Most people when asked what they know about Scottish food will likely respond with something – either joking or in disgust – about haggis. Indeed haggis is still a popular dish in Scotland. Historically haggis was cooked in an animal’s stomach but nowadays you can get everything from a haggis burger to a haggis bon-bon! This post is going to give you a quick overview of what you can expect to find to eat in Glasgow and surrounding areas while you’re visiting the cathedral and other historical landmarks. If you are a vegetarian, things can be a little tricky and you may want to bring some of your own cooking gear (perhaps a portable Indian pressure cooker? http://ricecookergoodness.com/indian-pressure-cookers/) to make you own food.
- BREAKFAST – A Scotsman’s breakfast often consists of a sausage, bacon, eggs, potato scone, along with fried mushrooms and tomatoes, baked beans, black pudding, and buttered toast. In a word – hearty. It’s a more-than-complete meal, that is if you manage to eat it all. If you are feeling full from the previous evening’s gorging, you might be able to get away with eating just a bowl of porridge with a sprinkling of dried fruit and sugar. A bowl of oatmeal is a lot less demanding on the digestive system than a full Scottish breakfast! Another rather strongly-scented option are the flavourful kippers (smoked herring) served for breakfast. I remember my British mum frying some of these up once in a while – it took a while for the smell of them to disperse…
- LUNCH & DINNER – Black pudding is suet, barley, oats, blood, and a mixture of spices stuffed into a tube of protein casing. It’s often part of breakfast but it has gained a position on the menus of Glasgow’s finest restaurants. Black pudding goes well with most meats as well as some fruit. Haggis has some ingredients in common with black pudding. Main constituents are the finely chopped offal of an animal mixed with suet, onions, oatmeal, and various seasonings. Formerly it was boiled in the stomach of the animal but nowadays manufactured casings are more commonly used. Haggis is eaten with “neeps and tatties” (swede – kind of like a turnip – and potato). Stovies contain meat, onions and potatoes. This stew – which you can cook in a pressure cooker – was usually made from the leftovers of a roast dinner, but it’s simple to make from scratch. Recipes vary widely – the meat ingredient can be almost anything it seems: chicken, lamb, even tinned meat. It is served with oatcakes and/or pickled beet.
- DESSERTS – Scottish desserts are every bit as rich and filling as main courses. Cranachan or Atholl Brose is a kind of crumble made of fresh raspberries, honey and toasted oats topped with whipped cream – adults can add a dram of whisky. Tablet is a sweet made of sugar, vanilla, condensed milk and butter – and occasional pieces of nut. It’s similar to fudge but harder, and without the velvety texture of fudge. Speaking of velvety… shortbread is a rich, fatty biscuit made using a generous amount of butter which imparts its mouth watering meltiness. The strangely named clootie dumpling is a rich fruit pudding made with flour, breadcrumbs, dried fruit, sugar, spice, suet, milk, and syrup to hold things together. Serve with cream and a glass of whisky.
So, be prepared for high-calorie intake if you want to eat traditional foods while in Glasgow!