Monday, January 19, 2009

Scottish Cooking North Fife

Scottish cooking north fife, it's always good to find a book of this quality, stuffed full of traditional and modern recipes. 'Scots' and 'cooking' aren't two words normally associated with each other, at least not in a positive light. Sue Lawrence readily admits as much in her introduction, and heartily criticizes the well-documented Caledonian penchant for deep-frying and chips with everything. She doesn't dwell too long on this relatively recent downside, however, and soon offers plenty of evidence to suggest that, culinarily, Scotland has much to be proud of. As a former BBC Masterchef and long-running recipe writer for the Sunday Times, she certainly has the credentials necessary to put forward her case, and promptly takes us back to the days before the reign of the ubiquitous deep-fryer. Oats, broths and oily fish are, rightly, heralded as exceptionally healthy foodstuffs. Old books have been unearthed, revealing a surprisingly wide variety of menus over the years. Granted, many of these were restricted to the occupants of the big houses, while the daily fare of the poorer Scottish people is described as 'plain, possibly mundane', with special dishes being enjoyed only on special occasions. People tended to survive on what was available locally, and it's interesting to read how modern luxuries like oysters and lobsters were once everyday sustenance for those living near the sea. The recipes are divided into various categories, from highly acclaimed and justifiably popular breakfasts through hearty winter-friendly broths to wonderfully named fish dishes such as 'crappit heid' and 'hairy tatties'. Sections on meat and poultry, game and baking, as well as many of the individual recipes, come with a potted history and the occasional personalized aside. Scotland's reputation for hospitality is also emphasized in this collection, which won the Guild of Food Writers Michael Smith Award, and the whole thing is offered up in a refreshing style that Lawrence attributes to the cooking itself - unintimidating and unpretentious. Scots Cooking: The Best Traditional and Contemporary Scottish Recipes

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