Scotland Chat #2: FOOD

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Picture taken from Tami’s website, here.

Once again, I’d like to welcome the fabulous Tami Carson to my blog. This time, I picked her brain about a subject near and dear to my heart (and stomach): Food.

Wendy: So tell me about the food in Scotland.

Tami: There is food available and food they eat. In other words, what you can buy in a store and what you find in restaurants.

W: What? Food available is food from a store?

T: haha! Like what foods are available to purchase here and which are not

W: Do they call it “edible” food?

T: Oh, I see. No, those are my own special terms for food.

W: Oh, okay. Slow brain. So what types of foods are available (in stores)? And what isn’t available that you miss?

T: I miss rootbeer. I miss big bags of things like flour, sugar, brown sugar, chocolate chips, I miss Crisco, the kids mentioned kool aid the other day.

W: Do they only come in small bags, then? And, if things only come in small bags, what do they sell at that there Costco you go to? πŸ˜‰

T: Yes, hard to find big bags. Even Costco has smaller amounts. Or 5 small bags packaged together. There are some convenience things not here like microwave popcorn. I am pleasantly surprised by the selection of cereal, it’s plentiful and inexpensive.

W: No microwave popcorn? My parents could never move to Scotland, then. They eat a bag of microwave popcorn every night before bed.

T: They could just bring it over in suitcases. πŸ™‚

W: You *can* make your own microwave popcorn, though. Since I imagine you didn’t take your popper due to the plug issue-thingy.

RECIPE FOR HOMEMADE MICROWAVE POPCORN

1/4 c popcorn in a paper bag (lunch size). Microwave for 2 minutes. Add butter. Voila!

T: I will have to try it. First I will have to locate popcorn. I haven’t looked.

[Post-chat edit: Tami sent me a picture of her next Costco trip, where she found popcorn–so it is available. In five little bags. (Okay, I made that part up.)]

W: Weird! Do they have popcorn at the cinema? (Please note I tried to use the proper UK term here–) (And, seriously, if they had to take it over in a suitcase it would take, like, an entire suitcase of its own . . .)

T: Yes, the cinema has popcorn but it is very different! You can get sweet or salted. And neither have much butter either. The bags are much smaller. I like the salted one, it has a mild butter flavour. Mark [Tami’s husband] likes the sweet better but doesn’t love it. Healthier I am sure!!

W: Interesting. Who knew popcorn differences could be so fascinating?

T: I know right. And you adjust I think to the flavour. Theater popcorn in the States will be a shock! Baking supply aisles are sadly lacking. Tiny containers of cocoa powder, baking soda (which is bicarbonate of soda), baking powder, etc… And flavourings are different, can’t find maple extract.

[They also spell “flavourings” differently . . . ]

W: Yikes–and I think the cocoa powder containers HERE are too small! You can only make one or two things of brownies. Speaking of healthier . . . haha!

Can you get maple syrup? I saw the recipe for Cinnamon Quick Bread on your blog and wondered about that. Do they import their syrup from Canada or the US, or do they have places where they make maple syrup in the UK?

T: They have maple syrup, pure maple syrup not Mrs. Butterworths or anything like that. Anywhere! The pure is expensive but a little less so than in the States.

W: It’s definitely better for you than the fake kinds.

T: And the containers are, again, small. We get the “big” jug at Costco and ration it and get two dinners of pancakes out of it. I want to bring back maple extract and start making our own.

W: Phew. Zack [my 13-year-old son] would have a hard time. He’s syrup-ration challenged.

T: So are my kids. And frankly, I don’t like dry pancakes. Again, we will get used to a more pure, less artificial taste in things.

W: See, I don’t care for syrup, really. We’re all about melted butter and granulated sugar at my house. Well, except for Zack. Well, Eden, too. I guess it’s just me and the little kids who like melted butter with sugar on top.

T: We may need to try that. A few of the kids have done butter and powdered sugar. “Confectioners” sugar that is.

W: Right! So if you asked for baking soda, they’d say, “You mean bicarbonate of soda?”

T: Yes they do!! And it was hard to find the first time. In general I think they use less preservatives. Thus smaller containers so that things don’t go bad. Less artificial colours and flavours.

Lamb is more common in stores, both minced and chops.

W: So . . . since I come from a sheep-herding lamb-eating family myself, how do you like it?

T: Lamb is good. Still trying it out. I put it in something once and my family didn’t even notice it. At all! But I knew in my head it was lamb so it creeped me out.

W: Hahaha! Have you tried haggis? Also . . . what is haggis exactly?

T: I haven’t. Joe [her 13-year-old son]Β  has. He gets it sometimes but I’ve never seen him finish. He gets it in a roll, like a sausage roll. I’ve heard rumours about the content but haven’t investigated yet. Sausage rolls are well loved in my family. An actual sausage (not ground) baked in a flaky croissant type roll.

W: Sounds delicious! What do you use for Crisco since they don’t have it? Lard?

T: Butter.

W: Haha–right. That’s better, anyway. πŸ™‚

T: Haggis is: lamb heart and lungs, cooked in spices with oatmeal then stuffed into the stomach lining of a sheep or ox. Like a sausage.

W: Heart and lungs? Oh, dear.

T: I know. I probably won’t try it.

W: Sounds . . . tough. Chewy.

T: It’s all minced and cooked down, so it’s a similar texture to sausage.

I think, as we are here longer, we will learn more about how Scottish people eat. We eat our way still. I want to learn more about their habits and meals.

***

Haggis is a good stopping place. We chatted more about food–quite a bit more, actually–so I’m going to break it up and post it later on this week. In the meantime, enjoy visions of sweet-ish cinema popcorn, abundant cereal, and haggis rolls in your heads!

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