Monday, September 29, 2008
A Scottish National Dish
I'm sure everyone, no matter how into food they may be, will have at least one food which they really do not like. For me it is one of the most Scottish dishes around. A dish that everyone associates with the Scots. The name of this dish immediately conjures up pictures of rolling Scottish hillsides, purple heather and strong Scotsmen in kilts. For me, as a Scot, I am ashamed to admit the very mention of this dish sets my gag reflex in motion. What can this awful food be I hear you ask. You may be thinking of Haggis and all it's components, the heart, lungs and various other parts of a sheep's innards all packed into it's stomach, strangely enough I find this a perfectly acceptable meal. Okay then black pudding, this time involving the use of pigs blood and meal. No not this one either. I particularly enjoy black pudding served with scallops. Yes I know this may sound like a strange pairing, but do try it. Add some nice buttery mash and you will have a simple but delicious meal in about 20mins. The time it takes to cook your potatoes. Yes I can tell you are not really believing me on this one but there is only one way to know. If you are reading this from MSP/ST Paul area black pudding can be purchased form the Irish Shop on Grand in St Paul. Get up there and go for it! Back to my nemesis in the food world. Quite simply, it is porridge. There I have said it. My Scottishness must now be in question! But please allow me the chance to explain. I believe this hatred of the most Scottish of all dishes began when I was 4 years old and admitted to hospital for a tonsillectomy. Hospitals at that time hadn't quite got to grips with making a 4 year old feel happy and welcome. They were strict with rules, to be obeyed at all times, no concession for being a frightened little 4 year old. Unfortunately porridge was served every morning for breakfast and herein lies the tale. This was not a 2 day stay in a hospital ward, it was 7 days. They did not rush you out in those days, oh how I wish they had. I was okay for the first couple of days after the op but then I was presumed fit for regular food. No choices, and definitely no refusals allowed. I remember gagging and choking my way through that fist bowl and dreading every morning thereafter. I did survive, but phsycologically I think I am scarred for life. To this day nothing would posses me to try and eat a bowl of hot steaming porridge the very thought of it makes me gag. I do on occasion make it for my husband, and he says I make it very well but even the smell of it is enough to conjure up the nightmare of being forced to eat it. No amout of cream or honey or jam will ever convince me, never mind the good old fashioned way of eating it with salt. So for obvious reasons I am not including a picture of one of Scotland's National Dishes, but instead I have included my idea of "a perfect Scottish dish".