Bannock Night, is a moveable feast day in February or March preceding Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent), which is celebrated in some countries by consuming pancakes!

Hielan Brochan

Hielan Brochan

World Porridge Day

Legend has it that when Samuel Johnson boasted to his friend James Boswell that in England “we wouldn’t think of eating oats. We only feed them to horses,” Boswell retorted “Well, maybe that’s why in England you have better horses, and in Scotland we have better men.”

Mrs. Lambert's Black Bun

Mrs. Lambert's Black Bun

Hogmanay

Originally enjoyed on Christmas and Twelfth Night, Black Bun is now consumed year round, but most traditionally on Hogmanay Night. The great Scottish folklorist F. Marian McNeill writes: “Black bun is the old Scottish Twelfth Night Cake which was transferred to Hogmanay after the banning of Christmas and its subsidiary festival, Uphalieday, or Twelfth Night, by the Reformers.” So, enjoy your fierce raisin devils and gay currant sprites with impunity - recipe included!

Traditional Sweets & Puddings & Porridges Index of Dances

(click for dance description or cribs)

Traditional Savouries & Sides Index of Dances

(click for dance description or cribs)

Chieftain of the Pudding Race Index of Dances

(click for dance description or cribs)

Jan    Feb    Mar    Apr    May    Jun    Jul    Aug    Sep    Oct    Nov    Dec

The majority of dance descriptions referenced on this site have been taken from the

 

Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary or the

Scottish Country Dancing Database 

 

Snapshots of dance descriptions are provided as an overview only.  As updates may have occurred, please click the dance description to be forwarded to a printable dance description or one of the official reference sources.

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