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Saut Herrin an Tatties

The major Scottish poet of the 20th Century Hugh MacDiarmid is the subject of an exhibition from the archives of Duncan Glen and Akros Publications in the University of St Andrews Library until 31 October. The Scots Independent is featured as part of the exhibition. From the exhibition catalogue :-

Displayed : upper part of the centre pages of The Scots Independent, 7th August 1992, that features MacDiarmid and prints; part of one of the Langholm photographs taken of the youthful MacDiarmid by Eddie Armstrong; one of the portrait drawings by Leonard Penrice; an extract from MacDiarmid's poem 'Direadh'; a reprint of an article 'What's Wrong with Scottish P.E.N.?', contributed by MacDiarmid to The Scots Independent, July 1946; a reprint of the entry on MacDiarmid in Chambers' Biographical Dictionary; an article 'Hugh MacDiarmid and Scottish Nationalism' by Gordon Campbell; and a review of Glen's 'Hugh MacDiarmid; Out of Langholm and into the World' by Peter Wright.
Langholm, born and bred, ( 11 August 1892 ), Christopher Murray Grieve wrote under the pen-name Hugh MacDiarmid and his masterpiece in Scots 'The Drunk Man Looks At The Thistle' was published in the same month and year as the Scots Independent was launched - November 1926. MacDiarmid was a founder member of The National Party of Scotland in 1928 and an early contributor to the Scots Independent. Although he lived most of his life outwith Langholm, he never forgot his cauf kintra, and returned regularly for the town's July Common Riding which he immortalised in 'The Drunk Man' -
        "Drums in the Walligate, pipes in the air,
         Come and hear the cryin' o' the Fair.
         A' as it used to be, when I was a loon
         On Common-Ridin' Day in the Muckle Toon.
         The bearer twirls the Bannock-and-Saut-Herrin',
         The Croon o' Roses through the lift is farin'.
         The aucht-fit thistle wallops on hie;
         In heather besoms a' the hills gang by."
Saut Herrin an Tatties ( salt herring and potatoes ) would have been part of the young CMG's diet, in common with much of Scotland. Prior to the First World War, Scotland was a major exporter of herrings to Russia.
Saut Herrin an Tatties
Ingredients : salt herring; potatoes ( unpeeled )
Remove the heads from the herring. Wash the herring and leave in cold water for at least one hour. Scrub the potatoes and put them into a large saucepan. Cover with plenty water ( unsalted ) and bring to the boil. When boiling put in the herring. Remove the fish when cooked ( about fifteen to twenty minutes according to size ) and keep hot until the potatoes have finished cooking. Serve with plenty of fresh butter. garnish with parsley.

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