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Scotch Broth

Heartiest congratulations to Skip Rhona Martin and her Curling team - Margaret Morton, Janice Rankin, Fiona MacDonald and Debbie Knox - not only for winning Gold for Sotland in the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics but for reminding everyone that 'The Roaring Game' is yet another sport Scotland has given to the world. Curling started in Scotland in the 16th century, at least, and the earliest stone dating back to 1511 is held in Stirling at the Smith Institute. The outdoor game was obviously well established by the 17th century as Dr Alex Penecuik ( 1652 - 1722 ) wrote - ' To curle on ice, does greatly please' and our National Bard, Robert Burns, as a farmer probably played the game, and certainly wrote knowledgeably about in his poem ' Tam Samson's Elegy'. Since the first indoor game took place in Glasgow in 1907 the outdoor game is now very infrequently played apart from 'The Bonspiel' or 'Grand Match' traditionally played on the Lake of Monteith in Perthshire. But this only takes place in extremely severe winters as the ice, for safety reasons, has to be 10 inches thick. The Bonspiel has only been held 33 times in the last 150 years. The last Bonspiel on 7 February 1979 attracted upwards of 10,000 players and supporters for the traditional contest between teams from the North and South of Scotland.

 
Scotland not only invented the game, wrote the rules, gave the game to the world but also makes the best curling stones. The Gold Olympic success should greatly increase interest in the game which in turn should benefit the Scottish manufacturer of curling stones. Nearly all the curling stones in the world are made from Scottish granite from Ailsa Craig - also known as Paddy's Milestone - the famous rocky outcrop off the Ayrshire coast.
 
Curling began as a social event, with plenty drams to keep out the cold, and it is still a social sport - the Scottish Gold winning team all play for fun not for money. But indoors, or outdoors, the game is still played in the cold! Our recipe this week - Scotch broth - is the splendid answer to the chill of the Curling Rink.
 
Scotch Broth
 
Ingredients : 1 lb neck of mutton ( or lamb ) or boiling beef; 2 1/2 pints water; 1 small swede, chopped; 1 leek, chopped; 2 medium carrots, chopped; 1 onion, chopped; 2 oz pearl barley; chopped parsley to garnish
 
Place the meat in a saucepan with the water. Add the pearl barley. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for one hour. Skim off any white scum. Add the chopped vegetables, cover, bring back to the boil and simmer for another one hour. Before serving remove the meat and bones, and discard bones. The meat can be returned to the broth or eaten separately, if preferred. Bring back to the boil and serve, garnished with chopped parsley.

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