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The Scots Week-End
Bottle and Wallet

O! braw times for the guts!
Dugald Graham

Leeze me on drink!

"THE diet of the Scots", wrote John Chamberlayne in the eighteenth century, "is agreeable to their estates and qualities. No people eat better, or have greater varieties of flesh, fish, wild and tame fowl, than the Scots nobility and gentry in their own country, where they can furnish their tables with ten dishes cheaper than the English can provide three of the same kinds; and of their wines, the French themselves did not before the Union drink better, and at very easy rates. The tradesmen, farmers and common people are not excessive devourers of flesh, as men of the same rank are in England. Milk-meats and oatmeal, several ways prepared, and kale and roots dressed in several manners, is the constant diet of the poor people (for roast-meat is seldom had but on gaudy-days); and with this kind of food they enjoy a better state of health than their more southern neighbours, who fare higher".

Some of this pleasant picture of Scots food and drink is out of date. We may, however, draw attention to the fact that to-day the best roast beef in England, the sweetest mutton, the finest as well as the cheapest sorts of fish, and most of the game that's worth while -not to speak of the highest grades of oatmeal and of strawberries-come from north of the Tweed. Sometimes, as with lobsters, the native products do not reach our tables except via the London markets. Perhaps this is one reason among many for the sad declension in Scotland to that low form of feeding known as the high tea. Where at one time in a simple household you would sit down to a dish of cock-a-leekie broth, a hot partan pie, or a juicy mutton one (and even now there are no mutton pies to compare with those of Scotland), with a glass of wine, ale or whisky, to-day you are as often as not presented with a bewildering choice, all on the board at once, of breads, scones, cakes, cheese, potted-head and pickles, and asked to help yourself to all in turn, while you are expected to wash the barbarous medley down with gobs of tea. If we no longer enjoy a better state of health than our more southern neighbours, this is, no doubt, accountable for it. Our palates are rather French (or anyhow, European) than Yorkshire, and our own native ways of preparing our native products for gustation are decidedly not English. Some, such as the milk-meats and oatmeal dishes mentioned by Chamberlayne, are manly as Cossack cookery. Others show a delicate discrimination (proved long ago by our discovery of braxy mutton) which presupposes the true culinary instinct. Better any day a single dish of well-prepared high mutton, high venison or high grouse than a multiple high tea.

Here it will be enough to note some of our most characteristic foods and the dishes made from them, first in the form of broths, then proceeding naturally through vegetables, fish and shell-fish, game, meat dishes, cheese and egg dishes, to scones, oatcakes, shortbread, butter-scotch and Edinburgh rock. There was a Scottish saying, quoted by Burt, that "if you would live well on the Sabbath, you must eat an episcopal dinner and a presbyterian supper". We may take it that the first was composed mainly of strong meats and fishes, the second of farinaceous and milk foods. So all tastes will be served. And if some feeders are so abandoned as to mix the two, their stomachs must be upon their own heads.

N.B. - For the traveller with a short purse, a couple of mutton pies bought in any shop is a good way out of a meal. A tablespoonful of water should always be added to each pie before heating it in the oven. This makes gravy. Mutton pies should be eaten hot.


Like the Russians, we believe in the kailyard school for our broth, and if everybody in Scotland were to stick to the old custom, still preserved among French peasants and bourgeois and Russian workers, of relishing every day a pint of liquid containing the innumerable salts of the commonest green-stuff, Scotland would be the better for it.


This old cottage recipe requires half an ox head or a cow heel, a cabbage or a head of greens of any sort, a teacupful of oatmeal, and salted water.

Cover the meat in a large saucepan with three quarts of salted water. Boil till the fat floats on the top. Add the green-stuff, having first well washed it and cut it up small. Toast the oatmeal with a little salt in it, press it into a bowl, add a teacupful of the boiling fat liquor from the pot, and stir. It will form knots, which is what you want, or ought, in this case, to want. Put it into the broth, stir for a moment or two, removing, if you like, superfluous fat from the surface. Serve, with or without the meat, according to appetite. If you have been up Schiehallion beforehand you will want the ox head. If not it will serve as the basis of a barley broth for next day.


This is an excellent specific for those who have been driven back from attempting Glencoe by the famous "hunger-bunk" which haunts that pass for foot passengers. It demands a sheep's head, as large, as young and as fat as possible, and a sheep's trotters, all of which the blacksmith will singe for you the day before without charging you anything, as they must be soaked overnight. Before soaking get somebody else -perhaps the blacksmith's wife-to scrape and brush these members and to remove the glassy part of the eyes. She may also consent to split the head with a cleaver, lay the brains aside, clean the gristly parts, slit the trotters and take out the tendons. Every good Scotswoman knows how to do such necessary things. Thus prepared you have only to wash every bit once more and put them in water before earning a night's repose.

First thing in the morning pour off the water and put the solids with rather more than a gallon of fresh water in a lordly pot, adding from two to three pounds of scrag or trimmings of sweet fresh mutton, a cupful of barley, two cupfuls of fresh green or soaked white peas and some salt. Take off the scum as it rises, and when it has boiled more than an hour add some sliced carrots and turnips and onions. Continue the boiling while you are challenging Glencoe, having left instructions that after three hours or so it is to be allowed merely to simmer. A ram's head ought to boil longer than a wether's, and the older the sheep (the blacksmith will have told you its age if the butcher was reticent) the longer must it both boil and simmer. Before serving add a generous heap of chopped parsley. Glencoe and all, you will eat no more that night. But you may safely sit and drink.


For this you want the kitchen garden at its best and some neck of lamb or mutton. You may either make the stock the day before, removing the meat before you make the broth, or you can cut up the meat and serve all together. Either way, success depends upon long, slow and gentle cooking.

Three pounds of meat go to two and a half quarts of water. When the liquor is strong enough (i.e. after an hour and a half of boiling) add every kind of vegetable you like and can get, cutting them up first and putting in the most easily softened ones later than the harder roots. Be generous with your onions. Some people like the inclusion of a sprig of mint. The proportion of vegetables is as much a matter of taste as the kinds are of convenience. If the main body of meat has been taken out of the stock, small pieces of beef and/or mutton, cut up as for a pie, ought to be added. A shake of white pepper is allowed last thing before serving, when the broth should be thick and creamy. Three hours is not too long for the cooking of the vegetables and the added meat. Before adding the vegetables the stock should be well skimmed and any added meat should be lean.


This asks for a fowl if you can afford it. If not, some beef or veal stock will serve, but it must be good and strong. If you are really rich, or awfully greedy, you will put the trussed bird into the meat stock. Whatever you do in this respect you will need from six to a dozen leeks, one dozen prunes and some Jamaica pepper. If the leeks are big winter ones you should discard the coarsest of the green parts. Also you may choose between cutting up the leeks finely or putting them through a sieve when soft. Everything, except the prunes, put in together with some salt in the water, must first come to the boil and then simmer by the side of the fire for four hours at least, with occasional skimmings. Half an hour before serving, take out the fowl, and cut up and return the flesh. At the same time add the pepper and prunes. Or the prunes may be cooked separately and handed round on a dish by themselves, to be incorporated with the soup or not as your guests see fit. You can judge of your guests' characters by their behaviour when confronted with the prunes. If they refuse or grimace, they are not worth cooking for, anyhow not cooking cock-a-leekie for (sometimes spelled cockie-leekie). If the maker of the broth has been considering one of her guests as a possible husband, this prune test is well-nigh infallible. If he rejoices in the prunes he will be an appreciative husband. If he turns away from them he will be an easy one to feed, and married felicity on tins, with an occasional chop, may be embarked upon with confidence.


There are many ways of making barley or "Scotch" broth, and all of them are good. One may start off with stock, made from a sheep's head, a fowl, shin of beef or scrag or neck of lamb. Or one may start cooking the harder vegetables with any of these and take the meat out before serving the broth. In the good old days the meat so treated did for the servants' dinner. Now it is good enough for ours as a second course or next day. The barley ought to be Scotch, as this is better and more glutinous than English pearl barley. The vegetables are carrots, turnips (more of the former than the latter), celery, onions, a little chopped greens if wanted, and some chopped parsley before serving. There are two ways of dealing with the onions. They can either be cut up and fried in butter till golden before pouring on the stock or adding the water and meat, or they can be added whole with the other vegetables, when they should be removed still whole before the stuff is served. Half a cupful of the barley is enough for five people. If the stock is first made, the vegetables should boil for three hours; if meat and vegetables are put in together, it will want two hours longer. Do not season till near the end, then add some cream or the yolk of an egg and stir, but do not let it boil again. Some people leave a turnip in whole, remove it when soft, mash it and put it back. Much time and trouble will be saved when making this or any of the other vegetable broths, if the vegetables are only roughly sliced to start with. Then, when they are soft, if the broth is poured through a colander, the vegetables can be easily and quickly cut up small while still in the colander by using two knives, one in each hand and working with them crosswise. A lump of sugar and another of butter should be added to all the barley broths, the sugar at the beginning, the butter at the end.

Grouse, pheasant, partridge, hare and rabbit soups are all better in Scotland than elsewhere. But those who want hare or rabbit soup usually know how to make it, and those who can come by the game birds have usually come also by some attendant who can dress them for the tureen. The bird soups are improved, if thick, by a final addition of cream; if thin, by a glassful of sherry or red wine; a bouquet of herbs is absolutely necessary. Brown bread crumbs cast upon the soup at the last are correct, but some people prefer sago, as brown bread may make the liquid curdle. The sago must be added an hour before serving, and must be carefully stirred. Unlike oatmeal, it has no virtue in its knots.

Fish and Shell-fish Soups

These are among the best and the most characteristic that Scotland has to offer, and as they are rarely to be met with elsewhere in the British Isles outside of the most expensive restaurants for French fare, half a dozen sorts are included here.


Cullen Skink is a cottage recipe from the shores of the Moray Firth.

Skin a Findon haddock (the same as a "Finnan haddie") and just cover it with boiling, unsalted water in a pan. When it is well boiling add a chopped onion, and when the fish is cooked, which will be in a very few minutes, take it out and remove all the bones. Put the bones back in the stock, adding some water, and boil for an hour. Strain, throw away the bones and bring again to the boil. Add a pint of boiling milk, the flaked fish, and salt if necessary. When this has boiled for a few minutes thicken with mashed, cooked potatoes, and add a tablespoonful of butter and a good dollop of coarse black pepper. You will notice that this soup is quickly made.


This is made from any kind, or several kinds together, of white sea-fish, so it suggests itself when you have come home with a mixed catch. Make a stock with the heads, tails and bones, throwing in any small fish whole, but skinned. Keep the flesh of the better ones for fillets to add later. With the stock boil some green onions, parsley, chives and whole pepper for an hour. When strained, thicken with butter kneaded in browned flour or with cornflour and butter; add the fillets and cook them. Flavour with catsup or anchovy, and chopped parsley, and before serving add a little cream. It may well be served with heaped-up boiled rice.

The best fresh haddock soup is made with a stock taken from skate and ling, which give their flavour, while none but the haddock fillets appear at table. Beef stock instead of fish stock makes a change.


A partan is strictly a crab, but may be a lobster. Pick the flesh from two cooked crabs or lobsters, keeping aside the parts from the claws. Boil five or six ounces of rice in slightly salted milk till soft, but not mushy, and pass with the crab meat through a hair sieve. Stir till perfectly smooth with a wooden spoon, and add, gradually, as much white, unseasoned stock as you will need for your company, taking care that the result is thinner than a puree. Season with salt, white pepper and anchovy. Re-heat and add the claw-meat, but do not boil. Pour into a tureen that has some cream in it.


Scrape well the shells and wash in several waters, leaving under the tap in a colander till the water runs clear. Then steep for two hours. When drained out put them in a closely covered iron saucepan and shake over the fire till the shells open. Remove at once, strain the liquor off into a basin, and take the mussels out of the shells, throwing away the beards and black parts. Put on the liquor to boil with milk and water or stock made from uncooked fish bones or fresh fish. When this boils, add the mussels and go on boiling, but not for longer than ten minutes. Toast a handful or so of oatmeal and mix with it some of the boiling bree, as with Kail Brose, put the knotted oatmeal into the soup, and when well heated through serve very hot.


They never dare make this with fresh salmon in England and it is not so good with tinned. But if you have fishing or poaching friends you may eat of it in Scotland. Prepare a stock with the head, bones, fins and skin of a salmon, the bones of one or two fresh whiting (the whiting makes all the difference) and a few root vegetables, boiling all for half an hour. Strain and remove all the fat and oil. Thicken with a little potato flour or mashed, cooked potato. Add chopped parsley, some scallops of the uncooked salmon and some brown bread crumbs. As soon as the salmon is cooked the soup is ready. This is provided in heaven for good Scots.


Scotland is full of winkles which are easily gathered at low tide. They can be cooked in a pot of fresh water on the beach and eaten in the English manner with a pin, or-far better-they can be made into soup with the addition of fish stock or milk and water, and oatmeal, much in the same way as the cockles or mussels. But they still have to be extracted with a pin, and the water they are first boiled in needs careful straining before it is added to the other stock as it is apt to be sandy. Be sure not to add any salt to either stock or water. In winkle soup the oatmeal should not be knotted, but rained smoothly and steadily, a little at a time from the left hand into the boiling stock, while stirring continuously with a wooden spoon in the right hand. The object is to get the consistency of a thin gruel, which is then cooked for about twenty minutes before the cooked winkles are added, after which you allow it to go ahead for ten minutes longer before you eat it.


In the Hebrides, where the long shell-fish called razor-fish is common, they use it for soup, either alone, chopped up small, or mixed with any other kinds of shell-fish there may be. The same recipe is followed, except that more milk is needed, together with a good dollop of butter and extra pepper, and the thickening is often done with cornflour instead of with oatmeal, this being mixed in smoothly. When shellfish is scarce, or people are poor, the first washings of the naked shell-fish are re-strained and used in the stock, as much of the delicacy of flavour is lost in freeing them from sand. But if you do not want the sand along with the delicacy of flavour the straining has to be done several times through a fine mesh.



Colcannan is a Highland dish made from two or three good red carrots, eight or ten potatoes, and two turnips, all well boiled. When cooked, chop the cabbage finely and mash the other vegetables. Melt a big lump of butter in a stew-pan, put in the vegetables and mix thoroughly. Season with salt, pepper and a head of mignonette (if you can get any). Add a tablespoonful of brown sauce before serving as hot as may be.


Kailkenny comes from Aberdeen and therefore is economical, especially if you have a cow that gives cream. Mash equal quantities of boiled cabbage and potatoes (observe that you may thus use up yesterday's leavings). Stir in a cupful of cream, season with pepper, salt and chopped parsley; mash and mix well and serve hot.


This is an Orcadian variant of the same dish, omitting the cream, using mashed turnips instead of the cabbage, and brightening the whole with chopped chives, a piece of dripping and a suspicion more of pepper and salt. It is served just as hot or hotter than Colcannan.


Rumbledethumps, or, as Christopher North called it, "decent rumbledethumps", is the same as Colcannan, but it comes from the Borders and does without the cream or dripping, substituting an extra beating, as you mix in layers the potatoes and cabbage, with a beetle, or wooden potato pestle, and allowing an extra allowance of common black pepper. You cannot, however, do without the butter to help things out, even in the Borders.


Stovies are potatoes of the best quality cooked in a pot with just enough water to cover the bottom. We always add onions ourselves, but some people prefer the potatoes alone. Salt is sprinkled on them and dabs of butter, and they are closely covered and very gently simmered till all is soft and melted. Milk added, as the water is absorbed, is a great help to this delicious and filling dish. But butter is always better for Stovies than dripping. Some wise women begin by frying the onions gently in the butter before adding the potatoes and water. Others put scraps of left-over meat with the vegetables when these are half cooked. This is less wise, but more economical.


In spite of their name these can be prepared anywhere in Scotland. Beat to a cream an ounce of butter; add the yolk of an egg and go on beating, then mix in three ounces of bread crumbs, a pinch of powdered sweet herbs, some chopped parsley, pepper and salt, and three-quarters of a gill of milk. Have seven unpeeled potatoes beheaded and hollowed out. Stuff them with the mixture; put their heads on again, bake in a quick oven and serve hot in a napkin. Grated cheese may be added instead of or with the bread crumbs.


Turnip Purry, or mashed turnip, is good by itself or with most meats. Pare off all the woody or stringy parts with the skins of some turnips or swedes. Boil them in unsalted water for an hour, or, if they are old, two hours. Drain, and mash well with a wooden spoon, passing them through a sieve if you have the energy. Put the mash back in the stew-pan and warm up with fresh butter, black and white pepper, and salt. Stir in some cream before serving. To be truly Scottish the turnips ought also to have the addition of a very little powdered ginger, and even less powdered sugar.

Wet and Dry Fish


How to Fry a Herring in the right way is not common knowledge out of Scotland. For one thing the herring has to be fresh. Herring not newly taken from the sea makes excellent manure. The newly taken fish, as good as a salmon in its way, should at once be cleaned and dried, sprinkled with pepper and salt, and tossed in the coarsest oatmeal till thickly coated on each side. Have dripping in a frying-pan smoking hot, put in the herrings and brown them on each side, allowing five minutes a side. Drain on paper, and serve with thin slices of lemon and sprigs of parlsey. To each two herrings allow an ounce of oatmeal and the same of dripping. If the bones bother you in the eating, bone, split and flatten each fish before treating it as above. Plain boiled herring have to be even fresher than those that are fried, and they must come straight out of Loch Fyne. These, boiled in their skins, have such a look of smooth well-being that they are known as "Glasgow Magistrates". But it is said that Glasgow magistrates no longer look as happy as a boiled, fresh Loch Fyne herring.


To Boil a Salmon is the best way of cooking it, though there are a dozen other ways that are a good secondbest. If possible the fish should be boiled whole, well covered with well salted spring water. It ought never to be skinned beforehand, and the cleaning and scaling must be done with the utmost circumspection so that there is no unnecessary cutting. Cooking should be gentle, and about ten minutes to the pound allowed, but this will vary according to each fish and its freshness. Scum should be removed during the cooking. The moment it is taken from the boiling water, and drained, it should lie on a napkin and be covered with several folds. The noble way to serve a fish that is nobly fresh (and accordingly, as Meg Dods has it, "crisp, curdy, and creamy"), is with no other sauce but a tureenful of the plain liquor in which it was boiled. When carving, help each person to a slice of the thick (from the shoulders and back) and a slice of the thin (from the side and the belly). Epicures know that the thin is the better. Salmon that is no longer quite fresh may profitably be boiled with some horse-radish and served with mustard sauce. When mere cuts are to be boiled the water should be warm to start with, and a squeeze of lemon will help to keep the flesh firm.

Smoking, Kippering and Pickling Salmon are mostly processes demanding time, space and practice, but there is one good and easy way of pickling, should you have more fish than you can use fresh, which will keep the precious stuff for you for a year.

Cut the fresh fish in pieces, boil, skin and bone them, and wrap them in a dry napkin till the next day. Then put them in a deep crock and pour on two quarts of the best vinegar which has been boiled along with one quart of the liquor the fish was cooked in, one ounce of whole black pepper, half an ounce of allspice, and four blades of mace. The spiced vinegar must be quite cold when poured on to the salmon. Cover the whole surface with olive oil and leave it. If you can deposit your crock one summer in a friend's house, the contents will make an admirable hors d'oeuvre for your next summer holiday in Scotland, provided always that your friend has been able to resist using it for breakfast or lunch meanwhile. We recommend this as a test of friendship.


If, whether by hand (guddling) or hook, you take any finger-length trout, try to cook them immediately by the side of the stream, by lighting a fire and laying them, cleaned and split, on hot flat stones. It is to be hoped that you have brought some butter with you. If not you must eat your trout without, and this would be a pity. They are sweet, but they soon go soft. If you take them home (and it is always hard to throw the smallest fish back) remember that they make excellent stock for the boiling or sautéing of their larger brothers. If not so very small they will be improved in flavour if slightly salted and left to lie overnight. Next day wipe them, sprinkle again with salt and a little pepper, dip in milk and roll in coarse oatmeal. Cook very quickly in smoking hot lard, browning them on both sides, and serve with lemon and butter. Another way is to split them on the under side (always leaving the skin on) and to egg and breadcrumb both sides before baking or frying. A truly large trout should be boiled slowly in a stock made from heads and fins, with some vegetables added, and served tout simple with nothing but brown bread and butter, a parsley garnishing, and some of the strained stock in a separate vessel. Cold potted trout, made by taking the flesh, while still warm, from the cooked fish, putting it in a buttered pie-dish, seasoned, and running melted butter over the whole, is good and useful.


Allowing for a few distinguishing features, and a few dishes which are Scotch more by name than by nature, the preparation of white fish for the table in Scotland is not so national as to call for a list of recipes here. On the other hand, we are "pre-eminent in the glory" of fish that is dried or otherwise preserved for the breakfast table, as was admitted by Thomas Love Peacock's Rev. Dr. Folliott, who, as you will remember, said that this was our single "eximious virtue", and that he was "content to learn nothing from us but the art and science of fish for breakfast".


To wind-blow is the easiest procedure for the amateur, who can hardly compete with trade methods in smoking, kippering or salting. It is also useful for the amateur deep-sea fisherman whose catch is apt to be mixed and to consist chiefly of small fishes, such as whiting, youthful haddocks, sillocks (immature saith), cuddies and so forth. If these are to be kept for one day with profit they should be cleaned and skinned as soon after catching as may be, and the eyes taken out. They are then covered with salt, shaken free of it without delay or wiping, and hung up in bunches (by threading a string through the eyeholes) in a current of air. This can be indoors or out, but must not be in the sun, conditions which Scotland generously provides. To cook, roll lightly in flour, broil gently over a slow fire and serve either dry or with a piece of fresh butter rubbed over each. Whiting, be it noted, should be hung up with the skin on and broiled without being rubbed with flour. Or it may be boiled or brandered and eaten with melted butter. This is a fish that needs careful handling if its full delicacy is to be tasted and its shape preserved.

The other way is to skin none of the kinds of fish, but to clean, wash in salt water, and hang up in the moving air where no sun will get them. They are left until quite hard and used as wanted, uncooked, as a relish with baps, barley bannocks or oatcakes.

The celebrated "rizzared haddock" should lie for twelve hours in the salt, which should be well rubbed along the sides of the bone of each split fish after cleaning. These are hung up in the wind in pairs by their tails. Good-sized haddock should be chosen for this, and the heads must be cut off. Proper large haddocks should be smoked (though the small ones, known as "smokies", are excellent too). For smoking allow them to lie all night in the salt, and when they have hung in the wind for a few hours, smoke them, over a peat or sawdust fire, hanging in the chimney. If your chimney is not suitable, set an old cask, open at both ends, over some burning peat or sawdust with a red-hot iron in the middle and sticks or metal rods across the top for the fish to hang from. Equable heat kept going for twelve hours will turn them to the required bright yellow colour. If you want to remove the skin before boiling or broiling, hold the fish to the fire so that the skin gets hot and then smack the fish sharply with the palm of the hand, when the skin can easily be pulled off. When boiling always have some milk in the water, and serve with lots of butter. Of all these varieties of dried and smoked fish, A. Soyer writes that they are "the most light, wholesome and delicious food that could possibly be served for breakfast". So now you know.


Cropadeu is a haddock's liver well seasoned, enclosed in a dumpling made from oatmeal and water, and boiled in a cloth. The liver dissolves succulently in the oatmeal paste.


Pick the meat out of the claws and body of a crab or lobster; clean the shell, and replace the meat, having seasoned it with salt, white pepper and nutmeg; add dabs of fresh butter and some bread crumbs, and half a glass of vinegar beat up and heated with a little made mustard. Brown under the grill. Salad oil can be used instead of butter and the vinegar can be omitted for those who dislike sharpness.


To gather limpets at low tide successfully, you must knock them off sharply with the first blow. They are
quick learners, and if you fail with your first blow they will resist your second. Luckily there are always heaps more uninstructed ones and they learn only by experience. When you have acquired two quarts, bring to the boil in water, remove them from the shells, and take out the eyes and the sandy trail. Take three times their quantity of peeled potatoes, and put layer about in a large pot, beginning with the potatoes and seasoning with pepper and a very little salt. Add two cupfuls of the liquor they were scalded in, and break up half a pound of butter over the top. Cover all with a cloth well rolled in round the edges, bring to the boil, and then simmer for at least an hour. If you remember to bring potatoes to the beach, have a three-legged pot, and can make a fire, there can be no better dish for a seaside picnic. Limpets are liverish if eaten in June. At other times they are not merely tasty, nourishing and easy to digest, but the liquor is prescribed for nursing mothers and for infants.

Seaweed Dishes

Seaweeds have the great advantage over fungi in that none of them are positively poisonous, so that if you are on the Scottish shore with nothing to eat about you and you don't like wilks or limpets, you may safely nibble a bit of seaweed and thus keep hunger at bay, or firth. But you will be thirsty. Our edible seaweeds include Carrageen or Sea-moss; Tangle or Redware (Eng. Sea-girdle); Henware or Honeyware (Eng. Bladderlock); Sloke (Eng. Laver); and Dulse. Sea-tangle and Dulse can be eaten raw, the latter being reckoned as both "loosning" and "very good for the sight". To cook Dulse, wash carefully and simmer in fresh water till tender. Strain, cut up small, heat through in a pan with butter, add pepper and salt, and offer it to those who really love you. They are the only people, yourself excepted, who are likely to eat it. Tell them that when thus prepared, especially if eaten with the juice, it is more "loosning" than when in its raw state. Another thing to do with it is to roll it on a stone with a red-hot poker till it turns green. It is then kept dry to eat as a relish with potatoes. Sloke, in 1703, "restored to his former state of health a young man who had lost his Appetite, and taken Pills to no purpose", and for all you know it may do the same to you if you are in the same way. If your trouble is rather lack of money than of health, "they say that if a little butter be added to it, one might live many years on this alone, without Bread, or any other Food, and at the same time, undergo any laborious exercise". It should be washed to remove the salt and sand, steeped for a few hours in cold water to which a little bicarbonate of soda has been added, and stewed in milk, with beating to make it tender. This is part of the laborious exercise connected with it. Juice and weed together form the dark green soup that is so good for you. Carrageen, after being washed, is allowed to bleach and dry on a cloth out of doors for some days and is then kept in bags in the kitchen. It is made into a jelly by adding a heaped tablespoonful to a quart of milk and simmering till the milk thickens, when it is strained and cooled. It can be flavoured with cinnamon or lemon, and is served with cream. It is good for chest troubles, containing, as it does, iodine and sulphur. By adding twice the quantity of milk or water it can be made into a drink.


Game shall here be confined to grouse and venison. But in passing we may remind you that pheasant and partridge should be well done, wild duck and solan goose rather underdone, and grouse not more than just done. Also grouse should be hung in its feathers for anything from three to ten days, according to its age, the weather, and your taste.


Youth in a grouse is indicated by rounded spurs, pointed wings, and soft down on the breast and under the wings. The younger the bird the less long must you hang it. Old grouse are not fit for cooking till the feathers pull easily from the "apron". When ready to cook, pluck carefully to avoid breaking the skin. When roasting "high" birds, put a piece of bread in the breast during the cooking and throw it away before serving. Never wash grouse, but wipe inside and out with a damp cloth after drawing. Young birds should be roasted, old ones braised or made into a pie.

To Roast. - Stuff with cranberries, red whortleberries, or butter into which pepper, salt and lemon juice have been worked. Wrap in rashers of fat bacon, cover with grease-proof paper, and put in a hot oven, lowering the heat almost at once. Baste often. They will take from twenty-five to thirty-five minutes, during which time you should pound up the livers with butter, salt and cayenne, and spread the paste on pieces of toast each large enough to hold a bird. Ten minutes before serving, unwrap the grouse; flour and brown them. The perfect roasted grouse should be neither dry nor wet, but it should glisten. No gravy should be served in the dish with it, and fried oatmeal makes a better accompaniment than bread crumbs. You may put what you please in the sauce-boat, but there ought to be a glass of rowan or cranberry jelly or of pickled peaches to hand round with it.

To Braise. - Having cleaned, trussed and seasoned, fry lightly in bacon fat till brown. Put in a stew-pan on a bed of sliced seasoned vegetables with a bouquet garni and enough water to cover the vegetables. (Use stock if you like, but it must not be highly flavoured.) Cover with buttered paper and a close lid and simmer gently for two hours or more. Strain the gravy from the vegetables and serve separately, thickened if necessary, with cornflour. Present your grouse at table on liver toast as if it were a young bird and with the same accompaniments. Somebody has to eat the old ones.


Somebody must eat venison too, as it is always getting killed and is little used for any other purposes. Hence chunks of it are often sent, regardless of postage, to poor relations, just to get rid of the stuff. Besides it always sounds all right. If really well cooked it really isn't so bad as when cooked otherwise. If an old buck, braise the chunk as you do grouse, but add two or three cloves and some prunes and a glass of port wine, simmer for three or four hours and do not try to pass it off as a young thing. You won't succeed.

To roast, cover it all over with a firm suet paste and greased paper, tie this up with tape, and cook in a fair oven from three to four hours. Undo it, season with salted and peppered flour, baste with melted butter and brown quickly. It will be greatly improved if some gravy (made from the stock of its trimmings or from mutton stock, to which you have added a teaspoonful of walnut catsup, a glass of port wine or a little lemon juice) is poured over it. Rowan or other sharp-flavoured jelly should be offered with it. Some people will eat more jelly than meat.

Or, of course, you may make a pasty, stewing pieces of venison (none of them measuring more than a couple of inches) in stock to which half a pint of port wine, a bouquet garni, and some allspice, pepper, mace, bayleaf and salt have been added, first having fried two or three chopped onions in the pan in half a pound of fresh butter. When the result has cooled, bake it in pastry, either in one dish or in separate turn-overs. We are not sure but that this classic manner is not the best, after all, for the disposal of the flesh of both red and roe deer. The skins make good bedside mats, and hard wearing gloves can also be furnished from them, but stag-killers seldom remember to send this part of the kill to those who could do with a bedside mat or a pair of hard-wearing gloves.

Scotch Collops

Except that oatmeal is often used instead of flour in stuffing, the cooking of most butcher meats in Scotland follows the known modes. Collops, however, whether of mutton or beef, are special to the country, or, at least, better than elsewhere. We make them thus.

Remove from 1lb. of raw beef or steak all the skin and gristle, and all but a little of the fat. If the mincing is done at home, return any juice that comes from the meat, as this should make the finished dish sufficiently moist without addition of water or stock. If bought already minced, have a couple of tablespoonfuls of pure gravy run from roast beef to add later, but do not use stock. Choose rather plain water if the beef gravy is not handy. Put the mince into a buttered stew-pan, and whilst cooking, beat well with a thick spoon or pestle, and stir, to prevent knots from forming. When the pink colour has disappeared, but not before, add salt, pepper and a whole peeled raw onion. Put the lid on, draw to side of the fire, or turn the gas very low, and allow to simmer without boiling for twenty to thirty minutes, stirring now and then. Or it may be cooked in a covered stone jar in the oven. At the end of the half-hour, add a small handful of bread-crumbs oatmeal or barley, and some people will like a flavouring of mushroom catsup. When the whole has cooked for five minutes longer, serve surrounded by mashed potatoes or garnish with triangles of toast and slices of hard-boiled egg. Hare, venison, veal or mutton can be used the same way, but these should be further flavoured with a teaspoonful of fines herbes. The onion should always be taken out before the meat is served.

Haggis, White Puddings and Black Puddings

These are so finicky to make and so easy and good to buy in Scotland, that we shall leave the stout spirits who insist upon making them at home to consult cookery books or the blacksmith's wife. Enough to say here that if you want to eat a white pudding at its best, give it a few minutes in the oven or under the grill after boiling. And use up what is left over by frying it in slices next morning along with the breakfast bacon. White puddings, or "mealies", as they are called, are served at their best with beef collops, minced carrots and onions and mashed potatoes.

Cheese and Egg Dishes

Scots Rabbit, Scots Woodcock and Scots Eggs have all attained to international fame.


The Rabbit is best made from the distinctive Scottish, Dunlop or Gouda cheeses, although you can fall back at second best on a good Cheshire or mellow Stilton. Remove the crust from a slice of bread about half-an-inch thick. Toast lightly on both sides and butter on one. Grate your cheese, putting a little butter with it if it is not fat, and cook in a cheese toaster with a glassful of strong brown-stout porter (or beer) a teaspoonful of made mustard and some finely ground pepper. Stir till all is mixed and soft, spread on the toast, and brown under the grill before serving.


For the Woodcock spread thinner pieces of buttered toast with anchovy paste and keep them hot. Melt two tablespoonfuls of butter in a saucepan, put in three tablespoonfuls of cream and the raw yolks of three eggs, and stir together over the fire till the mixture is creamy. Do not boil. Add at the last a dash of cayenne and a little chopped parsley. Heap on the toast and serve piping hot.


Scots Eggs are first boiled hard, then peeled and dipped in raw beaten egg and coated with a forcemeat of chopped ham, anchovy, bread crumbs and mixed spices that has been well beaten. Fry in deep clarified fat and serve with a gravy sauce in a separate dish.


Cottage Cheese Eggs, in addition is a handy dish to serve when you are in a hurry and have some dry scraps of cheese (mixed sorts can all be put together) to use up. Slice thinly but do not grate the cheese, put it in a saucepan with a very little butter and enough water to moisten while it melts, add a shake of red pepper and a little Worcester sauce. Let the cheese stew very gently, adding, if you like, a tablespoonful of beer. When quite soft and liquid break in a fresh egg for each person and stir vigorously as for buttered eggs till the eggs are incorporated and lightly cooked. Serve piled on slices of buttered toast.

Meal and Milk Meats

Of these Porridge is the prince. Unhappily visitors have been known to visit Scotland in search of porridge, and to return having found nothing but varieties of patent oats. This is to be regretted by the Scotch, if not necessarily by the visitor, who, perhaps upon tasting the true stuff, would have found it an overrated dish. Porridge, however, is well worth trying once, and some people like it so much that they will go on with it.


There is only one right way of making Porridge. Use a handful of best Midlothian oatmeal, a breakfastcupful of spring water and a small saltspoonful of salt for each person. Bring the water to the boil. The moment it boils let the meal fall into it in a steady rain from one hand while you stir with the other. Go on stirring till all is smooth, then simmer gently with the lid on for about half an hour. Do not add the salt until the meal has been cooking for ten minutes. Ladle straight into separate bowls and serve with separate mugs of cold milk or cream, into which each spoonful of the hot porridge is dipped on its way to the mouth. Sugar and hot milk are alike abominations, but butter, or even syrup is permitted in some all-Scotch homes.

Before leaving oatmeal it may be noted that coarse oatmeal which has been soaked in water with a little salt overnight, makes, uncooked, a breakfast cereal as good as any done up in cardboard, if the water is drained off and a little cream or a good cupful of milk served with it. Also a refreshing and stimulating drink for a hot day is made by pouring a tumblerful of water on a tablespoonful of oatmeal, stirring it, leaving it to settle, and drinking the water. (See Travelling).


Oatmeal Brose is a quickly made form of porridge that needs no cooking. Put into a bowl two handfuls of the coarsest oatmeal and press it down firmly. Add salt and a good nut of butter. Pour in boiling water, enough to cover the meal, and stir it up roughly with the shank of a spoon (preferably a horn one) or a wooden spurtle, allowing it to form knots. It should be supped with butter-milk, but cream or milk can be used instead.


The traditional Crowdie or Furag, which was the universal breakfast dish when Scotland stood where it did, was made by pouring cold spring water or fresh butter-milk into finely ground oatmeal, stirring all the time and making the meal as thin as a pancake batter. Then you ate it, usually standing up as there was work to be done immediately afterwards.

Crowdie Mowdie is prepared the night before by putting into a jar a handful of oatmeal, a saltspoonful of salt and a breakfast-cupful of milk for each person, stirring well and covering. In the morning the jar is put into hot water and steamed for two hours or longer. It is, in fact, a sort of milk porridge.

Butter-Crowdie is made with coarse oatmeal (toasted), salt or sugar to taste, and butter fresh from the churn well beaten into the meal. Cream-Crowdie, a festival dish, is the same, but made with whipped cream instead of the butter. It should be frothy and light and will taste of nuts.

Highland Crowdie is a delicious form of curdled milk. To two parts of ordinary curds (Anglice junket) made by adding a tablespoonful of rennet to warmed new milk and then letting it stand till cold, add one part of fresh butter. Work them well together, adding salt, and press into a basin. Turn out next day, when it will cut in slices like a cream cheese. Take care that you strain off all the green whey from the milk curds before you add the butter. The whey by itself is good as a summer drink, but must be taken while fresh.


Warm slightly two quarts of fresh buttermilk, and add to it one pint of milk fresh from the cow. (If the fresh milk is already cool, the buttermilk must be warmed the more.) Mix well and leave all day. In the evening add another pint of new milk and mix again. It should now be firm and gather a "hat". Remove this firm top drain it in a hair sieve, and put it in a mould for half an hour. Turn out, strew with sugar and powdered nutmeg or cinnamon, and serve with thick cream. Hattit Kit is supposed to be made in the course of two milkings after a butter-making, each lot of new milk being milked straight into the vessel from the cow.


There is a culinary controversy as to whether the Glasgow or the Edinburgh suburb, then villages, invented this milk dish, but as the two recipes vary slightly, we give both without deciding to which belongs the credit of precedence. For Ru'glen Cream put some sour milk into an earthenware jar or jug, stand it in a pan of boiling water, and leave it till the milk thickens and separates from the whey. Strain through a sieve or muslin so as to remove the whey. Beat the sour milk with a wooden spoon till the particles are well broken up, and add some double cream and sugar to taste. For Corstorphine Cream stand new milk in a jar in a warm place till it goes into a natural curd. To a quart of this add a pint of new milk, mixing well and leave for a whole day or night, after which add another pint of new milk, mixing again. After another twelve hours beat up the whole with moist sugar and serve with cream.

Both of these are, of course, the Scottish versions of the German Dickmilch and of the sour mare's milk of the Cossacks, now so widely known as Yagurt, which gave the clue to Metchnikoff. They are quite as conducive to health and long life as the German or the Russian varieties.

Scones, Cakes and Sweets


The floury oval roll with a navel on one side, which is called a "bap", is the best of all rolls for a sandwich and is a Scotch invention. We advise, however, that you should order them at a good baker's to be sent fresh-made and still hot next morning in time for breakfast. Of the many kinds of girdle scones we give only the simplest, but there is none better.

Sieve a pound of flour into a basin, add a teaspoonful of carbonate of soda, another of cream of tartar, and half a one of salt. If you want the scones rich, you can rub in two ounces of butter, but this is a mistake. Add, stirring, with a knife, enough buttermilk or thick, sour milk to make a very soft dough. Turn out on a floured board, divide in four, and flatten with as little kneading as possible, into round scones, about half an inch thick. Cut each of these in quarters, flour and put on a hot girdle, (tested by sprinkling with a little flour which should not brown at once there). Let them bake for about five minutes each side, when they should be slightly browned and well risen. You can tell when they are done by the edges being dry or by inserting a knife and drawing it out without dough sticking to it. Serve hot with butter, jam, honey ...


Of the many good scones, including dropped ones, that are made on a girdle, these are the best for what is known as a "hungry tea" - a meal to be carefully distinguished from a "high" one. Mash half a lb. of boiled potatoes adding, if needed, a pinch of salt. Work in as much flour as it will take (about two ounces) and add half a gill of milk to make a stiff dough. Roll out as thinly as you can on a floured board. Cut into triangles or rounds and prick all over with a fork. Bake on a hot girdle for five minutes each side, turning with a knife. The bubbles ought to be brown. Butter immediately and generously and roll up before putting them on a hot plate.


Oatcakes take much skill and practice in the making, and there are many different varieties. We recommend that they should be bought if you do not know already how to make them, or if your hostess or landlady is too lazy to do it.

Girdles. - Girdles ought never to be washed. Clean the surface when hot with coarse salt and a piece of paper, afterwards dusting with a cloth. For scones, bannocks and oatcakes the girdle should be dry and slightly floured: for crumpets, pancakes and dropped scones (all made with batter) it should be greased.


Of these too there are several kinds, none of them easy to make for the first time, so they had best be bought. But if you must try, the Ayrshire way is the easiest. Sieve four ounces of flour and four ounces of rice flour together into a basin, mix, and work in with the fingers four ounces of best fresh butter. Add four ounces of castor sugar and bind the lot with the beaten yolk of an egg and two tablespoonfuls of cream. Roll out as thin as you want it, prick with a fork and cut into shapes. Bake on greased paper in a steady oven for fifteen minutes when it should be golden brown. Do not turn. Cool on a wire sieve and keep in an airtight tin. When you have made your first batch you will see why shortbread is rather expensive to buy.


Rock is far more difficult to make than Shortbread, as "pulling" is part of the process. If you are not a good puller, you should buy your rock in the same shops that sell the best shortbreads. But you might like to try Butter Scotch and Helensburgh Toffee, which are easier and almost as nice as the shop-bought. For the first, dissolve over gentle heat a pound of brown sugar in an enamelled saucepan, add four ounces of well-beaten butter and stir together until it has boiled long enough to harden when dropped into cold water. Add some essence of lemon or a quarter-ounce of powdered ginger dissolved in a spoonful of water. Beat for some minutes with a fork, pour on to a buttered dish, and while it cools score into squares. These are easily broken off when cold. For the second stir two pounds of loaf sugar, four ounces of salt butter, a teacupful of water and a tin of condensed milk together in a thick pan for forty-five minutes, when you will feel you have earned the Victoria Cross. But perhaps the toffee will be thought worth it by other people. At the end of the forty-five minutes (no, you are not yet finished) add a teaspoonful of vanilla and go on stirring off the fire for one minute longer. You will have learned to stir by that time. Pour into a buttered tin, dot with walnuts if you have them and any strength left. When cool cut into squares.


Sweet puddings are not special to Scotland, but a beautiful sillabub, which professes to be native, is made by whipping a pint of thick cream with half a pint of white wine and the juice and grated rind of one lemon with some sugar to a stiff froth, skimming off the top as you whip. It may be prepared an hour or two before dinner.


Until far into the eighteenth century we were largely a nation of wine-drinkers. Joseph Taylor, who visited us in 1707 and did not think much of us, observes that one of the few good things in Scotland was "the excellent wine in every place at 15d. per Quart, which tho' 'tis so cheap, I am satisfied will mightily contribute to the impoverishment of the Scotch, if they continue to drink the same quantity they do now, because they pay ready money for it, and have but few Commodities to make a return". Lord Cockburn speaks of having "heard Henry Mackenzie and other old people say that when a cargo of claret came to Leith the common way of proclaiming its arrival was by sending a hogshead of it through the town on a cart, with a horn; and that anybody who wanted a sample, or a drink under pretence of a sample, had only to go to the cart with a jug, which, without much nicety about its size, was filled for a sixpence".

Those happy days came to an end when Parliament imposed prohibitive duties on French wines.

Firm and erect the Caledonian stood.
Old was his mutton and his claret good.
"Let him drink port", an English statesman cried -
He drank the poison, and his spirit died.

The epigram is not quite accurate. Epigrams seldom are. We never took to port, but rather gave up drinking wine and did our best with our own beer and whisky.


The Scots, unlike the English, make no boast of their brewing. They have no need; for, as a Spanish poet said of good wine, "it is its own best testimonial". That the great English beers are supreme of their kind is indisputable, but on the other hand there is an unconscionable amount of bad beer in England, and by bad we mean inherently bad. In this sense there is no bad beer in Scotland, though you may get beer that has been ill kept or ill drawn, and you may get no beer at all at the moment when you most want it. The great English brewers recognise the uniform quality of Scotch beer and take their Scotch trade seriously. Hence the bottled Bass or Allsop you drink, when you can get it, in Glasgow or Edinburgh is a more heartening drink than any contained in bottles bearing the same labels in London or Manchester. How else could they compete with our MacEwans, our Ushers and our Youngers? Edinburgh and Alloa provide the bulk of our native beers of the true mouthgripping and gullet-soothing properties, and to Dalkeith belongs the invention of green beer, which additionally soothes the eye. Glasgow manufactures a special light Lager of which even Germans speak with a reverence verging upon awe, not unmixed with envy. But there is no home market for it. If you want to taste it you must ship yourself somewhere east of Suez. At the other end of the scale there is what represents the "yill" or "tippenny" of our ancestors, the so-called "sweet" or "Scotch" ale. It is a noble liquor, ideal for cold weather, especially when mulled. But remember that it is the same drink that Willie brewed and Rab and Allan came to pree, and is therefore not to be trifled with. According to Edward Burt, who was nothing if not critical of Scotland, "this drink is of itself apt to give a diarrhoea, and therefore, when the natives drink plentifully of it, they interlace it with brandy or whisky". The accusation is malicious. All kinds of ale and beer are laxative, which is a good thing, and Scottish brews have their fair share of the general merit. Admittedly the practice of lacing them with strong waters is an ancient, but it is not an honourable one. It is bad for the beer, disgraceful to the whisky and ruinous to the drinker's stomach and nervous system. It is a mode of drinking suitable only for navvies, ironmoulders and Carlylean heroes.


And now, paulo majora canamus, or touching the drinking of whisky. At home no Scotsman with any self-respect will drink any of the "proprietary whiskies" so-called. We do not suggest that they are unwholesome: they are in fact perfectly safe and, when well diluted with soda-water, not unpalatable beverages, which one may without shame drink south of the Tweed, where it is usually impossible to get anything better. All that is wrong with them is that they are not whisky. Their only title to the name is a legal fiction which a well-meaning but ill-informed legislature has seen fit to impose on the public. True whisky is made from malt by means of a pot-still, whereas, most of the whiskies of commerce are patent-still spirit made from grain blended with a little pot-still to mitigate its flavour. Patent, still stuff is legitimately used for blending, and practically all blended whiskies contain more or less; but no blend in which the pot-still does not predominate deserves to be called whisky. The best blends, however, are pure malt. The pity is that for some reason they have never been popular and are in consequence scarce. But if you really would know the glory of Scotch whisky, get by prayer or price a "single" unblended Islay, Campbeltown or Highland. "I have never yet", says Mr Neil Gunn, "met any blend of all malts or of malt and patent that had the individuality and distinction of a perfect sample of "single whisky". These classic whiskies are so numerous that Mr Aeneas Macdonald in his admirable little book, Whisky, gives a rhymed guide to them as an aid to memory. He has been kind enough to give us permission to reproduce it: [While we do not share Mr Macdonald's low opinion of what he calls "crude doggerel", it is only fair to record his note that this is "the work of a Sassenach poetaster" who has "taken some liberties with Celtic pronunciation which may excite the anger or derision of the Gael".]



Name we first the brands that rule in
Islay in the Western seas:
Bruichladdich, Lagavulin,
Bunnahabain and Laphroaig,
Once I (lucky fellow!) fell in
With a man who had Port Ellen!
Though, indeed, as good as these
Is Bowmore or Caol Ila,
Celtic witch and arch-beguiler,
Ard Beg, Malt Mill. And I shall
Surely drink more Lochindaal.

Last port seen by westering sail
'Twixt the tempest and the Gael,
Campbeltown in long Kintyre
Mothers there a son of fire,
Deepest-voiced of all the choir.
Solemnly we name this Hector
Of the West, this giant nectar:
Benmore, Scotia, and Rieclachan,
Kinloch, Springside, Hazelburn,
Glenside, Springbank, and Lochruan,
Lochhead. Finally, to spurn
Weaklings drunk and cowards sober.
Summon we great Dalintober.

Children of the Highland hills,
Product of the Highland stills,
Now's no hour to ponder faults,
Toy with test-tubes, sniff at malts,
Open-chested must we sing:
Away with care-the drink's the thing!
Fearing neither sir nor madam,
Praise we Dufftown and Glencadam.
Wanderer over hill and moor,
Weary, welcomes Edradour,
Purchasing new strength to loin
With Glendronach or Glengoyne,
Glenlochie, or ripe Strath Dee,
Cragganmore and Benachie.
Pious priest at mass or matin
'Mid the murmur of his Latin,
Thinks of Mortlach or Tomatin,
Sinning so, but is there any
Sin in dreaming of Balvenie,
Brackla, Millburn or Glenfiddich,
Cardow, Banff, or Teaninich?
Sailor after months of sailing,
Fishing, yachting, cruising, whaling,
Hears the joyous cry of "land oh!"
Thirsts at once for choice Knockando.
Let the magistracy glower,
Let the law put forth its power,
He will drink the good Inchgower,
Tamdhu, Parkmore, Aberlour,
And damnation to the funny
Tribes of ocean in Dalwhinnie,
Drink until the stars go out.
Not for us such deep-sea bout.
Quite tipplers in our class
Are content with Glenfarclas,
Nor does fancy with us soar
Far beyond sound Convalmore,
Oban, Colburn or Dalmore,
With mayhap a straying wish
Towards Glen Elgin or Clyne Lish.
Hopeful nephew bound to see
Wealthy and repulsive aunt
(Shadows of a legacy)
Should equip him with Glen Grant,
He will find the interview
Smoother sailing on Knockdhu,
When debate grows overheated,
Chairs thrown down and men unseated,
To restore both law and order
Bring in Dlaas Dhu, Glen Cawdor,
Speyburn, Longmorn, or Strathmill.
Quick the tempest will be still
And sweet reason reign again
With the flow of Dailuaine.
If an angel unawares
Your domestic table shares,
You will not be wrong to give it
Tumblers of the real Glenlivet!
Serious poets, short of rhymes
As we all may be at times,
For ars longa, vita brevis -
Woo the muse with good Ben Nevis,
Though the wench will come no less
For Glengarrioch or Stromness,
Scapa or fine Highland Park,
Lighteners of Orcadian dark.
Men will talk most brilliant bosh
On a diet of Ferintosh,
Argue, with emphatic oaths,
Black is yellow on Glenrothes,
Prove that four and four make nine
If encouraged by Glenfyne,
And, in paradoxic fury,
Square the circle with Glenurie,
Converts have been made, they say,
To some quite grotesque belief
By Strath Isla and Glenspey
And Glenturret (made in Crieff).
Cunning preachers rope the sullen
Heathen folk in with Glendullan.
In melee or collieshangie
Glentauchers or Glenmorangie
Timid mortals will inspire
With a high heroic ire,
Though their sudden fits of wrath'll
Quickly pass before Blair Atholl.
Leaders of the hopeless charge
Rallying for one assault more,
Should have come equipped with large
Flasks of Pulteney or of Aultmore
Or at least another score
Liquors veterans will think good:
Isla, Ben Romach, Glen Mohr,
Balmenach, Glenburgie, Linkwood,
North Port, Angus-reared at Brechin,
Aberfeldy or Ballechin.
While the vanquished in the fray,
Fleeing to the nearest bar,
Counsel take with Auchenblae,
Comfort seek in Lochnagar,
And, when human courage fails,
Stronachie the foe assails.
Scholar, drinking with a lout,
Knocked his boon companion out,
Bawling egotistically, "Shall an
Imbecile enjoy Macallan?
Craigellachie and Imperial
Are designed for souls aetherial!"
Sad that academic rage
Should pollute my peaceful page;
Class and faction I abhor on
Towiemore or Ord-Glenoran;
Ragged cap and top-hat glossy
Meet as equals on Glenlossie,
Bury hatchets in a hurry
In Glenugie or Glenmoray,
Talisker or Milton-Duff
(Damned be he cries, "Hold, enough!")
Rounding off at last the story
(Highland section) put we Finis
With Glen Albyn, Tobermory,
Glenglassauch, and Benrinnes.


If you would truly enjoy whisky, lay to heart these simple precepts:

1. Failing a "single" whisky from a classic still and unless you are in its native district you may find such hard to come by-get a good blend. That is not difficult. Every good-class wine merchant in Scotland has one. Take your choice and stick to it.

2. Have nothing to do with a whisky that has not a cast-iron guarantee of being at least five years old. About ten years of age whisky reaches perfection. After fifteen it deteriorates.

3. Don't be misled by the description "liqueur whisky". There is, strictly speaking, no such thing. The term is used to suggest, without actually saying so, that the whisky in question is above ordinary strength. It may be, or on the other hand it may not. If you must have a Scottish liqueur there is Drambuie, which some people prefer to Benedictine.

4. On no account contaminate good whisky with soda or any other mineral water. If you must dilute it, plain water-spring water if possible-is best, as Pindar observes.

5. Lastly, don't let your appreciation get the better of your discretion. It is often said that good whisky never did anybody any harm, but the statement requires some qualification. Est modus in rebus, or, to quote a bit of wisdom overheard in an Angus tavern: "Moderation, sir, aye moderation is my rule. Nine or ten is reasonable refreshment, but aifter that it's apt to degenerate intae drinkin'."

Compounded Whisky Drinks

There are many helpful compounds in which whisky is the principal ingredient. The most celebrated of these is, of course,


The many ways of making it are all good for those who like it, but you can be content with this way.

Put a pound of dripped honey in a basin and add enough cold water to dissolve it (about a teacupful). Stir with a silver spoon, and when the water and the honey are well mixed, add gradually one and a half pints of whisky. Stir briskly till a froth begins to rise. Bottle and keep tightly corked. If liked, the old fashion may be followed of pouring the liquor over a little oatmeal from which it is afterwards strained.


Thoroughly warm a tumbler and a glass jug or bowl. Sugar to taste a glassful of boiling water and pour into the jug. When the sugar is quite dissolved put in half a glass of whisky and stir with a silver spoon. Then add more boiling water, and finally another half glass of whisky. Thin slices of lemon can be added, but the chief points are warm vessels, and mixing by putting in the water and whisky turn about.


This is a good morning draught if you are heroic or depraved enough to want such a thing. Beat separately the yolks and whites of half a dozen eggs. Put to the yolks sugar, a quart of milk and half a pint of whisky. Next add the whites and stir gently. Flavour with nutmeg or lemon. (Rum or brandy may be used instead of whisky.)


For Highland Cordial you must mix a pint of white currants, a bottle of whisky, some thin lemon peel, a teaspoonful of essence of ginger. Allow the mixture to stand for forty-eight hours, after which you strain it, add a pound of loaf sugar and again leave it alone for another day. Bottle and cork. It will be fit to drink in about three months.


Cut up

1¾ oz gentian root
½ oz orange peel

and bruise in a mortar with

1 oz of coriander seed
½ oz. of cloves
¼ oz of cinnamon stick.

Put in an earthenware jar and empty two bottles of whisky over it. Keep the jar closely covered from the air for a fortnight, then strain and bottle. This makes a warming short dram after a day's exposure to the elements. It also goes well in the knapsack for emergencies. But it ought to be kept for emergencies when taken out-of-doors. A little goes a long way down.


Grate a nutmeg into two quarts of mild ale brought to the boil. To a little cold ale add sugar and three well-beaten eggs. Mix slowly to the hot ale. Add half a pint of whisky and bring the whole to boil again. Pour briskly from one vessel to the other till smooth and bright. If you are rich enough to follow the Old Style you should use light wine and brandy instead of ale and whisky.


One ounce of oil of cinnamon is dropped on 2½ pounds of bruised loaf sugar, a gallon of good whisky is added, and when the sugar has dissolved the liquor is filtered and bottled.

To these whisky compounds we add two recipes for rum punch-one old and one new.


For a poetical description we refer you to Lockhart's "Lament for Captain Paton" which is among our "Lucky Numbers" further back. But prose is more serviceable, viz:

To each tumblerful of punch allow one tablespoonful of icing-sugar, one lemon, one wineglassful of rum and about three-quarters of a tumbler of water. Dissolve the sugar with a little water in the punch-bowl, strain the lemon juice into this, add the water and mix thoroughly. In the just mixing of the sherbet, as this liquor is called, lies the secret of success. Now add the rum. Should limes be available, use less lemon, and after the rum is added, cut the limes and run each section round the inside rim of the bowl, squeezing in enough of the juice to flavour the whole without making it too acid.


[Mr W. G. Burn-Murdoch's recipe, which has been greatly appreciated by foreigners,
Sassenachs, etc., visiting his hospitable house on festive occasions.]

Rub the rinds of five lemons with lump sugar, using half a pound of the sugar. Put the lemony sugar in a bowl, add a bottle of old rum, then the strained juice of the lemons, and mix well. Put in a piece of cinnamon stick, and pour on the boiling water, stirring all the time.

By way of a worthy conclusion we give a noble recipe for


Simmer the following spices in a teacupful of water -

Mace, Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger, Cardamums, Coriander seed, Cinnamon

allowing for each bottle of wine 10 grains of mace, 46 grains of cloves, 37 grains of cardamums, 28 grains of cinnamon, 12 grains of nutmeg, 48 grains of ginger and 49 grains of coriander seed.

Add the mixed spices to two, four or six bottles of port, sherry or madeira, allowing 1½ pounds of loaf sugar (pounded) for 4 bottles, and set all on the fire in a clean bright saucepan; meanwhile have the yolks of 12 and the whites of 6 fresh eggs well whisked up separately and put in the wassail bowl. When the spiced, sugared wine is warm, take out one teacupful at a time till you have a third and add it to the eggs. Add the remaining two-thirds when it comes to the boil, but without letting it actually boil, pouring it in very gradually and whipping all the time to get a good froth, partly mixed through but mainly on the top. When all the wine is in, toss in 12 fine, soft-roasted apples. Send the whole up hot with a ladle.

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