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The Haggis and other stories: A History of Scottish Food and Hospitality

Wee sleekit timorous haggis moosie O, what a panic’s in the hoosie [Edited lines by Robert Burns]

Alan F Harrison If a’ your hums and haws were hams and haggises, the pairish would be weel fed. © Alan F Harrison 2009


By the same author Gastronomy New Horizon


Are We Really What We Eat: the Thinker’s Book of Food Weavers Press Publishing 1986


Preamble The book is at the 90%-complete stage. The index and pictures remain to be inserted. It is here as a component of the Gastronomy website and this text forms part of what I offer educational establishments by way of lectures. It is also here for when I am ready to offer it for publication. Those who read it in the meantime may care to comment on errors and omissions for which I will be grateful. The text is being prepared as an etext. The aim at present is to give an impression of the book. 95% of the readership will ignore the reference numbers within the text. They are in red text as editing continues. This Preamble will be removed when the etext has been posted.

Preface The free and open hospitality which characterise Scots everywhere may be found in different forms in other civilised countries. As the march of civilisation tramples over family unity, community spirit and dietary self-care, at least some countries are tackling the issue of a good national diet. Scotland is amongst them. It is suggested, however, that Scotland was subjected to an unsatisfactory diet during its history. This was due, in part, to the starvation and control imposed from the outside, and particularly imposed by its own landed gentry. With wider publicity for the negative factors contributing to such a diet and the promotion of awareness of the many positive factors within its dietary history, Scotland may come to terms with the idea that it needs to improve its diet. At certain stages in Scotland’s history its people were well fed comparative to other peoples. It is suggested in this book that until around the mid-nineteenth century, Scotland was sometimes a century behind in the general social and economic developments enjoyed by its nearest neighbours. This is probably quite evident in the account given of the role of agriculture in the lack of progress made. Everyday life and its problems as experienced in earliest times are described sometimes generally, sometimes specifically in terms of good and bad drink usage, and sometimes in terms of social control. Access to the food supply is the most significant treatment of social control within this book and access higher social status is an important further dimension of it. The food supply is also shown as an important factor in the development of civilisation and stages of this development are also identified in cultural terms. Changing social uses of food and drink are shown as thresholds in the development of Scotland’s table. The constraints imposed by Scottish society both informally at the table and formally, through laws relating to the use of drink are identified as characteristics of the changing social uses. The social uses are sampled at various points in history and occasional comparisons are made with England and elsewhere to determine the extent of dietary and cultural progress. Certain social uses are seen as emanating from France as well as England, and the dietary, if not linguistic influence of France is shown in looking at the Auld Alliance. Food, hospitality and social control are shown to interact with one another in the context of social and economic relationships and development of other social uses both at home and in substitute domestic feeding. The distinguishing characteristics of the Scottish diet are discernable in both the social and gastronomic analyses and the promotion of any distinctions is looked at finally in terms of the image the Scots may want for themselves. The book is an appraisal of the historical influences on the Scottish diet. The influences are identified as being economic, social and political, with emphasis on social control. Chapter One sets out the main methods of approach in considering Scottish Gastronomy from both theoretical and practical stand points. The initial theoretical considerations incorporate an overview of the civilising process and a preliminary evaluation of the relationship between agriculture and economy. In Chapter Two the civilising process is shown to start with the creation of a food surplus and to end with modern living standards including tableware. The gradual introduction of tableware and changing eating patterns are used as thresholds in assessing the process of civilising the Scottish table, and such thresholds relate to the development of hospitality enjoyed round that table. Other aspects of social control are the focus of Chapter Three and hospitality is appraised from economic as well as social perspectives. The control of the use of alcohol is also discussed. Social control is evaluated in Chapter Four in terms of access to the food supply when agriculture dominated Scottish life. The detail of the hardship suffered by a range of people is provided.


Chapters Five and Six examine the social background of the occasions and situations in which Scottish food and drink were used within the framework of influences on the present day diet. The concluding chapter assesses the acceptance of the absurdity of the status quo over the years and points to ways in which the unsatisfactory modern diet might be influenced. The final discussion concerns the acceptance of a substandard diet in relation to the Scottish self-identity. Points are made using the expertise and research of experts and others whose interest in their topic caused them to record their thoughts or experiences. Sometimes it is a visitor to Scotland, sometimes a Scot. The book is aimed at the reader with an interest in Scotland and especially if that interest includes food. It is for those who know little about the Auld Alliance, the influence of agriculture or the culture of Scotland’s table. It is also for Scots who can stand back from Scotland a while to gain various perspectives, and can show that we accept a little criticism along with accolades concerning, say, our hospitality. This book is a gastronomic history, it is not historical sociology. Sociologists and historians need not to look, therefore, for any sociological analysis of historical situations. A gastronomic history does not demand a high degree of analysis involving the use of sociological concepts. The book should be accepted in the spirit with which it was written. Come with me on a tour to Scotland and sample its people’s hospitality. If I asked Scots to be able to stand back it is probably because I have done so myself. The research and main writing was done in 1983 . A move to the South of England, and later employment in numerous other countries, have enabled the process of reflective digestion to take place. The born again author was able to revise the work with renewed vigour. Considerable exposure to the cultures of other people may have broadened an otherwise restricted outlook. If in my previous writing, the theme of man is what he eats was explored the present work certainly bring out the notion of ‘eating-man’ being the product of his social experience. So it is from Ross with love of a Scottish gastronomic heritage which is now placed before the reader. The descriptive quality of this account I leave to the readers judgement. The national response I leave to Scotland. The proof o the pudden’s in the preein o’t. Alan F Harrison Ross-on-Wye England

Acknowledgements If it is normal to put them before the Preface, they are here so that the reader has some idea what they acknowledge. Sue Jefferies has painstakingly converted a jumbled manuscript into a well-presented typescript. She has kindly pointed out numerous errors and inconsistencies which have saved this author from considerable embarrassment. I am ever-grateful. However, those factual etc errors and omissions that remain are clearly the authors responsibility. Lisa Stone typed the Bibliography and my thanks to her.

Notes on the notes The book uses the expertise of numerous writers and authors who are named as the text unfolds. If Smith is quoted, a number in superscript follows thus “xyz” Smith23.. All the chapter notes are collected at the end of the book and direct the reader to the bibliography where full detail is given of the source of the quotation. It is envisaged that 95% of readers will not want to go to that extent so the numbers can be ignored. Those who find them useful will see that diligent use of Google etc tabs will make it easier.


CONTENTS Preamble ...............................................................................................................ii Preface ..................................................................................................................ii Acknowledgements ............................................................................................ iii Notes on the notes............................................................................................... iii

Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................1 Some reasons for conducting the research..............................................1 Assertions .............................................................................................................1 The Literature Gap................................................................................................1

Methodology and Resources...................................................................3 Methodology.........................................................................................................3 The Literature .......................................................................................................3 Personal Communications ....................................................................................5

Gastronomy.............................................................................................5 Economy, Agriculture and the Diet ........................................................7 Chapter 2 FOOD AND SOCIETY.........................................................9 The Necessity of a Food Surplus ............................................................9 The Civilising Process ............................................................................9 Courtesy..............................................................................................................10 Civility ................................................................................................................11 Civilization .........................................................................................................11

Culture and Cookery.............................................................................12 The Civilisation of the Scottish Table ..................................................13 Before ‘Courtesy’ ..............................................................................................13 Chivalry before Courtesy....................................................................................13 Civility ................................................................................................................16 Civilization .........................................................................................................17

Chapter 3 SOCIAL CONTROL...........................................................18 Social Control and Agriculture .............................................................18 The Food Supply and Social Control .................................................................18

Control of the Use of Alcohol ..............................................................19 ‘Ye’ll hae a wee dram’ .......................................................................................19 Temperance and Legal Controls.........................................................................21

Hospitality.............................................................................................23 Introduction ........................................................................................................23 iv

A Little History...................................................................................................24 Where has A little history led us? .......................................................................25 A Little Economics.............................................................................................25 Much Reciprocity ...............................................................................................26 A Model of Hospitality.......................................................................................27 Scottish Hospitality ............................................................................................28

Chapter 4 THE AGRI-CULTURE OF SCOTLAND ........................32 The Labour System ...............................................................................32 Climate ..................................................................................................33 Scottish Agriculture and Social Control of the Food Supply ...............34 The Labour System.............................................................................................34 Cottagers.............................................................................................................37 Crofters ...............................................................................................................37 Cottars.................................................................................................................38 Other grades of Farm Servants ...........................................................................39 The Agricultural Community .............................................................................40 The “Four-footed Clansmen” .............................................................................42 The Landlords and Chieftains.............................................................................43

Conclusion ............................................................................................44 Appendix General Review of the Agriculture of the Countries of Roxburgh and Selkirk.................................................................................................................45

Chapter 5 FOOD ON THE TABLE.....................................................49 Introduction...........................................................................................49 Typical Daily Menu of Rural Scots Late 18th Century onwards ..........52 Food on the Plate ..................................................................................53 Cereal..................................................................................................................53

Diet of Scots Agricultural Worker (circa 1800) ...................................56 Kail .....................................................................................................................57 The Turnip ..........................................................................................................58 The Potato...........................................................................................................59 Fish .....................................................................................................................61 Pork.....................................................................................................................62 The Haggis..........................................................................................................64 Origins of the Burns event..................................................................................65 The modern-day Burns event .............................................................................68 The Philosophical Reply from the Haggis (Or - Harrison’s Rant) ...........................70 Mutton ................................................................................................................71

Some Aspects of Influences and Usage................................................72 A Selection of Feasts and Festivals ......................................................73


Shrove Tuesday ..................................................................................................73 Beltane ..................................................................................................................73 Hogmanay...........................................................................................................73

The Auld Alliance.................................................................................75 Chapter 6 DRINK IN THE GLASS....................................................81 Introduction...........................................................................................81 The Drinking Scot.................................................................................82 Drink in Scotland as Viewed by J. Dunlop ..........................................83 Savage Hospitality..............................................................................................85

Claret: the Prince of Social Beverages .................................................85 The Inordinate Love of Whisky............................................................86 The Scottish Public House....................................................................88 From Cradle to the Grave .....................................................................89 Appendices 1 & 2 .................................................................................93 Appendix 1 Scots Proverbs ................................................................................93 Appendix 2 - Glossary......................................................................................102

Chapter 7 THE SCOTTISH SELF-IDENTITY ...............................105 Uses of the Research...........................................................................105 Goody, Elias and Braudel ...................................................................105 Economy, Land and Control...............................................................106 The Scottish Self-Identity ...................................................................107 CHAPTER NOTES ..............................................................................109 CHAPTER ONE - INTRODUCTION ...............................................109 CHAPTER 2 – FOOD AND SOCIETY.............................................110 CHAPTER 3 – SOCIAL CONTROL.................................................111 CHAPTER 4 – THE AGRI-CULTURE OF SCOTLAND ................113 CHAPTER FIVE – FOOD ON THE TABLE....................................115 CHAPTER 6 – DRINK IN THE GLASS...........................................119 CHAPTER 7 - CONCLUSION ........................................................121 Bibliography ..........................................................................................122 Index.......................................................................................................133 vi


Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION Some reasons for conducting the research Assertions The set of assertions forming the main themes of the book is as follows: 1. The Scottish diet is as distinct as the notion of Scottish Nationality. 2. The Scottish diet is in need of improvement. 3. The improvements go beyond any recommendations to eat certain foods (not included) but encroach upon that entity “the Scottish way of life” with due focus upon food and drink. In order to understand this particular way of life it is necessary to unravel it in terms of preceding influences. These are taken to be subsumed in the word ‘heritage’. Given that in the present context, the term includes the gastronomic customs that have been passed on from previous generations, it is possible to consider the idea of ‘gastronomic heritage’ as a tool to reveal the many influences contributing to the distinctiveness of the Scottish diet. 4. Scotland and France became diplomatically close in the lead up to and after an agreement made in 1295/6. The allies shared a need to curtail English expansion and the agreement became known as The Auld Alliance. 5. Diet and economy are important correlates and a prolonged contact with France through the ‘Auld Alliance’ brought dubious benefits to Scotland. While France was developing its haute-cuisine, Scotland failed to improve upon a poverty diet. The economic disadvantage resulting from trade with France was one of the factors restricting the improvement in Scottish diet up to the mid-eighteenth century. 6. The generally acknowledged improvements in the Scottish economy and way of life as a result of improved contact with England after the Union of 1707 extend to a better diet but not necessarily immediately after it. 7. The development of the ‘Scottish way of life’ as seen through food and drink on the table is shown as often being about a century behind Europe as late as around 1850. 8. Agriculture dominated that way of life until the mid-nineteenth century. An important strand in the connection between people and their food is ‘social control’. It is shown that the domination of the ruler over the ruled has had major implications for the general diet throughout the course of history. If any specific set of people deserve to be singled out for special discussion in that respect it is, surprisingly enough, those within agriculture. Surprising since with such proximity to food the expectation might be that their needs would be the first to be met. ‘Social control’ in relation to food and drink includes the formation of the cultural uses of these commodities and variations are discernable throughout history according to social class.

The Literature Gap With a vast amount of historical material on Scotland, numerous works dealing with food and drink in previous times and a substantial quantity of modern cookery books it is a further assertion that no single work focuses upon the background to the modern Scottish diet. John Galt said that when he was very young, he wished to write a work “… that would be for Scotland and what the Vicar of Wakefield is for England …”1. Although an “Annals of the Parish Table” would be interesting, perhaps one purpose of undertaking this study is to produce for Scotland something which would match John Burnett’s Plenty and Want: A Social History of Diet in England from 1815 to the Present Day2 or J.C. Drummond andA. Wilbraham’s The Englishman’s Food: Five Centuries of English Diet.3 While both these


books are descriptive and entertaining they do not examine many of the assumptions made about the diet studied. It is important to put ‘the diet’ into a social context and from there branch out to along lines exploring the basis of food and eating. As we will come to appreciate, it is the social conditions which form a diet. C. Anne Wilson’s Food and Drink in Britain4 covered “the days of the hunters and gatherers until the period of the industrial revolution”, and besides being a large history book was also a recipe book, “so that those who have a practical interest in historical cookery can try their hands at some of the dishes eaten by their more remote ancestors.”5 There are no recipes in the present study and considerable justice has been done in that respect by other works as quoted such as Virginia Maclean’s Much Entertainment6 of Johnson and Boswell on their 1773 Tour, and Hamish Whyte’s Lady Castlehill’s Receipt Book7 There is a vast amount of Scottish Cookery books and there is little point in using valuable space on previously published recipes when so many other important dimensions of Scotland’s gastronomic history need to be brought together. Material existing in a wide variety of studies ranging from those already mentioned, other standard works such as D. Elliston Allen’s British Tastes8, to a Mrs Zealand’s personal research into archival evidence in Montrose has been brought together to bring detailed comment on the history of Scottish diet. It has already been implied within the assertions that France and England have had a significant effect upon Scotland’s food history but more pointed comment will be made. That a Scot should write such a history of Scotland is only one dimension to its potentially hurt pride but there are further surprises to come. The study brings together material which throws doubt on the historical validity of claims made that whisky, haggis, Hogmanay and similar institutions are the very heart of its exclusive heritage. Irish whisky came to Scotland and was no more than developed by a nation which may have had greater abilities in that respect (not to mention better water). If Italy experienced something similar in terms of giving France its haute cuisine stemming from the court of Catherine de Medici, France did no more than establish a long historical association, the Auld Alliance, with Scotland and when it ended, leave behind a strong French connection which excluded haute cuisine but possibly included haggis and Hogmanay. France built its gastronomic reputation on haute cuisine and excellence of cookery. Scotland has done the opposite with its ‘oat-cuisine’ of porridge, haggis and Scotch broth (‘tartan food’ as will be elaborated upon), based on a poverty diet. This general approach, when used as part of the marketing techniques to attract tourists and others to Scotland and to feed and entertain them when they arrive is considered in relation to ‘tartan food’ and is shown as now being out-moded. McLaren has discussed Scottish culture in the context of the image that Scotland has created for itself over centuries. He would concur with the basic idea here that this type of food is associated in the minds of others is due to “ … the kind of publicity that we have allowed and even encouraged to be put out about ourselves for the last 9 two hundred years.” But it is not only those outside Scotland who have recognised that the Scottish diet is in need of revision. Stephens compared her nation with the rest of Western man and concluded that “ … we Scots are even fatter, more toothless and more constipated, for in many of the scourges of modern civilisation we have a regrettable tendency to come top of the league.”10 Her interest as a State Registered Dietician led to the writing of a book which at present, has not been published. We will see some of her work later concerning the diet of earlier agricultural workers. She asserts11 that the present day Scot’s diet is excessive in quantity and narrow in scope. Until more detail is given later we can keep to general discussion. If England expects every man to do his duty and carve the Sunday joint, what is anticipated for the Scot? A perspective of the modern Scot’s expectation of daily food intake has been given by Tannahill12 and taking the wife’s point of view indicates that “It would be enough to tax the energies (not to mention the culinary enthusiasm) of a saint to have to produce … “such a long list of requirements which starts with a fried and porridge supported breakfast, and moves on to a substantial dinner of two or three courses at midday. At around 6pm is supplied a kitchen of something and chips, plentiful amounts of bread, scones, cake and biscuits. At 9.30 any remaining high tea foods might do an encore for supper alongside sandwiches. Many Scots housewives produce such fare every day according to the traditions established by their agricultural predecessors who worked all the daylight hours. “… a pattern that in today’s more sedentary society does little for the figure or for the digestion.”13 It will be shown later that there is no expectation of Sunday lunch and that the Saturday high tea is its equivalent.


Tannahill suggest that modern Scottish food ‘requirements’ are based on a set of historical expectations and the present work is concerned with seeing what they might have been. But as Goody14 remarked: “You cannot do field work in the past, and ‘oral history’ needs to be weighed against documentary, archaeological and linguistic research.” This study will draw upon the field work done by others, some sufficiently close to them to be able to comment upon what they did or felt, and others who have attempted to recreate the past by intensive research into their field of interest. (Parry15 points out that such activities are retrodictions and provides a detailed model of the process). Burke, early in his Sociology and History16 remarked that “A social survey of the past, like a social survey of the present, raises two awkward problems. There is the problem of evidence or ‘data’, and there is the problem of categorising it or them.” The broad chapter headings here should not be interpreted as precise categories as there is inevitably much overlap relating to their contents. The ‘evidence’ is not the “hard data” which Burke17 considers the easier to obtain. Whether what is included within this study ranks for consideration as data, hard or soft, will remain to be seen. Some of it is not evidence, it is, rather more, ‘information’ of a fairly general kind from which attempts are made from time to time to piece together an overall view relating to a time, a situation or a theme. In such a study, detailed retrodictions are probably out of place for “The history of a nation has to do with things which books never quite supply; the manner of the people, their modes of life, action and thought. We know more of old Rome from a day among its ruins.” 18 Innes, writing in 1860, was a century and a half nearer than us to some of the Scottish ruins which are of some concern to the present study. With an interest in what has preceded the modern era, we can perhaps move closer to a better understanding of the present situation. This, after all, is the raison d’etre of history. It has, however, been carried out in terms of Scottish food and drink and its culture of the table.

Methodology and Resources Methodology It is important to obtain the views of specialists who have written in the past and more recently, and these have been obtained from the conventional literature search. The bibliography shows many historical sources and the extent of personal communications indicates that numerous people were kind enough to respond. While many of these were ‘specialists’ in terms of being museum curators etc., others were recommended as being interested, were written to after they had written a letter to a food magazine, perhaps, or who made contact with the author through reading a published article or paper on food and drink. A conference organised by him in Edinburgh in 1982 – “Health Education and Food” – generated a fair number of contacts which proved to be very useful. It is part of the approach of this study to provide a treatment of the main topics in a general way before proceeding to discuss them as they prevail in the Scottish situation. The obvious reason is for the purpose of introducing a specific topic, to establish what is important and then to point the subsequent, specialized treatment. A perhaps less obvious reason is to be in a position to comment upon the different ways the topic might be tackled and to establish in what way the material written in, or relevant to, Scotland differs from the general approach. It is important to look at the material written at various stages through the course of history. It helps establish the progression from one state of knowledge and opinion to the next.

The Literature The literature divides, for the purpose of this study as follows: firstly there is the general material relating to social history taken in the widest sense with economic, agricultural and cultural connotations, tailing off to that which deals with food and drink. There is a further continuum of material on food and drink which starts with the historically descriptive treatment and progresses to the currently descriptive and possibly analytical texts. Then there is the specific material on food and drink in various modern settings starting with cookery books and with wine and other drinks at the end. Such a range is supported by the general works including the occasional reference of use in this study and the more specifically sociological


and economic treatments of the ancient, pre-modern and modern worlds from which we may obtain sometimes insight and sometimes quite detailed information of use to the research. Chapter Two tackles the need to have some clarity on the role of food in the development of culture and civilization and, once that process was well underway, the way food was used in relation to the refinement of manners generally and table manners in particular. Such use helps signal the level of advancement at any one stage. The main work giving much detail of use to the present study is “The Civilizing Process” written by Norbert Elias in 1939.19 Another important work available to us is Fernand Braudel’s “Capitalism and Material Life; 1400 – 1800”20 While both books mentioned are historical works it might be said that Braudel’s is the more empirical. Elias is more speculative, rather in the mode of a detective archaeologist piecing together the history of civilization using written material and sometimes contemporary art. Aiding the clarification of issues relating to the process of becoming civilized is a clutch of other useful works which includes E.A. Ross21, T.W. Herbert22, L.A. White23, and J. Goody24. In the sidelines are used B.A. Henisch25 and T Veblen26. In assessing ‘The Civilization of the Scottish Table’ no apologies are made for making extensive use of J. Warrack’s book – Domestic Life in Scotland 1488 –168827. This somewhat fortuitous find in a collection of works relating to early Scottish furniture led to the conclusion that books giving great detail relating to Scotland comparable to Elias’ treatment of Europe were rare. I.F. Grant is used a lot throughout the whole study and she has written on numerous topics relating to Scotland. Chapter Two utilises Everyday Life in Scotland28 and The Social and Economic Development of Scotland before 160329. Daiches is a modern writer with numerous works on Scotland and several are used in this book. In Chapter Two his Literature and Gentility30 introduces the focus upon ‘Scottish civilization’. Three of J. MacKinnon’s works31 have also been very useful throughout. Of the numerous general historical works R.L. MacKie32, J. Mackenzie33 and C. Innes34 were most useful. The role of England in the general progress made by Scotland is covered by Hechter’s Internal Colonialism: the Celtic Fringe in British National Development 1536– 196635 and this is used periodically in the remainder of the book. In Chapter Three on Social Control, Elias’ Civilizing Process comes in for further debate. With attention on access to the food supply we see contributions by C. Driver36, R. N. Salaman37 and N. Curtis-Bennett38. The cultural aspects of the use of alcohol are covered before moving on to the Scottish situation with H. Thompson39 and R.MacNish40. The various Acts of Parliament are detailed giving some background to the more formal dimensions of social control and a more sinister version of it comes out of reading MacKinnon41 and also D. Wilson42. R. Chamber’s works are another substantial source for the study, especially his Domestic Annals … to 1745, published in 1858. Marian McNeill, however, makes a significant contribution to the present work as a look at the bibliography reveals. She was an authority on Scottish cooking, the drinking habits of the Scots, and aspects of everyday life as portrayed through it calendar of feasts and festivals. In Chapter Three we are given an insight into An Orkney Childhood43 and in Chapters Five and Six we draw upon the more specific works. J. Ross who told the story of Whisky44, demonstrates that it is an important aspect of Scottish hospitality, and it makes a larger input into the discussion later on that spirit. Fullarton and Baird’s tract on alcohol45 is also relevant. (They were none too keen on drink as a factor in Scottish hospitality). G.M. Trevelyan’s English Social History, despite its rather specialist title, gives a good insight into Scottish life and in Chaucer to Victoria46 we are given detail relevant to much of the study. It is fair comment that on the matter of food and drink, the amount of literature is no less than staggering. There is an abundance of material published on Scotland and there is no imbalance between the historical description and that on modern cookery. When it comes to the general treatment, however, one finds that Scotland rarely receives a mention. In Elias’ Civilizing Process there is nothing and Braudel in his Capitalism and Material Life. Is very sparse in his comment. In a later work47, Elias covers State Formation and Civilization and comment on Scotland amounts to about two sentences. The same situation prevails for numerous general works and this of course, is the reason for carrying out the research. The author has been unable to locate any general treatment of the development of Scottish civilization using table artefacts and changing eating patterns. In company its situation to that depicted for Europe in the round, Scotland is portrayed as often being about a century behind up to the mid-nineteenth century.


We have now set the scene, described ways in which many of the important works are to be utilized. However, a few more sources and authors require mention and Daiches’ Companion to Scottish Culture48 incorporates several worthwhile articles of use to the study. Most significant of these is Tannahill’s article on Food. Alexander Fenton, Director of the Country Life Section of the Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh c1980 had written several items of interest49 to Chapter Four, as have two of his staff50. Sir Hugh Sinclair’s Statistical Account51 perhaps surprisingly does not dominate the research: neither do Johnson and Boswell, but they do have valid comment to make. Lady Grisell Baillie’s Household Book52 covering the years 1692 to 1733 deserves mention at this stage and it shows the everyday influences of France on Scottish life in earlier times and insight into the life of the aristocracy and servants in the early 1700s.

Personal Communications The list is extensive and there are many who have provided lengthy responses to my letters, who have seen details of the research in magazines and journals, or who have been sent details by those in the first two categories of respondents. Only a small number of respondents are mentioned in the book as few sent material that could be quoted. Most provided interesting book titles, locations of personal collections, pointed out libraries, museums and some loaned valuable manuscripts and lesser-known books. Perhaps of more importance, though, all provided the moral support which is engendered by an enormous pride which Scots have for our history and country. Some one hundred standard letters of general enquiry were sent to firms and organisations in Scotland in 1981 and about forty standard letters to curators of museums and libraries were sent at the same time. Many letters to private individuals were sent, each one dealing with a specific request or problem. With excellent response rates, a wealth of correspondence has ensued and it is appropriate to record my thanks to the individuals mentioned below both here and by letter when the research project came to its conclusion.

Gastronomy When the modern Scottish housewife goes out to get her shopping, or ‘messages’, she knows what she wants and also how to cook the food brought home. The influences upon what goes into that shopping basket are many and various but in a ‘gastronomic history’ we ought to confine the span of attention to events and availabilities in the past and emphasise their cumulative impact as opposed to stating that particular situations in Scottish history have had this or that specific effect. This study does not show what Scots eat today; it is more to do with what they have eaten in the past and in what social context. A wider understanding of the Scots gastronomic heritage will enable those with specific interests to move on to their own explanations to suit their own questions. Such interests can include modern nutrition, but extend to cultural history in relation to one of man’s most basic needs – food. Broadly speaking ‘gastronomy’ incorporates concern for the ways in which different social groups experience different dietaries and/or apply different cooking techniques and consumption patterns to the same foods. It needs to be stated that the term food also comprises drink in the non-specific sense of those commodities which pass into the human alimentary system beyond drugs. The work does not set out to distinguish between the two commodities until specific foods and the specific question of drink are dealt with. In its turn, ‘gastronomy’ is not given to a specific sociological use unless there are statements to the contrary. A fair number of issues are explored in the preliminary discussion of many topics in relation to their context within the British, if not European, gastronomic milieu. The relationship which Scotland has to this is a dual one : it has influenced it and has been influences by it. The extent to which it has influenced it has not been great if we reflect that 53 key writers such as Braudel and Elias seldom, if ever, mention Scotland. Generally speaking, the impact which Scotland has had on the European table is limited to a vague knowledge of haggis and ‘le Scotch broth’ and perhaps over-emphasis on the use of whisky. It is not a pivotal point of the present consideration to assess this impact or even the effect of Scotland on the European table in great detail. It is more appropriate to take Scotland as a separate unit. We are less concerned with impacts and effects on or caused by Scotland vis a vis anywhere else and more with its own identity. That identity is restricted to a


gastronomic identity and although the broad approach to the study has been so far indicated a brief excursion is required into the use of the term gastronomy. Some dictionaries give it as ‘the study of food’ and others ‘the art and science of good eating’. When talking about ‘Scottish gastronomy’ in a general way the term implies the totality of its foodstuffs and the drinks available in the past, and, if contextually appropriate, the present as well. Dimensions of food preparation are discussed as cookery and health is dealt with by placing a nutritional context to the discussion, thereby alleviating some of the confusion within the meaning whereby gastronomy is “ … to prepare food not just in a pleasant way but a healthy way too.”54 and “ … the reasoned comprehension of everything connected with the nourishment of man.”55 It was Brillat-Savarin who was one of the first to discuss man and food in the philosophical sense and boldly pronounced: “Show me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.”56 That issue is couched in terms of “man is what he eats” in the final chapter. Many writers use the term gastronomy in relation to high standards of food and drink and much of what has come down to us is written about the prominent people of previous ages. A bargain needs to be struck here in favour of those of far less prominence. Hegarty sees a connection between gastronomy and human pleasure in terms of these high standards of food and their bearing upon fellowship. We are more concerned with “ … the relationships between [food and] social occasions …”.57 But our social occasions must include the everyday meal as opposed to only detailing the fare at sumptuous banquets in the past. There is a more sociological meaning which can carry some synonymity with terms such as cooking. In his chapter “Cooking and the Domestic Economy”, Goody58 began by relating the nature of cooking to the “ … mode of consumption and the way it is related to production … in order to throw some light on the social processes at work.” Gellner59 in his review of Goody’s book, noted that “ … gastronomy is … a reflection of the level of development of the forces of production and coercion.” To Goody, the levels of production are indicated by : “The link between cuisine and ‘class’, with social groups being characterised by different styles of life.” 3 Bottomore60 identifies “ … difficulties with the concept of a ‘ruling class’ …” which is suggested by Gelner’s “forces” and “coercion”. The question of social control which is suggested by Gellner receives less attention by Goody than it does in the present study and within it social control as opposed to gastronomy extends to the idea that there was an upper class control over the supply of food to the lower classes. Goody hints at this when he mentions “The increased range of ingredients and menus resulting from exchange, tribute and commerce …” although he did not add that the upper classes would aim to be the sole beneficiaries from this. Due emphasis is placed in the present study on the diminished range of ingredients available to the Scottish family in previous centuries due to the lack of opportunity to exchange or conduct commerce. This was compensated in the Highlands by raids on the Lowlands to obtain even the basic foods: there was a ripple effect of further raids across the border into the north of England. Gastronomy, despite these potential variations in its use, is viewed as a flexible term and there is no intention of bestowing upon it any specific sociological meaning which has not had the benefit of a wider discussion and acceptance by sociologists. An indication of the lack of 61 that acceptance is provided by looking at Murcott’s The Sociology of Food and Eating and gastronomy is not discussed, defined or indexed. Some sociologists ask similar questions to those posed by nutritionalists and in considering the nature of food and the meal, both groups can be seen to meet each other an interface suggested by the wider connotations of gastronomy beyond high standards and pleasurable aspects of food. Barthes represents the sociological interest and Burgess and Dean are more nutritionally orientated. Barthes62 has asked “For what is food?” His answer is that: “It is not only a collection of products that can be used for statistical or nutritional studies. It is also, and at the same time, a system of communication, a body of images, a protocol of usages, situations and behaviours.” It is this kind of interpretation of what food is that concerns the present study. To look back at food availability, its preparation, its consumption and its social context is to see the communication, the images and protocols as they prevailed at a particular moment in time. “What is a meal?” is the question posed by Burgess and Dean. It is answered in terms of the “potentially inaccurate” frame of reference used by the specialist:


To the physiologist, a meal is a refilling of the gastric ‘hopper’ …To the psychologist … a meal is a phase or occasion of satisfying … a variety of needs and drives … To the social psychologist a meal is an institution of the household group. It is an occasion on which the role and status of each member of the household are demonstrated, clarified and maintained. In terms of … anthropology and sociology – a meal is one of a category of social institutions in which a variety of common and differential values, objectives and roles receive both practical and symbolic expression and modification.”63 In the physiological sense, we are interested in the way the gastric girnal (as it has been termed in Scotland) was filled – how the Scot chose to produce the foods which gave him most energy and satiety. Without expanding the terminology to include such newly created words such as ‘gastropsychology’, one extension of ‘gastronomy’ has been in use for some time. ‘Gastrogeography’ enables us to see that: “The world can be divided into culinary zones which are as marked as those provided by political boundaries, altitudes, rain, religion, crops, skin colourings and other geographical factors which are mapped in modern atlases “64 Within the same political, religious (broadly) and skin colour (in the past) boundary separating Britain from the rest of the world there are marked differences in local diet as Hughes65 clearly established. Little attention was paid to the reasons for such differences and Dennis-Jones reminds us of some of them relating to altitudes, rain and crops. The study will progress to consider some of these and other factors. Goody, however, points out the potential disappearance of such gasto-geographical frontiers: “In advanced countries the industrial process and its related modes of communication, such as mass newspapers, radio and especially television, have almost erased many of the external boundaries defining areas of food consumption, as well as rubbing out some of the internal differences between classes and regions.”66 In bringing these differences into extinction, the history of why they existed at all may have been lost to us hence the present study.

Economy, Agriculture and the Diet The aims of the present study include the provision of an account of the chief forces which have determined the modern Scottish diet and this is deemed to be of greater importance than providing a detailed analysis of what such a diet comprises. Economic factors are obviously vital in determining any diet and if a national diet is co-relational to the state of its economy to study the latter is to raise questions relating to the standard of living, and by that fact, the diet of those who make up the nation. The last three hundred years had seen the economic history of Scotland turn full circle. At the outset of this period its role in a developing international economy was negligible. But before returning to such a level it saw, and took up a leadership position.67 The comparisons between its economy and its dietary fortunes bear witness during the same period not so much to ‘full circle’ but to a sharp decline at the start followed by a slower rate of decline until the middle of the nineteenth century. The summer diet of the Scot between 1500 and the mid 1600s was not excellent but it was probably high in protein. A main export was skins and the animals were obviously not discarded. In a sense, the trade surplus was food-led without its staple being lost abroad – the inedible wrappers were the objects of trade, the flesh a bounty. Such plentiful supply of fresh meat was to lay down a good basis on which to start the ardours of the cold winters if not to provide the larder with salt and smoked meat. The home production of grain is a more difficult situation to generalise at this stage, but with supply at the mercy of the weather – many harvests are on record as being failures centuries before records began formally in 1921. There were other factors such as export/import policies and the laird’s larder to be filled first, which seriously affected the quantity available on the free market and the amount paid in kind to the agricultural worker. According to Trevelyan: “Social history might be defined negatively as the history of a 68 people with the politics left out.” Although anyone might want to leave out the politics in a social history of a people’s food and drink for want of avoiding unnecessary complications, some reference to the political context needs to be made when considering, for example, the


national policy on exporting grain at a particular time. However, when the period of interest includes such a major event as the Union of Parliaments in 1707, to exclude politics of any kind would amount to wilful neglect. The year 1707 did not bring about the primary movement in the development of the Scottish economy as there had been significant efforts to follow English approaches in the preceding century. Neither did it bring economic solutions immediately, since England was to become both partner and competitor in the international market place. If the effect of adjusting tariff barriers had any impact on the Scottish economy it was not noticeable to any great extent in the diet. England was the dominant force in the economic relationship and some of the effects (but obviously not the modern techniques) of what today is termed ‘agribusiness’a were noticeable in Scotland. As will later be developed, the Scottish economy was very much agrarian and the ‘absentee landlord’ only exacerbated the damaging characteristics of the situation. While oatmeal itself may be part of a separate nutritional ‘full circle’ whereby it can be highlighted by the apologists for high-fibre, the culinary uses of this commodity may well be restricted to dishes such as porridge and herring with oatmeal. Before people jump on the bandwagon of a limited amount of researchb which suggests that whisky and oatmeal improve health, the cookbook writers need to come up with numerous ways to make oatmeal more palatable to a nation which has consigned it to the same bin as its virtually deal language Gaelic. When Scottish agriculture is the object of attention, consideration will be paid to the failure of lairds and landowners, to deploy their potential influence on the economic development of the Scottish diet. The situation was exaggerated by the abolition of the Scottish Parliament and with the power centre later confirmed as being in London, the landed gentry of Scotland used the famous dirks worn at social events to cut their ties with their clansmen.69 It has been considered important to cover the food supply as it determines the diet. With the importance of agriculture in the Scottish economy it is appropriate to look at not only what food was produced but also those involved with its production. Inevitably there were foods which were imported and this fact needs to be evaluated in the light of the political thinking of any specific time. The Highland Clearances brought about changes in the use of land and men were exchanged for sheep with the subsequent exchange of deer and accompanying hunters. Those bullets may well have served better to shorten the agony of the starving clansmen. For those who were unwilling to endure the dwindling food supply, the high prices for meagre sustenance and the concomitant disinheritance, the main opportunity lay in emigration. While the survival of ‘tartan food’ at Thistle Club and the Caledonian Societies all over the world is an interesting social, if not gastronomic phenomenon, it falls outside the scope of the present study. Its mention here can remind us of the intense nationalism of the Scot and the unhappy gastronomical result that in order to keep its history alive the variety in modern daily food intake is perhaps as restricted in extent and real worth although different in content from that 70 prevailing a century or two in the past.


Chapter 2 FOOD AND SOCIETY The Necessity of a Food Surplus It is necessary to outline briefly the evolution of the bearing which food availability has on the progression from early man who ate berries to modern man who can produce synthetic ones if he so wishes. Man’s first food problem was making food more available to him, while his present one concerns a more even distribution. Our interest here, however, is the various stages through which man has gone before reaching ‘civilization’. Until man solved his ‘first food problem’ there could be no society or culture. This problem was not so much the day-to-day one of the next meal – with small numbers of men chasing a probably disproportionately large supply of animals and this supported by a good supply of fruit, nuts and berries – there was no shortage of food. Neither was his ‘first food problem’ geared to the edibility of meat before the use of fire. Man’s first food problem was the accumulation of a surplus from which he could draw in times of special need or temporary lack of supply. The security of a surplus of food has significance in terms of a surplus of time to experiment and improve the edibility of available food and to look around the less immediate environment to see what it had to offer. Using the Indian myth as a basis for statements Levi-Strauss,1 comments that “the cooking of meat and the cultivation of food plants as simultaneous starting points, leads, in the first instance, to the achievement of culture, and in the second instance, to the achievement of society; …”. Bates would concur: “The adoption of the carnivorous habit was probably one of the major steps in human evolution, especially since hunting, by such a feeble creature as man, must have at the same time involved tool-using and group co-operation, providing a base for man’s social evolution.” 2 Levi-Strauss and Bates, however did not take into account the basic tenet of food surplus as being ‘reserve stock’ which leans towards the long accepted Marxian notion that the work of one man can maintain the lives of himself and several others. Goody, however, placed greater emphasis upon agriculture: “For it was the move from extensive shifting cultivation by means of the hoe to the intensive forms of farming linked with irrigation and the plough that provided the possibility of large-scale surplus and laid the socioeconomic foundation for a cultural hierarchy”3. Agriculture, per se, is of sufficient importance to deserve separate treatment which we will come to in Chapter Four. Neither the hoe nor the plough, however, were much use in defending any agricultural and/or territorial rights and thus the sword was more prominent in the emerging “cultural hierarchy” based upon the feudal system created to protect and perpetuate various forms of surplus. We look at some issues connected with this in Chapter Three.

The Civilising Process “The mere smell of cooking can evoke a whole civilisation” 4 So far, the importance of agriculture has been indicated in relation to the general evolution of man and the emergence of “cultural hierarchy” as Goody put it. At our end of that evolution is civilization which we take for granted. Herbert5 calls it “a social theory” which was “the subject of much leaned debate in its hey day” when “to civilize” was a legal term concerned with transferring a case from a criminal to a civil court. “But the new substantive, with the ‘ization’ at its conclusion suggesting a forward-driving historical process, was at the time, a glamorous neologism.”6 With a surfeit of material to draw upon it is appropriate to seek a statement which tells us what is is. To Braudel it is “ … the ancient settlement of a certain section of mankind in a certain place …”7 More specific to our interest here Elias8 saw that “It can refer to … the manner in which men and women live together … or to the way in which food is prepared.” But Elias was more concerned for the action of civilizing; “What must be pointed out here is the simple fact that even in civilized society no human being comes into the world civilized, and that the individual civilizing process that he compulsorily undergoes is a function of the


social civilizing process.”9 Elias is not the only one to have made such comment: “ … every individual is born into a culture that existed prior to his birth. This culture seizes upon him at birth and as he grows and matures, equips him with language, customs, beliefs, instruments etc. In short, it is culture that provides him with the form and content of his behaviour as a human being.”10 Having afforded a brief discussion on the nature of civilization, ‘culture’ presents too much of a challenge to be debated so quickly. Much has been written on culture, and T.S. Eliot “observed with growing anxiety the career of this word … during the last six or seven years”11 and added that “its important role is, of course, doubled by the word civilisation”. He did not differentiate between the two words as it would only produce an artificial distinction. In a similar way it must be said that between early and modern man, in terms of the evolution of culture, the stages are complex and defy glossing over. We can reflect upon three stages proposed by Elias: courtesy, civility and civilization. ‘Courtesy’ is concerned with life at the medieval court, ‘civility’ implied the life in the French court of the later Louis(s) and civilization’, of course, is taken to mean our present mode of living. Elias begins “A Review of the Curve Marking the Civilization of Eating Habits”. The debate comes to a focus: “The more rapid movement begins later here, earlier there, and everywhere one finds slight preparatory shifts. Nevertheless, the overall shape of the curve is everywhere broadly the same: first the medieval phase, with certain climax in the flowering of knightly-courtly society, marked by eating with hands. Then a phase of relatively rapid movement and change, embracing roughly the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, in which the compulsions to elaborate eating behaviour press constantly in one direction, toward a new standard of table manners.” 12 The “new standard” is civility, the important stage before what we accept as modern civilization. Its code relating to the social graces of the table such as the use of cutlery and napkins is used to show the progression from one stage to another.

Courtesy At the centre of the developing agricultural system were those who consumed the food surplus and who had rights relating to the mobilization of the land-force as an army when the need arose. The centre, or court was where society was being developed and the standards set there spread to the provinces. As we will soon come to realise, the standards of table manners in those times would invoke horror and disgust in many today. While the upper classes may have been developing new norms and criteria for social acceptance and acquiring the utensils and implements to be used in specific ways many of their actions would be unacceptable in the modern setting. “… a London will of 1424/25 lists ‘Wassyng-towels, bothe for mete and after’. It was the custom to wash hands at the beginning and end of a meal, but whereas the first occasion was a polite formality, the second was a necessity”.13 Elias uses Erasmus to make the point about changing standards and levels of embarrassment. “One ought to wash one’s hands before a meal, says Erasmus. But there is as yet no soap for this purpose. Usually the guest holds out his hands, and a page pours water over them … The fingers become greasy. ‘Digitos unctos vel ore praelingers vel ad tunicam extergere … incivile est,’ says Erasmus. It is not polite to lick them or wipe them on one’s coat. Often you offer others your glass, or all drink from a communal tankard. Erasmus admonishes: ‘ wipe your mouth beforehand.’ You may want to offer someone you like some of the meat you are eating. ‘Refrain from that’, says Erasmus, ‘it is not very decorous to offer something half-eaten to another’.” 14 The feeling of revulsion resulting upon such a quotation is a measure of our own level of civilization and we have gone as far as we need to with quotations of the kind given. Elias15 gives many which are far worse and fortunately we do not need them to illustrate anything in particular here. The point which Elias makes is that at any specific time there will exist standards of behaviour as beacons of social control, table behaviours being the most commonly cited. To keep the discussion of courtesy to a minimum we can give here the quotation which Elias takes from the Zedler Universal Lexicon of 1736: “Courtesy undoubtedly gets its name from the court and court life. The courts of great lords are a theater where everyone wants to make his fortune. This can only be done by winning the favour of the prince and the most important people of the court.” The basic principles of etiquette were being established. White put it rather well; “By means of these definitions, prescriptions, and prohibitions, each individual is made to conform to his class and the classes are thereby kept intact.”16 In order to keep on the right side of the king it was obviously tactful


to conform to the standards of behaviour laid down in his court. We take up that issue in terms of Scotland when the alternative was to ‘remove’ MacBeth.

Civility In the ‘civility’ stage, etiquette was very much in the stage of formulation. “When the plate is dirty you should ask for another; it would be revoltingly gross to clean spoon, fork, or knife with the fingers.”17 On page 53, Elias discusses the way in which this concept of civilitè came to be accepted in Western society. He relates it to the formation of manners and regards it as “… an expression and symbol of a social formation …”18. Ross, however, was more specific when he remarked that “Nothing is more certain than that manners, far from growing up spontaneously, early get the social sanction behind them, and are forced into vogue. Propriety gets codified as soon as morality.”19 Veblen took up the manifestations of manners and noted that they “… are in part an elaboration of gesture, and in part they are symbolic and conventionalised survivals representing former acts of dominance or of personal service or of personal contact. In large part they are an expression of the relation of status – a symbolic pantomime of mastering on the one hand and of subservience on the other.”20 The pantomime was probably in greatest evidence in the bowing and gross hand-flourishing in the final years of the French court and the ‘Dandy Period’ in England. “The specific stamp and function …” of civility was achieved in the middle of the sixteenth century. Elias informs us that “Its individual starting point can be exactly determined.” The date given is 1530, when Erasmus’ De civilitate morum puerilium (On civility in children) was published. “It contains simple thoughts delivered with great seriousness, yet at the same time with much mockery and irony, in clear, polished language and with enviable precision.”21 Elias asserts that “… the actual change in the behavior of the upper classes, the development of the models of behavior which will henceforth be called ‘civilized’, takes place – at least so far as it is visible in the areas discussed here – in the middle phase.” (ie civility)22 Remembering that we are concerned with three stages – courtesy, civility and civilization, “They indicate which society is speaking and being addressed at a given time.”23 As society progresses the phase which has just been left is soon forgotten but it has left its mark.

Civilization Further to any elaboration of the meaning of civilization previously given we can move on quickly to the change in “sense of self”. Herbert talks of the “sense-of-self” within a “repertoire of roles” 24 And, somehow, that “sense-of-self” has changed from generation to generation. “… the manner in which the individual behaves and feels slowly changes. This change is in the direction of a gradual civilization but only historical experience makes clearer what this word actually means.” 25 That “historical experience” can be assessed on the basis of looking at the progression in terms of table artefacts in use and any detail relating to that use to indicate levels of table manners. “Nothing in table manners is self-evident or the product, as it were, of a ‘natural’ feeling of delicacy. The spoon, fork, and napkin are not invented by individuals as technical implements with obvious purposes and clear directions for use. Over centuries, in direct social intercourse and use, their functions are gradually defined, their forms sought and consolidated. Each custom in the changing ritual, however minute, establishes itself infinitely slowly, even forms of behavior that to us seem quite elementary or simply ‘reasonable’, such as the custom of taking liquid only with the spoon. Every movement of the hand – for example, the way in which one holds and moves knife, spoon or fork – is standardized only step by step.” 26 Elias however was concerned with the very gradual change from one form of behaviour to another. Here we do not go too deeply as we are interested in the stages rather than the minutae. “A table laid in the modern way and our present table manners are the result of many details that custom has imposed slowly, one by one, and in ways that vary according to region.” 27 Variations through time can be given to indicate the detail that has changed at various stages. In the medieval stage, the trencher was the forerunner of the plate.28 The spoon and knife did not become an everyday item until the sixteenth century.29 Thomas Coryate introduced the fork around 1600.30 Napkins came into use in the twelfth century31, but


combined use as a handkerchief prevailed in Scotland up to 172032. The initial assertion at the start of Chapter 1 that Scotland was a century behind Europe in such matters is just an average position. In this case, Scotland was centuries behind Europe.

Culture and Cookery The distinction between those for whom food is enjoyment and others who perceive it only as a necessity was well drawn by Molière. “Il faut manger pour vivre et non pas vivre pour manger (one should live to eat not eat to live). Such distinction helps to highlight the position of food within a culture. Feret remarks: “To those who eat to live, cooking is nothing more than a habit or a daily chore imposed by necessity and reinforced by custom. Humankind must eat and the usual manner of preparing food is common everyday knowledge in all societies. Ways of treating food to make it more palatable have been and continue to be handed down from generation to generation, principally as an oral rather than a written tradition. For this reason, for many cultures, there is comparatively little in written form to tell us specifically how food was prepared or served in times past; there is also little to tell us how specific dishes evolved into their present forms. “When there is a certain amount of wealth this attitude toward cooking and dining changes. To those who can afford to live to eat, the preparation of food may no longer be an attempt at making a necessity more palatable; rather, cooking may become a delightful amusement or even an absorbing science.”33 It is an underlying premise of the present work that Scotland never reached the stage of being able to “live to eat” and despite the numerous and exciting modern cookery books detailing its dishes, many of these have been almost completely changed in modernising them.34 It has already been asserted that France left the wrong legacy (e.g. Ashet of cold meats as will be discussed in the ‘Auld Alliance’) which is surprising considering the ‘Molierism’ which underpins its attitude to food. T.S. Eliot might have seen it as a matter affecting the whole of Britain. “If we take culture seriously, we see that a people does not need merely enough to eat (though even that is more than we seem able to ensure) but a proper and particular cuisine: one symptom of the decline in Britain is indifference to the art of preparing food.”35 There are several points arising from what Feret has put forward. “ … the usual manner of preparing food is common everyday knowledge in all societies” and is suggested in Elias’ socio-genesis where one accepts the cultural framework into which one is born. We can propose a ‘gastro-genesis’ taking us beyond “preparing food” to summarise the culinary / dietary system which we accept as normal. The oral-written dichotomy relating to the tradition of passing on detail of “ways of treating food to make it more palatable” relates to what will be assessed in Chapter Five. On the matter of Feret’s comment concerning the evolution of dishes we need to maintain a specific research template when covering the history of Scottish dishes. In order to conclude anything relating to reasons for any differences in the qualitative diet in Scotland compared, say, to England we will need a little more than mere statistics concerning firlots of oats consumed in the year 1805, or whenever, to guide us. In examining the evolution of Scottish diet it would be useful to bear in mind Grivetti and Pangborn’s “cultural perceptions”. Their remark36 “… diets develop in accord with cultural perceptions. Individuals and societies exploit those food resources perceived as offering satisfaction of social needs.” is apt. We will see that “culture shapes the diet.”37 A good coverage of the basic points made so far will enable us to be reasonably concise in looking at the Scottish table in terms of the words used. It is not essential that the stages courtesy and civility or civility and civilization are seen as being mutually exclusive any more than Elias purported them to be.


The Civilisation of the Scottish Table Before ‘Courtesy’ “Civilization has hitherto consisted in the diffusion and dilution of habits arising in privileged centres. It has not sprung from the people. It has arisen in their midst by a variation from them and it has afterwards imposed itself on them from above.”38 This Scottish perception of civilization is parallel to that of Elias in terms of social control. MacDiarmid wrote these line is Stony Limits and Other Poems, (his “middle period, the first phase of his English writing” when “seeking desperately for a tradition in which to work” – according to Daiches.39 It is an unwitting admission to the machinery of social control and more than likely an attack upon “all the touts, toadies and lickspittles of the English Ascendancy …” It is appropriate to include those references which assert a bold Anglicization of the Scottish gastronomic heritage but without being biased in the selection. Those other Celts, however, took a stronger stand and Welsh, for example, is a significant means of communication there especially compared with Gaelic in Scotland. Scotland, like England, suffered a French invasion and the results show themselves in different ways. England and Scotland obtained euphemisms for its meat (mutton versus sheep), and Scotland obtained a more linguistically based heritage with gigots (legs of lamb) and adapted French words (assiettes became ashets for example). We will look at the linguistic heritage afforded by the Auld Alliance in due course: there is a more urgent job to do at present which is to trace the development of Scottish eating and drinking through time: the imposition of civilization from above, as MacDiarmid put it, is all apparent. Also apparent is the influence of England. Mackinnon40 describes life in Scotland in what we might call the ‘pre-courtesy’ stage during the third and fourth centuries AD: “They ground the corn which they reaped from the surrounding lands in stone querns or handmills. They reared the goat, the sheep, the ox, the pig, the dog and the horse, hunted the deer, and fished the bays and lochs. The presence of moulds and crucibles shows that they made their own ornaments and articles of domestic use such as … drinking cups etc. The woman … ground the grain …” Mention of the pig is interesting and some considerable amount of space is devoted to the alleged aversion to pork later on. Or interest at this stage is more concerned with the rise of the standard of living and diet using mention of foodstuffs and table artefacts etc, as a measure of the progress being made. We will presume that life proceeded in a similar style until the middle of the eleventh century and the assassination of Macbeth by Malcolm Canmore.

Chivalry before Courtesy “In the reign of Malcolm III began a series of changes which touched every side of the national life and after a century left Scotland with a new language, a new race of rulers, new manners, and new modes of worship. For these changes the King may have been in some degree responsible. The fourteen years he had spent at the court of Edward the Confessor must have taught him the English language and may have removed some of his Celtic intolerance of English customs.” From Mackie’s account41 we can discern several things. English language, the increasing adoption of English customs and Malcolm’s influence generally. It is overstating it somewhat, at least for our study of early Scottish gastronomy, to rely on “the King may have been responsible” as his reluctant bride Margaret can claim the credit for social if not gastronomic progress. Mackie describes the flight of “Edgar Atheling, the nephew of Edward the Confessor, with his mother, and his two sisters, Margaret and Christina.” Margaret had wanted to become a nun and it was two years before she married Malcolm. In the security of her position as Queen Margaret “… She waged war against the old free and easy customs of the Scottish court. The King was now surrounded by a brilliant retinue; his palace was hung with variously coloured cloths and shone with gold and silver; the dishes on the royal table were now all of gold and silver, or at least gilt.”42 Margaret almost certainly waged war on courtly life (holding back development of the contents of those gold and silver dishes) as depicted by Leslie: “In the lyfe and maneris of the auld scottis schyned not that kind of brauitie [grandeur] quhilke [which] in their dayes we see all nationnis craue [crave]. For


this was thair maner of leiving, … , that nathir was thay seine diligate [delicate] in thair table nor arnat in thair cleithing … draue [draw] nocht [did not fritter away their life] ouer thair age in curious cheir, and thair lyfe in daintie and diligat disches, or in taisting fyne wines, and the sueitter [more undiluted drink] drinkes as is the commoune custome … over al.” 43 The effect of St. Margaret as she later became is not generally seen as an English influence on the history of Scotland at that time but Machie seems quite convinced: “the next half-century, during which three sons of Margaret reigned in succession, witnessed the completion of the change which Margaret had begun.” 44 Lamb would seem to agree in principle with the general progress being made at this time: “The early Middle Ages were certainly a period of high civilization, with the King (Malcolm III), from his seat in Dunfermline, offering sanctuary from 1067 onward to Anglo-Saxon exiles from England who settled in towns and villages all over Scotland … The next 200 years came to be regarded afterwards as a golden age in that country, with steadily increasing prosperity …”45 Bearing in mind that Lamb is a climatologist, one should neither take his “next 200 years” nor “civilization” too literally. But the influences of English Culture was more complicated than offering sanctuary as Hechter suggests in terms of those living in the south of Scotland: “The cultural origins of the lowland Scots are shrouded in obscurity. One plausible hypothesis is that late in the tenth or early in the eleventh centuries, English lands between the Forth and the Tweed, then known as Lothian, became part of the Scottish Kingdom. They had once been part of the northernmost English principality of Northumbria, thoroughly English, and quite distinct from the Celtic and Norse amalgams of Northern Scotland.”46 But that which was “thoroughly English” became affected by the Norman invasion. Barrow described “Scotland, 1100 – 1488” and noted three themes “between the death of Malcolm Canmore III and Saint Margaret in 1093 and the accession of James IV in 1488.” (1097 – 1286).47 The first was the achievement of unity, the second was the onslaught of the three English Edwards (1296 – 1357) and the third was when “the harsh simplicities of the Norman era yielded to the Auld Alliance and to the age of chivalry …” (1358 – 1488). Our concern is less for the onslaught of English Kings and more for the change from one stage of the civilizing process to another. Barrow thought that the age of chivalry extended from 1358 – 1488. During that time there was progress made in what happened at the table and Margaret had perhaps, created the first demands which Leslie said did not exist for “dainty and liligat dishes or … fyne wines”. The advent of the age of chivalry is perhaps described by Mackenzie. A limiting factor in the historical information is that the focus is often upon those in power while we have a wide interest which also encompasses “the black-bearded men at arms”. By way of illustration, as it were, Mackenzie discusses what went on in the castle of the twelfth century: “Here he dwelt, with his family and retainers in rude magnificence. Daily, in the great stone hall, the board was spread for the household, the lord himself sitting at the head of the long oaken table, while the steam of boiled meat, or roast and of stew, obscured the vaulted roof of the sombre hall, and the blackbearded men of arms passed round the pitcher of mighty ale. Under the table the dogs growled and fought for the bones and offal of the feast, among the rushes or straw with which the floor was thickly covered. Carpets were not used for the floors but for table covers.”48 He is, however, reasonable and gives us much information about the fare of the lesser individuals as can be seen later in his discussion. No doubt a similar picture can be described for the next century and Lowenberg garnishes it for us: “During the thirteenth century, cloth tablecloths came into use; it was then acceptable to wipe one’s fingers on the edges. The tablecloth had to be changed several times during a feast.”49 Little progress is apparent if we believe Innes’ account of the early fifteenth century. Under the margin note 1424 he describes the Scottish domestic situation.“ … The Government encouraged building … the buildings were like the people, poor and mean in taste … Such a dwelling … recalls the time when the rural baron and his family, visitors, vassals, retainers, servants rural and domestic, lived and scrambled for their food, all crowded together in the one hall – a gloomy cold apartment – when the offal of the board was fought for by the dogs below it, and the garbage was hid among foul straw which might be renewed when harvest produced a supply – when the furniture was limited to the moveable


boards on which the meat was served, and a few stools and settles of deal – when carpets, curtains, window glass, comfort, cleanliness, were unknown –“50 That limited furniture probably included a ‘counter’. When we pay at a shop counter we may be forgiven for not knowing that its history shows that it was ruled across and down for the purpose of placing tokens or counters, their positions and numbers thus aiding the calculation process. (Warrack gives the alternative name Comptour which, when considering the French Comptoire, lends more support for the influence of the ‘Auld Alliance’). The earlier history of the counter indicates its origins as an ordinary table although “Early inventorys show that in a large number of (Scottish) houses (in the fifteenth century) there was no table but the counter: sometimes ‘ane comptar with furmes’ (a counter and forms or benches) is mentioned, clearly showing that it was used for the household meals.”51 Innes describes the commerce of “Andrew Haliburton, a Scotch merchant52 … for the most part a buyer and seller on commission53 …” In around 1493 Haliburton acts as agent to the Duke of Ross who exported salmon to Bruges.54 In return he received, among other items, “… 3 greater dozen of pewder veschall” which, we are told in the useful glossary on page 345, refers to pewter plates. The same extract gives “a dossyn of serviatis cost 9s” [9 shillings] 55 We notice that MacKenzie’s carpets have not been transferred to the floor but the temporary table is still being used. Lowenberg’s tablecloths we will presume were not in use on the day described by Innes. We should discount any growling dogs included to give the verisimilitude and we are spared them in Grant’s rendering of the entertainment given in a Scottish castle to “distinguished visitors in 1537.” They are taken up to the first floor: “… where the lord, his family, his retainers and his servants all fed together. If it were at meal times, trestle tables would be set along each side of the wall. Those who were dining all sat along one side of the long tables on benches and low stools, … honoured guests sat upon a raised dais … at one end of the hall … called the ‘hie burd’.56 Grant goes on to describe the lord’s “great carved chair” and other guests’ cushions or even hangings on their benches.”57 Warrack gives a similar description: “On the first floor is the great hall, an apartment some thirty feet long, or more, in which the evening meal is about to be served. … A long narrow table is set across one end of the room and at this the principal persons, some six or eight in number, take their seats … This table is known as the ‘high burde’ and it stands on a dais some inches higher than the rest of the floor … The less important members of the household are seated at side tables (against the wall) so that each table is left free for service from the middle of the room”58 All those seated at the meal have their heads covered, the ladies, according to Scottish fashion, wearing kerchiefs draped from a high structure of real or false hair in the form of two horns … We are told that the “greater folk would use pewter, the lesser ones, wooden platters, or even merely slices of bread instead of any plate at all.” The social convention demanding that everyone brought his own knife and forks did not exist. “People would just eat with their fingers. But they had to do this very daintily for there were strict rules for good table manners”59 Even those at the ‘high-board’ had nothing more than their own knife. “In earlier times there was no distinction between the knives used for hunting or carving and those used at the table, for it was customary at meal times to use a clasp knife which was carried about in the pocket or girdle. In the Middle Ages only princes and nobles had special knives for cutting up their food, and these they carried with them when they travelled.”60 “Forks were unknown and food was carried to the mouth by the fingers. Politeness required that only three fingers, that is two fingers and the thumb, shall be used in handling food; and in drinking, the cup was to be lifted in the same way.”61 While we are spared the details which Erasmus would have enjoyed giving, Grant notes that: “People of refinement all had table napkins and a page was in attendance with a basin and a ewer.” 62 The napkin was originally placed on the shoulder and it was not for a hundred years or so that it was tied around the neck. On the table itself the most notable is the saltfatt, or salt cellar, often of elaborate design and considerable size. It had a quasi-ceremonial importance and servants were instructed that after the cloth (note that there is no mention of carpets per earlier discussion) was laid they must first see that the salt cellar was in place; after that the knives, then the bread, and last of all the food. “The division of the table into ‘above and below the salt’ is not a mediaeval one, for those who were socially inferior sat at separate tables”63


“Looking around the hall, we see that the floor is covered with rushes or bent grass. A ‘lyar’ or rug is stretched in front of the fire, and on it there are several cushions or footstools.” While the meal may have been taken at demountable trestle tables this is not to say that there were no tables as we know them. The service table for keeping silver and pewter vessels was the “table dormant”64 which term was used in England. Warrack comments that “Furniture in Scotland was made for convenience, not for display, to keep dishes and napery out of the way of dust and accidents, and it was accordingly made locally of fir or other cheap wood and consisted of plain, serviceable pieces with little or no pretension to artistic treatment.”65

Civility Moving on to the sixteenth century and : “Passing to the Hall, we find a dignified apartment whose walls are hung with … tapestry. The wide fireplace … is fitted with a ‘chimnay’ or grate, of iron.” Warrack comments that for the first time66 in Scotland a cupboard is seen in the hall although its English counterpart was in everyday use since the fourteenth century. Towards the end of the sixteenth century the “lady of fashion” as Warrack67 describes her would have awakened to a brightly burning fire in front of which she would have been cosseted by her two maidens. Her toilet completed she would drink “a cup of Malvoisie sweetened with sugar” before ordering the preparation of her “’disjune’ or dejeuner consisting perhaps of a freshly roasted pair of plovers, a partridge, and a quail with a cup of sack.” We could take a reminder here that this extensive meal was breakfast. Warrack includes mention of more meats taken at midday dinner. There is no mention of any more food until supper which is “the meal of the day”. As the later part of the James VI reign was reached “The mediaeval hall was out of date and must needs be replaced by a family dining room. Their nostrils having become too sensitive to tolerate the smell of cooking, the kitchen had to be banished to a remoter part of the house … the hall was abandoned as a ‘living room’ and the meals and the family life in general were transferred from it to the more secluded apartments beyond.” As the need for military protection lessened there was a movement away from the castle and an increase in the extent of agriculture. The general approach in the works cited in this discussion shows quite clearly that Scotland was a good century behind England’s standard of living. This was obviously felt by those in the court. Grant generalises about the period 1400 – 1600: “Nevertheless, the Scots nobles’ increased desire for the same elegancies that their peers of other nations enjoyed is an important point, for it emphasized the relatively increasing poverty of the upper classes of Scotland compared to those living elsewhere. The land was becoming more and more insufficient for the provision of the rising standard of living that they required. This can be seen very clearly in the case of the king but it was also the case with the lords and barons. From the very beginning of our period they were much in touch with the courts of other nations … At the beginning of the period, when agricultural produce was the main source of wealth, Scotland was less well dowered than other countries. At the end of the sixteenth century, when commerce and manufactures were making England and France rich, but when Scotland was still at the more primitive stage in her economic development, the contrast must have been much more glaring.”68 This contrast remained for some considerable time. MacKinnon has provided some detail relating to social conditions in the first half of the eighteenth century which “differed little from those prevailing in the previous century”: “Whilst … lords and lairds had little money to dispose of there was plenty of substantial food on their tables, in virtue of the payment of rent in poultry and other kinds of produce. The standard of comfort was still, however, rather primitive … Food was eaten from wooden or pewter plates. Glasses were scarce … and in many households the ale or wine was drunk from the same glass, which went round the table. Knives and forks were not too plentiful and it was


not considered boorish to pick the bones and make use of the knife to convey food to the mouth.”69 A similar comment about using the same glass was noted by Graham. The topic of claret as the main drink at this time is discussed much later. “In the simpler, ruder days, about 1730, Lord Kames says that when the French wine was put down in a tin pint vessel a single drinking glass served a company for an entire evening, and the first persons who called for a fresh glass with each new pint was considered too luxurious.”70

Civilization MacKinnon, however, points to the middle of that century as being the watershed. “From about 1760 the old ways underwent a marked transformation. New mansion houses, better furnishings, a more varied diet, and more sumptuous fashion came in … Another indication of … improvement was the general use of forks and knives at table, which had previously been unknown among the country people at least. The diet of the farming class, if not so generally that of their servants, showed a corresponding advance in the greater use of meat.”71 But such comment was passed in the light of the aftermath of the 1707 Union when ‘civilization’ is not limited to the idea that it arrived as a result of Scotland having an increased contact with England’a More detail of the civilizing process is given relating to specific food and drink in Chapters 5 and 6.


Chapter 3 SOCIAL CONTROL Social Control and Agriculture Mention has been made of social control and we can move from sources with which we are familiar to those which will be new. Elias’ view of social control has already been indicated and is concerned with the movement to conform to standards of manners. The kind of social control under discussion by Elias is mainly class relative. It is the control of entry to the upper classes – a control by exclusion. Within the present study, however, this kind of social control is limiting as it does not concern direct access to the food supply. While Braudel does not actually use the term, his ‘social control’ would be couched in economic terms. “The attitude of the bourgeois hardened considerably towards the end of the sixteenth century, and even more in the seventeenth. The problem was to place the poor in a position where they could do no harm …”1 The most obvious place to exercise control over the poor is to put them into a workhouse. Foucault2 saw the logical extensions of this enclosure as being the boarding school, military barracks, workshops and the modern factory. He did not consider the agricultural extension of the workhouse ideal and Chapter Four of the present study goes into some detail relative to the Scottish situation. Within the present chapter we can provide an introduction in terms of earned hospitality whereby the agricultural worker earned his bed and board in return for his labour as a ploughman and soldier.

The Food Supply and Social Control It is argued in the chapter on agriculture that the landowners in Scotland held control over the supply of food (and accommodation) to their workers. Of less concern in that chapter but by way of looking at it in a general way we ought to establish that this type of situation is well rooted in our social system. “In Britain, hierarchical differentiation in cuisine has been exceptionally well marked since 1066, when an alien conqueror’s highly articulated food culture became, and remains to this day, a powerful instrument of social control … The Norman culinary invasion ensured that all subsequent breaks and divisions in British food culture would tend to be expressed in terms of social class and status, rather than of food as such.”3 Had there been a different form of land allocation and subsequently, land ownership, those ‘on the land’ may have had a different history to tell. Thus the lords and lairds took what they wanted as part of the display of wealth as we will see in looking at Scottish hospitality. Those at the operative level of the creation of that wealth were forced to feed on a poverty diet. “If for any reason, good or bad, conscious or otherwise, it is in the interest of one economically stronger group to coerce another, then in the absence of political, legal or moral restraint, that task as enormously facilitated when the weaker group can either be persuaded or forced to adopt some simple, cheaply produced food as the mainstay of its subsistence. Experience shows that this course inevitably results in a lower standard of living. The lower that standard, the easier is the task of exploitation and the nearer will the status of the weaker class approximate to serfdom.”4 Salaman’s discussion is written in the context of the role of the potato in the economy of various societies. A more detailed discussion of this type of domination within Scotland will be found in Chapter Five. We can show the type of approach to be taken later by reflecting on the general control of the food supply. Salaman passes a comment relative to eighteenth century Europe: “It may be that it is seldom a cheap food has been designedly forced on European workers, with a view of lowering their wages, but the potato has certainly been used, and that of set purpose, with a view of preventing them from rising.”5 It will be shown that commodities such as oatmeal and turnips are synonymous with the word potato in quotations such as this and in relation to Scotland.


‘Corn’ is another word which is interchangeable with ‘potato’ in the last quotation. CurtisBennet is not sure of his own references and states: “The growing of corn for subsistence had given place to the growing of corn for export. If, as one writer has put it, ‘the urban governments of the fourteenth century … were at pains to provide a cheap and regular food supply for the masses’, the state governments of the sixteenth and subsequent centuries were at pains to provide an easy and regular profit to the landlords and large scale farmer – at the general expense of the community.”6 Thus we have progressed from a fairly simplistic view7 that social control was concerned with the regulation of manners (simplistic in the sense that there is no immediately noticeable serious outcome for those who are controlled), to a fairly intricate notion of exploitation. Another writer has discussed “… the relationship between an eighteenth-century squire and his tenants in terms of social control …” relative to “ … exercising power in his own interests or at best enforcing a rival set of norms, the norms of the central government and his own class …”8 Bearing in mind that there was no ‘squirearchy’ in Scotland we can discuss similar hegemonic considerations in terms of the landowning (often absentee landlord) class and farmers in the chapter on Agriculture. These are taken to be ‘the middle class’ who, were they living much further south would have been involved in the pursuit of their own profit which political control of key aspects of the food supply permitted “at the general expense of the community” as Curtis-Bennet put it. Some, however, were opposed to such ideas. The Anti-Corn Law League was founded in March 1839 by the middle class and derived its economic operation from the burgeoning manufactories mainly in the north of England. Its working class equivalent came in the form of Chartism and was born of a reflex against middle class political radicalism. While representing interesting avenues of further debate there is plenty of material on Chartism, Anti-Corn Law League food riots and the effect of depressions.

Control of the Use of Alcohol ‘Ye’ll hae a wee dram’ Laws relating to the control of drink are at least as numerous as those which affect the production, distribution and consumption of food. Fortunately it is beyond the interest and scope of the present study to dwell upon the detail of either set of lawsa. No gastronomic history which includes the question of drink in Scotland can ignore the question of social control and it is the purpose of the present section to show where the later discussion will lead. A whole sociology of drink opens up with ‘You will have a wee dram?’ and the invitation has wide understanding in the English-speaking world beyond Scotland. It can mean ‘you will have one otherwise I will be upset’ and thus a basic rule of etiquette, to accept hospitality when offered, is broken if the answer is no. It also implies that it will be more than the absolute minimum which might be offered and accepted. We will explore the idea of whisky as ‘the language of hospitality’ in Scotland in Chapter 6: The Inordinate Love of Whisky. This emphasises the importance of the use of alcohol and if we are to look at it in Scottish society in the past an idea of the cultural overtones would be useful. “Qui feut premier, soif on beuverye? (What was first, thirst or drinking?)”9 The ingestion of certain fluids is often unrelated to actual bodily requirement and culture interferes with the demand mechanism. “The virtues of alcohol have been discovered independently by many peoples, and they have found many ways of producing the alcohol: through allowing the sweet sap of palms and other plants to ferment, through fermenting grains or fruits, through chewing starches (like manioc) and fermenting the saliva-mixed product. And primitive man ransacked the plant kingdom to find substances that could be drunk, chewed or inhaled for a lift, or for a temporary escape into the world of dreams. “These ‘perversities’ may be accepted and institutionalised by the culture, or they may be suppressed or hidden or deplored… “10


The acceptance of a particular product is to include it in the food-ways of a culture. The rejection of another product, albeit accepted by foreigners perhaps is to allocate it taboo status. Decisions are made, as Bates would concur, in the cultural context. The suppressions and hidings are deplored not only in the way people behave towards the alcoholic but in the drink law of the land which we can look at later. The interactive elements of social control have been intimated in looking at the ‘wee dram’. It was the view of Shibutani11 that “’Social control’ refers not so much to deliberate influence or to coercion but to the fact that each person generally takes into account the expectations that he imputes to other people.” The consequence of not taking into account such imputed expectations is that entry to, or continuation within that stratum of society is not permitted. While there is no compulsion to join the other in a drink in Scotland (this was not true in previous times when we consider the detail provided by Dunlop12) possibly more than elsewhere the pressure to accept the token of hospitality (to be discussed) can be an embarrassment to the teetotaller. The social custom is taken for granted until refused. “In some cultures alcoholic beverages are an accompaniment to most meals, in others they are a social custom, and in some they are used for their euphoric effects … An individual may drink because it has been a family custom since his childhood, because he seeks euphoria to blot out a miserable existence, because he can use it as a masked method of self-distinction, because it is a social custom at parties, because it relaxes him.”13 It would be somewhat arbitrary to decide that the use of alcohol in Scotland falls within one of Bischoff’s categories. Clearly it is a social custom, the presence of food is not a condition for its consumption but the euphoria dimension is important especially when we reflect upon the extent of general poverty in Scottish history and the obvious sacrifices which must have been made in order to make it on the hillside using ‘valuable’ grain or buying it in the city. Still looking at drink in general terms we find that there are many dimensions and Ayer saw the act of “… raising a glass … and drinking it” as: “… an act of self indulgence, an expression of politeness, a proof of alcoholism, a manifestation of loyalty, a gesture of despair, an attempt at suicide, the performance of a social rite, a religious communication, an attempt to seduce or corrupt another person, the sealing of a bargain, a display of professional challenge …”14 We have no need to explore each of these facets but there are a few deserving of special attention. Thus we will have concern for “… the performance of a social rite”, “the sealing of a bargain” is covered in the Dunlop debate and we can extend the idea of whisky (etc) as the “language of hospitality” in considering Ayer’s “expression of politeness.” Patrick15 was another to reflect upon the various cultural uses to which alcohol is put and gives wine as an example. “By social definition it may have none, one or all of the following uses in a particular society: a symbol for the blood of Christ at a communion service, a condiment or beverage with meals, a method by which heightened fun and enthusiasm may be produced at a social gathering; or a narcotic to enable people to escape, at least for a while, certain disagreeable life situations.” Perhaps the “disagreeable life situations” are created by general social control from which the drinker hopes to escape. There are, however, numerous situations where alcohol is a significant component and social control is concerned with every individual learning the rules surrounding its use. These rules vary; some prevail across the whole population in terms of laws while others are relevant to groups of people in a more informal but nevertheless prescriptive way. It is not the purpose of this discussion to prove that Scottish drinking habits are worse than those elsewhere, rather to show the social context in earlier times. “For it has been taught in the bosom of the family, by the father’s example and by the mother’s precept that wine, beer and spirits are useful, nay, necessary to health, and that they augment the strength. And the lessons thus indicated and too well learned have proved to be the steps which lead to wider experience in the pursuit of health and strength by larger use of the same means.”16 Here we see an expectation for the plentiful use of alcohol as a source of physical energy and health – the more one drinks the healthier one becomes! We can draw upon another Scottish writer with a somewhat similar message although the precision of the statement reflects contemporary opinion. “Drunkenness appears to be in some measure hereditary, we frequently see it descending from parents to their children. This may undoubtedly often arise from bad example and imitation, but there can be little


question that, in many instances at least, it exists as a family predisposition.17 ‘The Drinking Scot’ is the title of the discussion which explores the detail.18

Temperance and Legal Controls The next stage of the discussion relating to the social control of drink is to consider the forces against its use in Scotland in former times. The legal constraints have virtually always been present in some form or another. The Temperance movement arose out of the lack of effect of such laws and endeavoured to increase their severity as well as perhaps attempting to be to the drunken community what the Improvers hoped to be to the agricultural community. The President of the General Temperance Movement of Scotland in the mid nineteenth century was John Dunlop and his main work is deemed to be of sufficient importance to be summarised later19. Surprisingly, there is nothing specific to the following debate beyond that which is included in the summary. The effect which temperance societies had on earlier patterns of Scottish drinking is difficult to assess. MacNish20 saw that “They have been represented by their friends as powerful engines for effecting a total reformation from drunkenness.” To this day there has been no such reformation. An early indication that Scotland had a drinking problem is noted by Chambers. On May 28, 1625, “The town-council of Aberdeen … anticipated the wisdom and good manners of a later age by ordaining that: ‘no person should, at any public or private meeting, presume to compel his neighbour, at table with him, to drink more wine or beer than what he pleased, under the penalty of forty pounds’”21. In the subsequent years laws became national and “Temperance legislation, in its mildest form, may be said to date from the Home-Drummond Act of 1828 which conferred on Justices of the Peace “… the granting of certificates for the sale of liquor … Twenty-five years later, in 1853, the Forbes MacKenzie Act reduced the hours of sale (8am to 11pm), closed the public-houses on Sundays, prohibited the sale of drinks in toll-houses situated within six miles of a licensed house, and restricted the licensed grocer to selling drink for consumption off the premises only.”22 We shall have more to say about Forbes MacKenzie soon. The “Tippling Act23 came into force in 1750 in order “to protect the poor from unfair temptation and fraudulent demands” in relation to being given credit and the subsequent request for settlement.” This had arisen from the extensive amount of drinking in the first half of the eighteenth century. Other legislation followed: Sale of Spirits Act, 186224, County Courts Act Amendment Act, 186725. (Bar credit, however, was still being provided as late as 1914. Section 8 of the Licensing Act, 192126 may have been the main breaker of ‘the slate’). In 1834 a Select Committee of the House of Commons was set up “to enquire into the extent and causes and consequences of the prevailing intemperance among the labouring classes of the United Kingdom”. It was chaired by James Silk Buckingham and included such men as Sir Robert Peel and Lord Althorp. Space restrictions permit only a mention of the ‘fact’ that “… the vice of intoxication has been for some years past on the decline in the higher and middle ranks of society” 27. The focus was “the labouring classes” who were still apt to use “the many customs and courtesies still retained from a remote ancestry of mingling the gift or use of intoxicating drinks with almost every important event in life, such as the celebration of baptisms, marriages and funerals, anniversaries, holidays and festivals, as well as in the daily interchange of convivial entertainment and even in commercial transactions of purchase and sale.”28 It was in 1839 that John Dunlop recorded in great detail the “drinking usages” relating to the situations mentioned above and they are discussed in a later chapter. The Buckingham Committee, however, sought remedies “to be applied to the cure of evils so deeply rooted, so long established, so widely spread, and so strongly supported by selfish indulgence, ignorance, prejudice, custom and pecuniary interests”29 The “remedies” can be categorised as follows: • • • • •

“separation of the houses in Scotland in which intoxicating drinks are sold into four distinct classes …”30 restrictions on the numbers of houses31 and times of opening32 control of issue of licences33 restrictions on availability of liquor to the Services34 and merchant service35 use of licensed premises for payment of wages36


meetings and societies: not in public houses37 encouragement of Temperance Societies38 ‘exclusion of ardent spirits’39 • reduction of temptation to drink alcohol: by making tea, coffee etc., cheaper40 • education: as to the outcome of alcohol abuse41 “removal of all taxes on knowledge”42 “means of instruction to all ranks and classes of people”43 promotion of health and exercise44 • prohibition: of imported spirits45 of “distillation of ardent spirits from grain”46 “In 1846 the increasing interest in the temperance movement in Scotland led to the appointment of a Select Committee of the House of Commons, under the chairmanship of Mr. Forbes-MacKenzie, to enquire into the system of granting certificates. The Committee found: ‘That the number of homes in which spirits are sold for consumption on the premises is excessive, and ought to be restricted …’”47 The ‘Forbes-MacKenzie Act’ arose from this Select Committee. The full title was the Licensing (Scotland Act) of 185348 and legislated against various practices deemed to be undesirable. One of these was that grocers sought to obtain a benefit of the hotel namely selling alcohol for consumption on the premises. “The customer went into the shop and had a snack of bread and cheese with his beer or whisky, and grocers’ premises became a social rendyvous.”49 As if to operate swings the publicans sold groceries but an intention of the Act was to restore some order to the lowering levels of demarcations between hotels/inns, grocers and public housessee 50. The Forbes-MacKenzie Act prohibited Sunday drinking on licensed premises unless they were hotels making provision for resident guests or bone fide travellers. Laws are made by the representatives of the people for their protection (people’s view) and their control (law makers’ view). If that is a too simplistic interpretation of social control relating to law it may suffice for the evaluation of the making of law relating to alcohol consumption. A more cynical view still is that those on the supply side had a hand in making such law. The idea that those in the commercial world will attempt to influence law and Government policy is not new. However, it is not widely recognised that such an activity has been known for a long time. The National Trade Defence Association (NTDA) was formed in 1888 and represents all aspects of the liquor trade. Included in its objects we note: “ … to watch at all times the general interests of the Trade as a whole in and out of Parliament: to secure by all legal means, regardless of party politics, the return to the house of Commons and other elected bodies, candidates favourable to Trade interests …” The NTDA soon became the major body in the liquor trade and had numerous affiliates. One of these was the Scottish Licensed Trade Defence Association which predated it by nine years.51 If it is possible to provide a shorthand term for the influence of the commercial world upon law and Government policy it will simplify the discussion. For want of a better term let it be “upward social control”. That society is influenced, ultimately, is an important component of the debate here. It is influenced in numerous respects. Arising from the relevant legislation there will be conditions imposed upon the availability of liquor, age restrictions, methods of its purchase, locations available and the types of premises upon which alcohol is sold and otherwise made available. And there will be consequences arising from the abuse of the law in respect to the conditions mentioned. This is all quite acceptable within the conventional use of the term ‘social control’ but there remains the question of ‘upward social control’. The Licensing Act of 1904, know as the ‘Balfour Act’ brought to an end the fairly extensive influence which local magistrates had over what occurred in licensed premises. “Up to 1904 the justices, to quote Lord Watson’s famous saying in Boulter v. Kent J.J.52, were ‘a body interposed between the licensee and the public for the protection of the public’. Since 1904 that has no longer been the case.”53 The same author shows that the Balfour Act was influenced by the NTDA: “… a considerable amount of the good that the Trade (i.e NTDA) was able to do in passing the Licensing Act was due to the personal acquaintance that happened to exist between one or two of their officials and one or two members of the Government. There was also a great deal to be done through the private secretaries of


members and therefore they (the NTDA) had more to do with the underground working of Parliament than anyone would believe who had not seen their work.”54 From this point on, the aspects of social control are mentioned in the more specialised treatments of customs and social use of drink in ‘Drink in Scotland as viewed by John Dunlop’, ‘Public Houses’, ‘Whisky’, ‘Claret’, and other general discussion in Chapter Six. We can now look at ‘hospitality’ and see ‘control’ at work there.

Hospitality Introduction “To invite a person to your house is to take charge of his happiness as long as he be beneath your roof”55 “In French, the word Hôte is used for both host and guest, and it is as it should be, since there is no differentiation between host and guest, wherever there is true hospitality. The host, of course, provides wine and food, which money can buy, but the guests provide the pleasure of their company, which no money can buy. They bring to the table that which adds sparkle to the wine and flavour to the food, their wit and their news, an articulate appreciation of the good things provided for their delight, all of which makes the difference between a meal that is both enjoyable and momorable, and a dismal waste of money, time and trouble. The host who confers a favour upon his guest, and the guest who confers an honour upon his host are equally hateful. Neither the one nor the other falls within the meaning of the French name, L’Hôte, a name which indicates perfect equality and understanding between two persons entertaining each other … In hospitality … there should be no bargaining: each giveth the best that he hath to give, without any sense of either inferiority or superiority. Hospitality … is a gift. No host can hope to be a good host, nor can any guest be a good guest unless he be blessed with this wonderful gift of the spirit of hospitality.”56 Social control refers to what people do which contributes to social order. Society needs a system through which people feel a responsibility to conform to a generally accepted pattern of behaviour. The ‘what people do’ factor starts with the person in relation to his interpersonal behaviour. There is a ripple effect to his locality and outward to the concept of public order. Since individuals cannot be relied upon, it is necessary to have agencies such as Police, the Court etc. to ensure that public order is maintained. We shall be exploring various accounts relating to the assertion that Scottish hospitality is something rather special and not experienced elsewhere. We firstly look at hospitality in relation to social control, move on to the formation of a model then consider hospitality in the context of Scotland. It may seem strange on first reflection that when hospitality is given or received there may be elements of social control which pervade the situation. Even if we take it at the level of ensuring that our children behave themselves when visiting another house it should be apparent that social control is to do with behavioural interaction. This behaviour concerns the context and manner in which hospitality is given, received and reciprocated. Hospitality is connected with social control in as much that dimensions of it affect the lives of those to whom it is dispensed as part of the economic relationship. Some are fortunate enough to be able to purchase hospitality while others were dependent upon it for their survival. There are unwritten sets of rules dictating what can or cannot be done in various circumstances. There are also sets of assumptions which need to be examined. It is appropriate to sketch out one or two alternative reasons for giving or accepting hospitality. We mentioned that some might purchase it: no reciprocity involved there, of course. The ‘hospitality industry’ has, perhaps subconsciously, promoted the notion that money can buy sincere and genuine hospitality with from one to five-star rating. We will come to term this an aspect of ‘economic hospitality’. Much more historical but with overtones


within the present day is a facet of economic hospitality where the feudal lord and later, the landlord extended a somewhat coercive hospitality in return for labour, homage and, at times, defence. We will briefly look at some historical considerations before coming back to this dimension of economic hospitality.

A Little History The extent of hospitality is one of the hallmarks of the level of culture within the advancement of society and a brief debate of the origins of hospitality can serve as another reminder of the civilizing process. The Latin hospes meant ‘a guest’ and from this word was derived hospitium which was a place where a guest was received. From these words, as most dictionaries will reveal, we have derived hostel, hotel, hospital and hospice. The hospitium in law today is the area in an inn where the guest is served with food, drink and receives accommodation. This stems from monastic use of hospitium where mediaeval pilgrims could fund hospitality or hospitium [Wiki]. The word host meaning the person who receives guests, stems from the late 13C and from the Old French - hoste . Since the 12C, hospitem (nominally hospes) has meant "lord of strangers". Moving on to guest, there was the ghostis which meant "stranger". The Gothic word gasts, and the Old English word gæst for "guest"). [An aside re ghostis. In Hong Kong, the word for those from outside is gwilo or white-faced ghost.] [Another aside vis a vis the Gothic word gasts. Gastronomy would be a much better word if it derived from the notion of looking after your guest’s food needs rather than being the study of the stomach.] The word hostess is a modern invention. The development, evolution even, of hospitality would make an interesting study in itself. It is appropriate to briefly suggest a few milestones. Within our primitive ancestry there may have been a little entertaining of outsiders but the success of the settlement depended upon defence from those who sought to gain advantage of possessions, land or people. Population growth and the advancement of technology permitted by improved agricultural techniques accelerated the division of labour. Men who could specialise in leadership and soldiery created the castle and town and as the strong became protected by the weak (the strong merely organised the weak into a cohesive force) the extent of dependency was increased and hierarchies emerged. “In our modern society the State “… intervenes to protect those who still possess supplies from those who do not.” However, “It is not always the State that performs this role: they also arrange their own security, paying other people to fight.”57 Barbarity was slowly curbed and life settled down to await ‘the birth of chivalry’. The remainder of the ‘civilizing process’ has been described by Elias58 as we have seen earlier. Hospitality on any scale emerges at the beginning of the Middle Ages. Generalising about the “whole medieval period” Henisch59 remarks that “In the cut-throat realities of everyday life, to nourish was not so much an act of love as a demonstration of power”. One had “to equal or preferably surpass, the magnificence of allies and enemies” to retain any influence or authority. “Lavish generosity was the hallmark of the important man.” Considering that the smaller social units were scattered over the countryside and were dominated by the feudal lords we can derive the term ‘baronial hospitality’ to describe what occurred at this time. Various means were adopted to indicate status and as salt was a highly significant economic good it is not surprising that it had a role. The important guests, then were afforded the courtesy of being placed above the salt and provided with food which suited their social position. Social control was at work in as much that seniority was judged by the (social) distance of one’s seat from the king, baron or other head of household. Those who ate “humble pie” (made from the umbels or giblets and offal) and who “could not make ends meet” (ruffs worn round the neck prevented the tying of the napkin – the poor had no napkins)60 never met anyone of social standing and were kept in their place below the salt. While the salt cellar has nothing more than metaphorical social significance today, the seating hierarchy is still pursued but with less vigour. However, all eyes are turned towards the top table of a modern banquet when anyone of VIP status is present. [Very Important Person] In the home there are similar placement considerations and when hospitality is dispensed, care is taken to demonstrate acceptance of the visitor. In the same way that the fatted calf was set on the spit for visiting nobles in former times, some consideration is today given as to the provision of (socially) suitable food for those who enter our house. “In this country the ritual of dining has come down to us from a time when dinner was the only regular


meal of the day. We ‘dress for dinner’ not daily as we used to but on occasion. We sit in order of seniority, men and women alternately. We may touch nothing on the table till it has been offered to us by the host or hostess, or by their servants [waiters]. On formal occasions we begin with ‘grace’ and end with ‘the loyal toast’”61

Where has A little history led us? We all like to entertain. The host-couple will consider their guests before the shopping list is written so that steak is not offered to a vegetarian guest. Indeed, the meal for this occasion in a normally meat-eating household may well exclude that component. In another social context, the host couple asks what everyone wants once all are present. Armed with a list such as “3 of No. 45; 4 of No. 19, one with no fried rice”, the man disappears for twenty minutes. The table, if still there, is used for the beer bottles and all present eat within their temporary comfort zones of couches, armchairs and other informal seats. …… Gastronomy is life. So far, the table is laid or at least the scene is set. Gastronomy is concerned with what people eat and how they eat it. Use of “host-couple” is shorthand for the basic unit of society. “more individuality within the household diet” is shorthand for the way in which the pace of life means that people rush in, use the microwave, eat on the run and rush out. As training for adult life, children do this. Individual eating habits form. Family cohesion suffers. Bring back the table. Bring back hospitality. Let’s start thinking about guest-pitality. H1&2 = the host-couple, G1&2 = the guest-couple. G1&2 arrives bearing standard gift[s]. H1&2 welcomes and gives thanks for gift[s]. The next day, a large bunch of flowers arrives for H1&2 . G2 is either an invalid or a vbp [very busy person] and cannot recipricate. H2 phones with profuse thanks. A diiferent set of people and G1&2 arrives bearing positively disproportionate gift[s]. A decision had been made before arrival not to reciprocate the invitation. The vbp factor may not even hover in the background. When G1&2 arrives bearing negatively disproportionate gift[s], [no gift being the end of the scale], it may be a social message re nonreciprocation. This brief excursion into the social laboratory has looked down the microscope with but a tiny specimen on the slide. As with most things, there has been an economic element. The excursion has served as a warning that there is worse to come. It is called economic and non-socially reciprocated hospitality!

A Little Economics ‘Economic Hospitality’ has been gradually introduced into the debate and it is appropriate to clarify some of the dimensions of it. Already we have seen a brief historical perspective of it where the lord of the manor needed to entertain to maintain his economic, and from that, his social position. The relationship he had with those who were dependent upon him for protection can be viewed in terms of economic hospitality. There are those today who provide hospitality for moneyb, as an economic good and we will need to look at factors on that side of the supply/demand equation before considering the consumer’s position. This will remind us of the various social factors which we come back to in discussing ‘reciprocity’. We will firstly continue with the historical considerations. When the term ‘Baronial hospitality’ was introduced it related to the entertainment of visitors of some social importance. In order to maintain social position, “lavish generosity” was the criterion of importance. Taken to an extreme we have ‘potlatch’ as was practised by North American Indians where property was destroyed in front of those whom it was hoped to impress. See chapter note 6 or Wiki for further information. But ‘baronial hospitality’ of the type described would have been impossible without a good number of supporting dependants at the disposal of the lord of the manor, or the laird / landowner in Scotland. They were required for domestic consumption (use of their labour alongside firewood and the food they served). Veblen distinguished between vicarious and conspicuous consumption (to be discussed): Goody did not consider that such a distinction was necessary. “Until recent events overwhelmed the ancient kingdom, conspicuous consumption took the form of a surfeit of servants who performed a variety of household tasks and each of whom had to be fed from the table of the lord”see 62 Henisch63 would add that “the conception of understated elegance was not one which came easily to the medieval mind, and a host liked to use expensive ingredients, and be seen to use them, as a compliment to


his guest and a proof of his own prosperity. For the purpose of conspicuous consumption spices were a godsend.” There was an economic reciprocity where protection, food and accommodation were provided in return for labour and subservience. It was ironic that the key part of the employment requirement was that males took up arms and laid down their lives for their liege. In times of peace they, their wives and older children worked hard to maintain the food surplus after which the economic prosperity of the feudal estate could be improved. There were inevitably economic considerations in entertaining important visitors and agreements about the exchange of goods, services and favours were made at the medieval dining table. This is not, however, the key element of ‘baronial hospitality’ which has greater significance in terms of the lives of ordinary people in feudal times when considered in the light of control. It may be useful to distinguish between the two interpretations given and ‘Baronial Hospitality Type A’ is the historically longer lasting disbursement of food, accommodation and protection to the ordinary people. ‘Type B’ is the more social version in earlier times but nevertheless important entertaining of visitors who were given a display of wealth and military power with the unstated threat of a full-blooded response to any later attack if relationships became sour. ‘Hospitality for profit’ seems to be a rather long-winded title for the everyday activity of providing food and lodging. Far easier is ‘commercial hospitality’. The main ideas within ‘commercial hospitality’ concern providing and purchasing hospitality as an economic good. They lean towards social control in as much that there is a mixture of economic and social rules which apply in the situation. If hospitality is normally a cultural activity the introduction of cash into the situation does not put it on to a solely economic footing. Innkeepers of yesteryear and hoteliers of today need to be as polite as any other trader. Without going into every variation on the commercial hospitality theme, we can discern the dimensions of scale – the large and the small where the former is termed ‘professional hospitality’ which we will discuss first. The Hotel and Catering Industry is founded upon commercial hospitality64 and the term ‘professional hospitality’ derives from the notion that it is a full time occupation employing a body of knowledge relating to the practice of catering and hotel keeping. This leaves the small scale operation often based upon the family business and we will refer to this as patronial hospitality. The point of the distinction made between ‘patronial’ and ‘professional’ hospitality is not only a matter of scale and concerns the distance of the provider from the consumer. In the former there is a necessity for congeniality and personal service while in the latter the provider acts vicariously and the hospitality act is delegated many places down the management line until it reaches the personal service operative. It is a moot point whether the customer, euphemistic-ally called ‘guest’, feels that he has received a personal service or considers that he has gained value for money in the act of hiring his status as a guest. As the object of attention has now shifted from provider to consumer and as there are various titles for the latter it would be appropriate to identify ‘consumer hospitality’. This may be said to take two forms and in ‘Type A’ we see the conventional hotel guest, lodger, etc. The customer in the hotel is termed ‘guest’ for probably the same reason that the working class ‘lodger’ is called a ‘paying guest’ in the lower middle class home. All that is being suggested is that the euphemistic reference can mitigate the discomfort felt by the provider of commercial hospitality even if, with the ‘PG’, it is less than a cottage industry. There is a situation which allows the hotel guest to be consumer and provider of hospitality at the same time. While consuming hospitality as a guest he can often dispense it to relatives or friends who are staying in the hotel or visiting him there. The classification which can be designated here is ‘Consumer Hospitality Type B’. This, however, is not intended to be taken as the main dimension of consumer hospitality. The hotel guest or restaurant customer acting as host at his table is a host within the social space surrounding it and conventional rules of hospitality act within it. ‘Reciprocity’ is bound up within these rules and is now considered.

Much Reciprocity In considering the conventional meaning of hospitality where donor and receiver are within more or less the same social grouping an important characteristic of it is reciprocity. This is not limited to a mere repayment of the loan and he who repays considers the amount quite carefully. “Just as a courtesy has to be returned, so must an invitation. Here we find


traces of the traditional basis, the aristocratic potlatch: and we see at work also some of the fundamental motives of human activity: emulation between individuals of the same sex, the basic ‘imperialism’ of men – of origin part social, part animal or psychological no doubt. In the distinctive sphere of our social life we can never remain at rest. We must always return more than we receive; the return is always bigger and more costly.”65 Veblen commented on “the potlatch or the ball” as being costly entertainments adapted in order that the guest is made to serve as a means to an end. “He consumes vicariously for his host at the same time that he is a witness to the consumption of that excess of good things which his host is unable to dispose of single handed.” These conspicuous and vicarious consumptions of valuable goods (and services of uniformed lackeys) serve as “the means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure.”66 Where the ideals portrayed in the potlatch stand out is in the Maussian assertion that reciprocity needs to be manifested in bigger and better hospitable activities. But taken at everyday level, perhaps the most basic assumption is that hospitality is only, after all, an act of friendliness, but let us take that a stage further. In essence a loan is extended for there is the obvious social obligation to return the kindness at some stage in the future as identified by Mauss, with interest. Burgess67, however, sees it as a “one-sided friendly gesture” but this is so only until the donor realises that the opportunity to reciprocate has been ignored.

A Model of Hospitality The purpose of the model presented here is to draw threads together of the previous discussion and to show the main points. We have considered the supply of bed, board and protection in return for labour and the extension of that idea which need not be elaborated in this study is slavery. At the other extreme might be the indiscriminate display of wealth destruction as in potlatch where there is little regard for generosity and, likewise, requires no full debate. The three main strands as discussed are ‘conventional’, ‘commercial’ and earned’ hospitality and are set out in the continuum in figure 3.1 Figure 3.1 Slavery ↑ Earned Hospitality



Commercial Hospitality

Conventional Hospitality

Slightly less arduous than ‘baronial hospitality’ is the situation somewhat later in the civilising process where protection became less significant a factor, the agricultural territory around the castle expanded and farms were started. We will term this ‘tied hospitality’ as the workers did not become free men until much later in the course of history. This term also covers those servants in the rich town-households. The feudal elements of the relationship between the master and his retinue carry over to the present day and are noticeable in the residential accommodation afforded to the modern agricultural worker. We will investigate ways in which earlier workers on the farm were ‘tied’ to the laird’s estate by paying wages in the form of food and accommodation in Chapter Four. There is one dimension which distinguishes all this from conventional hospitality which is reciprocity. There is no social opportunity for those mentioned so far to receive hospitality if provided or to provide hospitality if received if one is purchasing it. The economic dimensions range from the purely financial within ‘earned hospitality’ to the socio-economic factors involved within ‘conventional hospitality’. ‘Conventional hospitality’ cannot be distinguished from ‘earned hospitality’ or ‘commercial hospitality’ on the grounds that there is no economic relationship between giver and receiver. It is, however, beyond purely financial economics. If A gives B a £20 dinner in A’s own home it is more than giving him a £20 cheque for dinner at a restaurant. As has been discussed, the ‘loan’ consideration while virtually ignored in every day life hospitable interaction cannot be omitted from this analysis. The economic loan is less significant than the social loan but the latter is more difficult to qualify. The concept of ‘received hospitality’ is usually tied up with


the obligation to return the invitation. One exception that springs to mind may actually create an alternative interpretation of professional hospitality where in the business and professional world, invitations are given and a meal is provided never to be reciprocated due to the possible perception of the role of the provider of hospitality. Figure 3.2 sets out the main considerations. It has been necessary to consider various dimensions of hospitality in order to evaluate it in its broader sense. With a view to exploring ‘Scottish hospitality’ we can now consider ‘conventional hospitality’ and the development of ‘commercial hospitality’ and with a later interest in agriculture we will use the terms ‘baronial hospitality’ and ‘tied hospitality’ under the heading of economic hospitality to help analyse its history. Figure 3.2 Hospitality – A Continuum

Scottish Hospitality Much of Chapter Four is given to discussing the earned hospitality of agriculture and the present debate can delve into some of the issues raised earlier. With virtually contradictory national characteristics, it will be interesting to see if one takes a superior position over the other. “All the world knows that the Scots are mean; and all the world also knows that they are amongst the most hospitable people in Europe. There is no point in trying to resolve the contradiction of these two reputations. The one is based upon an undoubted habit of mind or of manner amongst certain Scots; the other rests upon an undoubted, well-established and internationally recognised fact.”68 According to Trevelyan,69 “Thrift was a dire necessity, but hospitality was a national instinct.” Perhaps the meanness is a calculated saving of resources in order to be hospitable to later visitors. Without further ado, McLaren refers his reader to Dean Ramsay’s Reminiscences of Country Life and Character and this was a worthwhile recommendation. While kail is the topic of later study we can note that “Kail in England simply expresses cabbage, but in Scotland represents the chief meal of the day. Hence the old-fashioned easy way of asking a friend to dinner was to ask him if he would take his kail with the family.”70 Whether this is illustrative of the idea that there was little meat need not concern us here: the use of fish is noticeable also. “In like manner haddock, in Kincardineshire and Aberdeenshire, used to express the same idea, as the expression is, ‘Will ye tak your haddock wi’ us the day?’ that fish being so plentiful and so excellent that it was a standing dish. There is this difference however, in the local usage, that to say in Aberdeen, ‘Will you take your haddock?’ implies an invitation to dinner; whilst in Montrose the same expression means an invitation to supper”71


There is the view that Scottish hospitality was so strong that legislation had to be passed to curb it. If we go back far enough we find that in 1425 it was necessary to impose a fine of forty shillings if travellers stayed with friends and not in a nearby inn72 Medlik73 explained it as “the widespread hospitality of private citizens”. In two hundred years travel was to increase considerably and Donaldson74 quotes from a 1609 legal document which decreed that people should “… be furnissing of meit, drink and intertenyment to straingeris, passengeris and utheris …” Fullarton and Baird may have detected a later lack of need to legislate to this effect in Iona elsewhere and comments that, in the early seventeenth century: “The character and manners of the people of the Highlands and Islands are just such as might have been expected from the situation and circumstances in which they have been placed. The proprietors are an honourable, brave and highspirited race – proud in a superlative degree of their ancestry – fond of the profession of arms – kind and hospitable to an extent, beyond the limits of their income, but reckless of their expenditure, and improvident to a fault.”75 “The Genuine Highlander, even of the lowest class is brave and kind-hearted in an eminent degree … but when providence has put it in his power, his hospitality is unbounded.”76 Not to be outdone, as it were, the Lowlander would have been grateful for some support. “Country hospitality in the Lowlands, though less frequently displayed, simply because of lack of opportunity, was no less open-hearted and overwhelming. The occasions of it, too, lasted longer than in the towns. When lairds or farmers entertained their neighbours, their guests often had to come from the surrounding countryside over land that in the south would have been thought near impassable by daylight, and which even here was more than could conveniently be managed by returning revellers after dark. It was the custom then when one asked a guest to dinner to ask him for the night.”77 “Neighbours would arrive on horseback on surprise visits of half the day in length; they were heartily welcome, for the means of passing the time in a country house were fewer than in contemporary England … Hospitality took the form of plentiful plain meats served in one course, washed down by Scottish ale and French brandy and claret.”78 Earlier in this discussion mention was made of potlatch and it can be dealt with before proceeding to consider visitors’ comments upon Scottish hospitality. Potlatch is not confined to certain North American indians it would seem and an example can be given relating to early sixteenth century Scotland. Grant discusses the first Stewart Earl of Moray (the illegitimate son of James IV). “A papal legate was visiting Scotland and Moray invited him to a banquet. Wishing to make the visitor understand that there was a great abundance thereof in Scotland, he caused a fine cup-board of fine crystal glass to be overturned, as if by accident, and had another carried in. The patriarch praised as well the magnificence of the Earl as the fineness of the crystal.”79 While tempting to term this ‘extreme hospitality’, it ranks for consideration as OTT (over the top) if not over the floor. Since hospitality is experienced by visitors it is appropriate to include comment by some of those who ventured into a country far from their homeland and were forced to take “substitute domestic food”80 and accommodation. By no means the first of these was described by McNeill: “Fynes Morison, a graduate of Cambridge, who visited Scotland in 1598, tells us that he noticed no regular inns with signs hanging out, but that private householders would entertain passengers on entreaty or where acquaintance was claimed.”81 In the following decade Fynes Morison’s account is “interestingly corroborated” … by that eccentric genius, John Taylor, the Thames waterman. “Everywhere, indeed, in his progress through Scotland, he appears to have been feasted sumptuously, and liberally supplied with money by hospitable gentlemen who probably found his witty conversation ample recompense.”82 Hunter, in 1830 edited the Diary of Ralph Thoresby who lived in the seventeenth century. An appendix to this book is A Journal of a Tour to Scotland by Thomas Kirk of Cookridge, Yorkshire, who evidently received “plentiful hospitality” during his stay. This seems to be mainly related to the drink which was lavishly given in Banff at the Laird of Meldrum’s house, at a tavern called “Bonnie-wife’s”, and later in the afternoon he was treated with “excellent good claret” at Huntly’s house. In Inverness he was “treated heartily with ale and usquebah” [whisky].83


At Dunbeath Castle he joined others in “deep glasses of beer till we were very merry.” In his Modern Account published in 1679 he talks about wine as “the great drink of the gentry which they pour in like dishes, as if it were their natural element; the glasses they drink out of are considerably large, and they always fill them to the brim” when entertaining visitors. In 1725, Edmund Burt, travelled with General Wade “determined not to enjoy himself and only to find fault.”84 He admits, however, that when entertained by the laird “Bumper John”, Laird of Culloden, his host was “a gentleman whose hospitality is almost without bounds.”85 More detail of that entertainment will be found in the discussion relating to ‘The Drinking Scot’. Later in the eighteenth century, “Drinking tended to go on right round the clock and people would tend to think that they were lacking in hospitality if they did not make their guests drunk. Simon Fraser’s entertainment at Castle Downie was famous, as was that of his protagonist and neighbour Forbes, at Culloden House. In both establishments stretcherbearers stood by to carry the faint off to their bedrooms. Every place at Simon’s table would be full. At the top end with him, above the salt, would be his personal guests and nearest relatives. Further down, below the salt, would be poor or junior relatives or even humble retainers. Food and drink was dispensed to each according to his station – from claret and champagne at the top to whisky-punch and beer at the bottom.”86 Dichotomies such as were engendered by placing guests either side of the salt disappeared as the century progressed. Perhaps there was a gradual change in drinking habits. “Drinking bouts, with their multifarious toasts and sentiments, were also an obligation of private hospitality throughout the greater part of the century, though conviviality was happily becoming more self-respecting towards the end of it. Life and character might become less original owing to such changes, but the loss was counterbalanced by the gain in refinement and propriety …”87 In including Boswell and Johnson in the comments by visitors to Scotland we have the additional benefit that there were Scottish expectations in the situations. Recognising that their ‘bread and butter’ books were an expression of gratitude for the bountiful hospitality received there were incidences when they were less pleased with their treatment. We will look at expectations first. At the early stage of the Tour to the Hebrides88 Johnson experienced poor service of his favourite lemonade and proposes to carry lemons to Skye. “’Sir’, said he, ‘I do not wish to be thought that feeble man who cannot do without anything.’” Boswell, aware that they would be receiving Scottish hospitality counted with “Sir, it is very bad manners to carry provisions to any man’s house, as if he could not entertain you. To an inferior it is oppressive, to a superior it is insolent.”89 If Boswell and Johnson had any high expectations relating to the standard of hospitality associated with Sir Alexander MacDonald of Skye, they were soon destroyed on having their first dinner with him. “No claret appeared … But except what I [Boswell] did myself, there was no hospitable convivial intercourse, no ringing of glasses.” Indeed, other members of the family had to stand and watch the guests and his lordship “who stuck his fork into a liver pudding instead of getting room made for them.” When they had been provided with tea “there were few cups and no tea-tongs nor a supernumerary tea spoon, so we used our fingers”90 Paton researched “Drink and the Temperance Movement in Nineteenth Century Scotland” and found that “Whisky was in regular and constant use as a beverage, taken as a refreshment and with meals. It was especially important as a symbol of hospitality and a reward for small services”.91 Dunlop’s interests were not entirely different from Paton’s although about a hundred and forty years separate their researches. “In no other country does spirituous liquor seemed to have assumed so much the attitude of the authorised instrument of compliment and kindness, as in North Britain.”92 If visitors were allowed to comment upon the hospitality received, there ought to be a token reciprocity which if fulfilled in terms of Scottish comment on hospitality received in England, would fall outside the scope of the present study. The nearest we are allowed is comment from Memoirs of a Highland Lady relating to 1803. Elizabeth Grant of Rothiemurchus travelled frequently to the Highlands. “Every good inn became a sort of home, every obliging landlord or landlady an old friend. We had cakes here, a garden with a summer-house there, a parrot further on, all to look forward to on every migration, along with the pleasant flatteries on our growth and our looks of health; as if such a train would not have been greeted joyously by every publican! We travelled slowly, thirty miles a day on average, starting late and stopping early, with a bait [sic – “a bite”] some after noon, when we children


dined …” Her memoirs were published thirteen years after her death in 1885 and none the less valid for being written by a member of the aristocracy. The account is somewhat atypical as we will see when we consider earlier inns in the discussion relating to the Scottish public house. Such positive comments passed about Scottish hospitality obviously still apply. J. Telfer Dunbar some considerable time before 1955 and as a history student “Hunting the Tartan” remarks “In the Highlands and the Islands I became increasingly aware of the generosity of the Highland heart. The courtesy of the croft was such a contrast to the artificial ‘manners’c of the larger hotel. Poverty was seldom an excuse for lack of generosity “Often I was an unknown stranger who would never be met again but often the farther I was away from ‘civilization’ the closer would my chair be to the fire.”93 Finally, a perspective from one who was brought up in the Highlands and Islands. While this study has included many of Marian McNeill’s major works which are readily available in the High Street bookshops it took numerous visits to the more ‘Olde Worlde’ and specialist second-hand bookshops to locate her (and numerous other authors’) lesser known books and contributions. In “The Scottish Companion” edited by Rhoda Spence we find a rare insight into McNeill’s childhood. Her father farmed twenty Orcadian acres “that grew oats for the porridge pot and girdle and vegetables for the kail-pot …” Although money was scarce “rigid economy is necessary but in the true Scottish tradition there were two things in which there was no economizing – hospitality and education.”94 We have been able to utilise many of the products of that education, perhaps the pity of it is not to have experienced an obviously traditional hospitality in the Orkneys.

There is an appendix to Chapter 6 which deals with food and hospitality sayings.


Chapter 4 THE AGRI-CULTURE OF SCOTLAND The Labour System “Agriculture, it has been said, was basic to the history of Scotland to a greater degree than for most other countries. To this extent Scottish culture and agriculture are, if not identical, at least inseparable.”1 “ … in 1750 seven Scots out of eight still lived on the land.”2 The main part of the chapter is devoted to showing not only the control over the food supply but to give an insight into a time when life was dominated by the land. Scotland came rather late to its ‘food surplus’ as discussed in Chapter One and this was a major factor in its own civilizing process. It is not the place of this study to give an evaluation in economic terms of the way Scottish agriculture has performed from the Middle Ages. Rather, it aims to show the ways in which life was dominated by the land until the Clearances brought new problems. As Campbell put it: “The history of Scottish agriculture is largely concerned with attempts at mitigating the physical adversities.”3 Not least of those adversities was the climate which is given early attention. “… we find in Scotland particularly convincing evidence that the seventeenth century brought the harshest phases of the last decade … came the worst famine of all in Scotland, the ‘ill years of King William’s reign’ when there were 7 years of harvest failure out of eight between 1693 and 1700 … where … [a bigger proportion of the people] died of starvation at that time than in the Black Death …”4 It is appropriate to look briefly at the politics of agriculture: “Put at its very simplest, food will usually confront any government with two basic problems. The first is that of how to keep food production and food consumption in balance, allowing neither, if possible, to become permanently and heavily in surplus. It is unfortunately a problem that is rarely solved. Most countries still produce too many mouths. The second problem, which is not altogether unconnected with the first, is that of keeping food producers and food consumers in economic if not political balance, allowing neither group to exploit the other immoderately.”5 Social control is concerned with the implementation of such politics. Tames’ treatment did not set out to illustrate social control but illuminates it with: “Since the late seventeenth century legislation has been passed to protect the interests of landowners (and Parliament consisted almost entirely of landowners).”6 The underlying theme of the present chapter is that of the balance of fortune being entirely with the landowners of Scotland. The detail is more concerned with those who worked the land, what they ate and the social and physical conditions which they endured. It is useful to look at the farmer typology. Green7 has commented rather aptly: “Farmers, as individuals, differ from other people only by as much as their occupation forces them to differ. They have, for example, to deal with forces of nature … They experience weather rather than climate, they work with animals rather than with men, their countryside constitutes a workshop rather than a landscape … Farmers work inside a time scale no one else now uses … their unit of time is normally the season …Their experience … makes them more cautious, for example, than economists or politicians when it comes to predicting … future harvests and food supplies.”8 There will be different interpretations of ‘farmers’ as we go on. Weather or climate is of more immediate concern. “Until the eighteenth century when societies were still essentially agricultural and dominated by the never-ending problem of food supplies, there was an intimate link, which is now a thing of the past, between history and climate.”9 Thus, Ladurie began his paper “History and Climate” which mainly concerned estimations of previous climatic conditions based upon analysing rings in tree-trunks (dendro-climatology). While this study is not afforded a similar luxury it can benefit from the statement made. We ought to consider the effect of climate upon the food supply in Scotland and attempt to determine when it became “a thing of the past”. One way of trying to assess any marked


improvement in the overall situation is to reflect on ways in which man has bettered the climate. Another is to investigate reports of weather conditions and related comment. While it is shown in the discussion that there has been a slight improvement in the climatic conditions in Scotland since the Middle Ages it is not concluded that increased benefits for man have depended upon changes in weather. Certain assumptions made about the detrimental influences of climate should be questioned. The abandonment of farmland on high, marginal, ground in the Middle Ages, for example, has been attributed to weather conditions. Conversely, ‘weather’ has not been fully taken into consideration when assessing the effects of non-climatic incidents such as the Black Death. Lamb writes: “Much of the dislocation of society, decline of population and abandonment of farmland (in the early Middle Ages) has in the past been attributed to the Black Death of 1348-50 and subsequent outbreaks of plague. The troubles had, in fact, begun earlier.”10 Climatic changes, notably in 1310-19, with “disastrous summers and famine”11 meant that “population figures in 1327 were down by a third on those for about 1280-1300. The decline by 1327 averages 67 per cent …” and that was twenty years before the onset of the Great Plague. Parry (in an investigation into reasons for farmers abandoning land in the Lowlands) determined that during the period AD 1250-1450, average summer warmth fell by at least 15 per cent and the frequency of harvest failure on marginal farmland “ … increased from about one year in twenty to one year in three.”12 Arising from as low a fall in the mean maximum temperature of one degree centigrade, “In areas of marginal farming under maritime regime, such changes would have a pronounced effect on the length of the growing season.”13 (Francis14 gives an up to date calculation of the growing season for the same area as being 225 days (5 April – 15 November). Manley gave comparable historically relevant calculations for Oxford, giving an average of 260 days.15 It is not, however, to be concluded that marginal farmland was abandoned on solely climatic criteria. Parry argues that “ … political upheaval, the Black Death, the decline of the monasteries, or even runs of disastrously poor summers in the 1590s and 1690s may have triggered the retreat of high-level cultivation, it was the operation of these forces on the marginality enhanced by climatic deterioration in the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries that produced … marked and lasting effects.”16 If such events were only the trigger other factors adduced by Parry17 such as “errors of farming judgement, changes in farming objectives and changes in farming systems remain to be tested.” The real effect of climatic change also needs to be more carefully appraised in relation to the food supply. The present study highlights some of the more notable events attributed to the weather at a given moment in history. Table 1 provides some of these.

Climate TABLE 1 ― 1550s 1562 1571 1590s 1594-8 1595 1598 1623-4 1640s 1650-1 1652 1655 1673 1681

EFFECT OF CLIMATIC CHANGE ON FOOD SUPPLY General Famine General Famine General Famine Disastrous Summer General European Food Crisis Harvest Failure Harvest Failure Famine: serious crisis Famine Famine Abundant Harvest Harvest Failure (Rain) Famine Harvest Failure (Drought)


1690s 1700 1707 1709 1732 1740 1747 1756 1782 1790s 1799 1800 1812 1816 1826

Most accounts include references to the “Ill years of William’s reign”. Summers were disastrous, harvest failed, (in 1696 there was ‘universal failure’) and there was much famine Food prices remained steady and reasonably low until 1782 Good corn harvests experienced until 1760 Harvest Failure Crop Failure Crop Failure Season of dearth Harvest Failure (Drought) Crop Failure Harvest Failure (especially in the Lowlands) Crop Failure9 : terrible famine Harvest Failure Price of corn was more than double the level of the 1790s Harvest Failure Price of corn was more than double the level of the 1790s Price of corn was more than double the level of the 1790s Harvest Failure Price of corn was more than double the level of the 1790s Harvest Failure Harvest Failure

Further to comment made in the table relevant to the 1690sa and the previous allusion to the confusing of issues and reliance upon assumptions there is conflicting opinion relating to dietary hardship during William’s reign although the ‘end result’ is the same. While the general policy had been to totally restrict food exports we can learn that “the country was so much at its ease in the matter of food in July 1695, that the Estates then passed an act for encouraging the export of grain, allowing it to go out duty free …”18 To maintain price stability it was enacted to forbid to import meal from Ireland. “As if to rebuke such policy, the very month after good food prospects … the crop was stricken in one night by an easterly fog … The corn was both bad and dear …” and a cholera-type of disease arose “not in all cases the direct result of bad unwholesome victual.”19 The variability of the weather mitigates against drawing firm conclusions as to the position relating to any single year but complements a variability in the quality of the reports passed on it. In choosing Chambers again (an earlier quotation) it at least reduces to the variability of sources. The summer of 1654 is said to be an eventful one in Edinburgh in terms of extreme. At one end there were “ripe peas and cherries … an early and abundant harvest; so that the best oatmeal was four pence sterling per peck. ‘The lambs and fowls were also at an exceeding cheap rate’ … from the abundance of herrings in the west seas, these fish were sold as low as twopence a hundred. Cheese was, in the west country, at 2s 6d sterling per stone.”20 At the other end, “Owing to the drought of the summer, the wells on which Edinburgh depended for water ran dry, ‘sae that the inhabitants could not get sufficient for ordering the meat … obliged to go a mile before they could get any clean water ‘either for brewing of ale, or for their pot meat.’”21 Clearly the information in the table can be extended but the main conclusion, apart from noting that writers have tended to avoid commenting upon the good situations, is that times of favourable conditions have not been frequent and have been short in duration. Allowing for the fact that the life span was shorter than now few generations escaped periods of severe conditions and it was only when climate was beaten by technology that health and longevity improved.

Scottish Agriculture and Social Control of the Food Supply The Labour System “When farmers become gentlemen their labourers become slaves” In opening this discussion with Cobbett22 we see immediately the scope for an extremely wide-ranging debate concerning why this should be so but it is necessary to confine it to the


ways in which ‘the slaves’ were permitted to obtain their food. With the intention of keeping to such an objective it is necessary, however, to give a fairly detailed account of the social systems prevailing at different times. We have no need for fine precision as to differences between, say, a ‘whole-hind’ and a ‘half-hind’23 but it is useful to show that the divisions of agricultural labour, even at fairly early times, was fairly well developed. The previous discussion on hospitality is relevant in terms of “economic and non-socially reciprocal hospitality” with its (“earned”) sub-divisions “baronial hospitality” (food and accommodation but with no wages) and “tied hospitality” (some wages). While our main interest concerns the period 1500 to the EARLY 1900S, it is necessary to briefly go back in history. Mackie discusses Scotland in the tenth century and comments: “Of the organisation of society and the modes of life in the period we have only a few glimpses.” His account shows that parts of the land were divided into provinces and: “The province was subdivided among tribes, each ruled over by a chieftain, to whom the title of thane was given later. Part of the tribal holding of land was the demesne of the chief and was cultivated by his serfs; part was held by free tenants; the remainder was the common property of the tribe … Tenants were expected to follow the King or their superior on foreign service or on expeditions at home, to pay him cain, a yearly portion of corn or cattle, and four times a year to afford him food and lodgings for the night, should he require it, or in lieu of this hand over to him a contribution in kind.”24 There are several useful factors which arise from Mackie’s comments. The emergence of the clan system is apparent. The feudal system was being established. The system of giving subsistence as the main or whole return for labour is at an early stage while the claiming back of a proportion of the labourers’ own produce shows the onset of numerous taxes which were later to be imposed. Another glimpse is given by MacKenzie where the term serf applies to those at the beck and call of the chief as mentioned. The period under debate is the time of Malcolm Canmore25 “The serfs were bound to stay on their master’s land if they left it they were brought back like stray oxen. They were compelled to do all manner of labour for their lord – felling timber, carrying manure and the like. Whatever they possessed their lord could take at his pleasure. He could sell them like cattle: … He had the power of pit and gallows over them – that is of drowning women and hanging men … They were the living dust which the great lord of the castle could trample underfoot. What could men be … but abject and crawling.”26 Grant27 says of such people: “Sometimes they were given in presents to monasteries. Sometimes they were sold singly or in whole families … but others were attached to the land that they tilled.” Their food was what remained after the monastic community had been fed. Little scope, then, to propose a further sub-division of the hospitality model relating to ‘religious’ or ‘monastic hospitality’ for the common folk of these early times. We are taken further on in time by Innes who helps us to acquire a knowledge of the background to a structural system within the later agricultural work force and the one of the forms of social control. “All the [Scottish] monasteries [in the twelfth century] were zealous agriculturalists and gardeners, at a time when we have no proof beyond consuming its fruits.”28 While the monks are described as “good neighbours and kindly landlords”29 they were not averse to perpetuating the exploitation of their workforce: “… of the inhabitants of the grange, the lowest in the scale was the carl, bond, serf or villein, who was transferred like the land on which he laboured, and who might be caught and brought back if he attempted to escape, like a stray ox or sheep”. There is no evidence for any consideration of their dietary conditions and many died of malnutrition at an early age. Above the villein came the cottar who lived in a hamlet. “Sometimes from thirty to forty families in number.” He is described as occupying “from one to nine acres of land, along with his cottage. Their rents varied from one to six shillings yearly, with services not exceeding nine day’s labour.”30 Part of this meagre allocation was taken to purchase items for the socalled benefit of the community including grain when it could not be grown from time to time. Most of this type of purchase was never seen by those who contributed to its purchase. “Husbandmen” were next in the social and employment scale in the twelfth century: they lived beyond the cottar town and held a husbandland, often twenty-six acres “where saythe and plough may gang”. They paid “six shillings and eight pence of money rent; but to this


were added considerable services in harvest and sheep shearing…” etc. Even though they had some considerable status the social control extended to their food: “These stipulations are exceeding precise fixing even the service, in which the husbandman was to have his food from the abbey.”31 They included the length of day to be worked, the breaks allowed and when sustenance would be received. What little rest given in the working day was accompanied by supervised prayer: food was often given at the end of the day so that work need not be interrupted. “Above the class of husbandmen was that of yeoman or bonnet laird as he is now [1860] called in primitive parts of Scotland.” He had hereditary rights to the land but paid for them. This is a perplexing issue although not central to the debate. The words used by Innes are: “He no doubt paid for his hereditary rights to the lands, and felt himself much above the husbandman whose title was precarious.” These rights were for use and not control. The form of social control here, albeit for someone well above the level of serf, was the vicious circle of working to earn the money to pay for the right to work. Even though it sounds a rather senior position it was no more than the foreman who has charge of unskilled labour confined to completely menial tasks. There is scarce evidence that the yeoman enjoyed a superior diet but might have expected ale as brewed on the premises on special occasions and they were few enough. As social systems developed along with the economy the yeoman became a cottager and his position was much improved. Above him was the tacksman (or ‘leaseman’ if translation is accurate). There were varying lengths of time over the centuries when land could be leased and Grant discusses the early seventeenth century and those who leased land. “Large pieces of it were let out on very long leases, perhaps for more than fifty years to a … tacksman (which merely means the leaseholder), who farmed a large part of it himself and let out parts of it to lesser folk who were called his subtenants … Four, three, or two were becoming usual and these employed lesser cottagers.”32 Such a description was relevant up to the middle of the eighteenth century when, according to Prebble “… society had been a pyramid.” “Below the chief, at its apex, the tacksmen leased their land to sub-tenants who paid for it in kind and service. They had no written leases and held their meagre patches of soil from year to year on the sufferance and good will of the tacksman. Their insecurity of tenure was the greatest guarantee that they or their sons could be brought into the clan regiment when needed. Below them was a bottom strata of landless men, the cottars, who screamed into battle in the wake of the charge.”33 The clan system, being based upon military ideals was no secure foundation for the supply of food when the need for armies lessened. The agricultural ‘controller’ obtained his tenure from the chief through the tacksman system, “… the merits and demerits of which stemmed from its military character”34, and there were many of the latter drawbacks. Pottle and Bennet3 provide the definition of a tacksman as “A middleman who leases directly from the proprietor of an estate a large piece of land which he sublets in small farms.” Those who were sub-tenants of these farms were the cottagers and their servants were the cottars. Fenton is a good source of information concerning the early agricultural worker. Here he discusses farm servants in the mid seventeenth century: “The wages of these servants were paid entirely in kind, in oats and pease, with an allowance of ground to sow oats and bere, and grazing for one or two cows. Such an arrangement meant that they were heavily dependent on their masters and their stake in the land itself.” In what was termed ‘economic hospitality’ earlier, the social control here concerns starvation as the direct result of lack of loyalty and hard work. It is not entirely clear, however, what the terms ‘servant’, and ‘farm servant’ actually mean and we look to Carter35 who elaborates: “Farm servants worked long engagements of six or twelve months. Farm labourers were hired by the day. Labourers were an insignificant part of the labour force but they were necessary when the strong needed to be protected by the weak. While food (and accommodation) was provided mainly or wholly as wages, we will not dwell too long on its characteristics at this stage. However, Drummond and Wilbraham


remark in the context of food: “It is interesting to note that the diet of the farmhands in some parts of Scotland … had not changed for centuries … This was due, in no small measure, to the survival of the primitive system, still operating today in some parts of Scotland, of providing the men working on the estate with food in part payment of their wages.”36 Newby is prominent amongst those who consider that the acceptance by the agricultural worker of his place at the lower end of the social hierarchy makes him a “deferential traditionalist”.37 Bell and Newby38 describe “deferential traditionalists” as being “… individuals who endorse a moral order which legitimates their own political, material and social subordination.” The earlier moral order used control over the access to the food supply when workers were actually handling the foodstuffs as part of their everyday work and life. It is worthwhile to discuss the moral order, while ‘farmers’ is an obvious term to describe those at the top of the agricultural hierarchy we have to discern the use of the same term applied by some to those lower down who have been given a plot of land on which to grow their household requirements. Above the farmer (or tacksman) in the overall social structure was the landlord. The agricultural workforce under the tacksman’s control in the general period from about 1700 to 1850 and in apparently descending order comprised the following: Cottagers Crofters Cottars ………………………… with varying elements of land allocation Whole hinds Half hinds Shepherd Tasker ………………………… with varying elements of land allocation Ploughmen Farmlads ………………………..

generally unmarried and itinerant

Female servants Maids ………………………

lived-in (the farmer’s own household)

Cottagers Generally speaking the cottager was a married servant (within the distinction already made between farm servants and farm labourers). (“The landowner usually let cottages for married farm servants …”39 From the previous discussion we see that the forbears of the cottager were the yeoman or bonnet laird although to claim precision would be unjustified as different regions of Scotland gave alternative interpretations to the same title. The position, especially considered against that of the cottar and husbandman, had developed into one to be envied but only within the local agricultural community. The tacksman retained control of day-to-day issues and saw to the collection of any dues which were passed on to the landlord.

Crofters According to Caird40: “The origin of the crofts can be traced to the period of agricultural improvement of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries”. This, however, does not accord with the more sensible suggestion of Cheape and Sprott41 that “There are many names … that belong to a settlement and agriculture before improvement … once pendicles and holdings outside the town – Goosecroft, Loancroft …” (six further examples are given). These names came into use long before the end of the eighteenth century. The factor looked after the laird’s or clan chief’s runrig fields for him and when extra labour was required at harvesting etc., there was a ready supply available although we need


not concern ourselves here with variations in the descriptions relating to the amount of land afforded to the crofter: “Beside the tenants of the runrig farms, there were smallholders of two to five acres occupied by a poorer class of clansmen known as crofters: these worked their own land, kept their cattle on the hills but in addition assisted the larger farmers and rendered their service to the laird in the busy seasons of the year.”42 It should be established, however, that Salaman was “a medical man and pathologist”43 and his description of the crofter would not have been accepted too well by Fullarton and Baird, who had a closer connection. Their contribution to the debate emphasises two factors relating to the diet. The first concerns food itself while the second concerns the means with which to purchase those foods which could not be grown on what amounts to a sub-dividable smallholding. When those near the sea were not working their primitive ploughs they were fortunate enough to be able to fish but even that extra source was insufficient to act as a cash crop. The sub-dividing of land, a system endorsed and probably originally created by the landowners, as a form of social control, was most effective in maintaining economic distance between rich and poor and ensured disproportionate access to the food supply. The irony being, of course, that those nearest the food in the labour sense were most distant in the consumer sense. “The small tenant, or crofter, generally possesses from four to ten acres of land near the sea, upon which he usually keeps a horse and a couple of cows. He is an animal quite amphibious, much of his time, especially in former days, having been occupied in fishing and kelp-making. With the assistance of his family, he cultivates his little farm, from which, now that these two branches of business have nearly ceased, he can barely support them; and, with singular improvidence, as his children get married, he divides and subdivides his land among them, till at length its utmost produce, even in potatoes, is utterly inadequate to their subsistence. The misery at present existing in the Highlands, from this cause alone, is quite appalling; and when to this we add that the rents of the small tenant and crofter are much higher, in proportion, than those of the larger of tenants, we cannot wonder at the extreme poverty and ignorance of those unfortunate people, any more than we can at their despondency as to bettering their condition in their native country.”44 Whether the moral order prevails to this day need not concern us but a modern perspective helps to evidence the strong traditions: “The crofter’s main objective in life is to produce for the subsistence of his family only, and having done this he does not normally go on to produce a surplus for sale outside. Originally dictated by the difficulty in finding markets this practice has now become a tradition and is not readily broken.”45

Cottars “The servant of the servant is worse than the devil”46 Certainly inferior to the crofter was the cottar or cotier. Salaman remarks: “Still lower in the scale were those who had a hut and a patch of land and worked for others: they were known as cottars.”47 As before, however, Fullarton and Baird provide a much more forceful insight: “But if the circumstances of the crofter be wretched, what shall we say of the condition of the cotier, or inferior farm servant? He is the immediate dependent of the farmer, from whom he generally holds a booth, or hut, and sometimes a cow’s grass, and a piece of ground capable of raising a few potatoes. He labours for his master summer and winter, and in doing so is often obliged to neglect and lose the best season for working his own wretched patch of ground. Sometimes he is paid in money, but much more frequently in farm produce.48 It may strike us that being the “immediate dependent of the farmer” gives the agriculture worker, the cottar in this case, every motivation to strike up against such restriction. This was not the case according to Fullarton and Baird who continue at a later stage: “Without inducement or opportunity to raise himself in the scale of societyb, the poor cotier … remains in a worse situation than his ancestors were.” (In fact any ‘progress’ worked against people at


the level of cottager and crofter even though they had accommodation, meagre as it was). Carter points out49 that the landlord merely built more cottages in order to increase the labour force and Fenton adds the comment that “The advantage for the farmer was that the families living in cot-towns supplied a large, cheap labour force for times of pressure like harvest …”50 But, such people as cottars “… must not bear the blame for the miserable condition of Scottish agriculture.” “… he held a comparatively small portion of land, seldom leased for more than four years; he had to sow and reap, not when it suited himself, but when his neighbours gave their consent; he might be called away from his own rigs to put in a few days’ labour on the home farm; he could not lift a finger when he saw his crops being devoured by the clouds of pigeons from his laird’s great ‘doocote’; and when his corn was threshed and winnowed he could not grind it himself …” Thus, the extent of social control gradually emerges. We have remarked upon food and accommodation being given as wages and the question of a return from the home production to the landlord. From Mackie we detect the probability of non-renewal of the lease of land and the concomitant expectation of good behaviour on the part of the tenant cottar. But, having worked hard to produce perhaps a small quantity of corn the cottar had to take it “… to the mill to which his land was ‘thirled’.”51 If that was too far he paid a oneeleventh “multure” to the thirling miller who should have ground it and another to the one who actually ground it. Grant comments: “The lord … could make them grind his corn in his mill and pay him for allowing them to use it.”52 Gauldie53 notes that the miller acted as the administrator of the laird’s estate and informed him which of the cottars and farmers “were falling into arrears with rent or services.” As if that was not enough to keep people in line – the cottar grew his own corn and had difficult access to its grinding – he had to release part of a tiny workforce to the landlord: “By 1800 terms of employment for a typical Lothian cottar included the obligation to provide a woman ‘bondager’ from his family to shear at harvest time and carry at threshing time for no wages at all (this involved twenty, thirty or forty days unpaid hard labour in a year) and a further obligation to provide a female day-labourer who would work a ten-hour day at rates of up to one penny an hour.”54 Thus, the cottar is the direct descendant of the villein discussed earlier. “The cottar was, from birth, a servant. Tradition and customary right gave him a little grazing for a cow on the township pasture, a kailyard and potato patch by his round-stone hut and for these he paid a lifetime of service to the sub-tenant … ‘Gille ghille is mensa na’n diobha!’ he cried bitterly after Culloden. The servant of the servant is worse than the devil.”55 And if religious zeal in Scotland sought to eradicate the devil the profit motive on the part of the landowner caused an appraisal of the labour intensivity of agriculture which led to a marked change in the use of land.

Other grades of Farm Servants From Fenton56 we are made aware of the 1656 “Assessment of Wages” produced by Edinburgh Justices of the Peace. Table 2 is a summary of the situation and notes relating to it are given immediately after. Table 2: Function and Wages of Some Farm Servants in Mid-Seventeenth Century Title

Whole hind


Plough, Saw, Maintain a fellow servant

Money Wage

Yearly Provision


House, Kail yard57, 15 bolls58 of oats, 6 firlots59 of pease, ground for 6 firlots of oats, 1 firlot of bere60, grazing for 2 or 3 cows




Money Wage

Yearly Provision

Half hind

General Assistant to Whole Hind: certain duties expected of wives61


Maintain a fellow servant: Supply a shearer with daily harvest

House, Kail yard, 8 bolls of oats, 1 boll of pease, acre of land for sowing grain, grazing for 2 or 3 cows

Flailed the grain: General

If full time he received 1/25 of grain threshed, house, kail yard, 1 boll of pease, grazing for one animal, food for self and wife during harvest

Tasker (also known as ‘barnman’ or ‘lotman’)

Ploughmen – also known as ‘gadsmen’

Ploughing and general


Paid partly in money

Half of above and 2 firlots of oats

Shared farmer’s food

Farm lads

Paid partly in money

Shared farmer’s food

Female servants

Paid partly in money

Shared farmer’s food


Paid partly in money

Shared farmer’s food

Shearer7 Source: Fenton 1965 and 1971: information given is generally verbatim and rearranged in tabular format.

The Agricultural Community It would be as well at this stage to attempt a tentative model of the earlier agricultural community and although general descriptions have been given by some, there is a distinct lack of diagrammatic representation. Haldane62 provides an unreferenced painting “Showing the Infield and outfield system of Cultivation” of a “Scottish Farm, about 1800” which does no more than depict four ‘nice’ houses in a rolling country scene. We need to go to Smout63 who, before showing an early map of “The Run Rigs of Corshill … before the days of enclosure”64 gives a description of the “… hamlet centring on a notional ‘farm’, the size of which was determined … by the area that one … two or three plough teams of horses or oxen could keep under cultivation.”65 From the description the following summary can be extracted and is combined with information from Campbell66 Hamlet or farm • • • • •

Based on a ‘notional farm’ (see above) Clachan (Highland term) Farmtoun (Lowland term Kirktoun (Lowland term with Parish church) Milltoun (with a mill)


Cot-toun (with poor cottars and no husbandmen

Division of farm i)

with no single husbandman •


with subtenants and servants (joint tenants – up to twenty as ‘masstenure’ especially in the Highlands)

run-rig – separate ownership of several scattered strips. • • •


Periodic – reallocated from time to time Fixed – permanent association with a single holding (Lowlands). Rundale – consolidated blocks (Lowlands).

steel-bow tenure – with some working capital supplied by the landowner.

Nothing more than a diagrammatic translation of several pages in each of Smout’s and Campbell’s studies has been depicted in fig.1. Lowland Agricultural Parish farms are located at the centre of each productive area and the less productive ground used as a barrier between them and occasional grazing land. The cottars lived in cot-touns interspersed between the farms with ease of access to two or more. Milltouns were less frequent and had their own agricultural labour force. Crofts are not shown, as they were more part of the Highland agricultural scenario. Although not entirely dissimilar from that depicted, the Highland agricultural communities were less nucleated settlements in the more sparsely populated hillsides. The main implication of the arrangement depicted in fig 1 is that the ‘social control’ over what had been dictated by the landowner was left to those within the agricultural community. They needed to decide a common crop for areas where they had some say over what needed to be grown. Dates had to be fixed for all time as, with such numbers of people involved, there would never be a new annual consensus. They needed to contribute animal energy to the communal plough. The herds needed to be tended on a roster basis virtually as the main labour force was required working on the land. The somewhat primitive judicial system was presided over by the laird, needless to say. Rules relating to thirling (grinding corn at another’s mill) are included in the discussion relating to the cottar.


Figure 1 - Lowland Agricultural Parish

(Smout and Campbell : see text)



Farmstead in-field with oat-field surrounding






Cottar homesteads in Cot-toun






Waste ground or less fertile land




The “Four-footed Clansmen” “Mo thruaighe ort a thir, Tha’n caoraich mhor a’ teach’d !” “Woe to thee, oh land, the great sheep is coming”


The sheep were being led by the landlords, and, later, the chieftains, who saw little future in continuing the only social service (from their point of view) available to the vast numbers of agricultural workers – that of providing them with jobs, housing and food for insufficient return. While the landlords were looking for higher profits and an easier life relative to the industrial relations problems which prevailed, their political allies had negotiated a contract with England bringing the two countries together. “The Union with Scotland eliminated customs and tariff barriers between the two halves of the island, and re-orientated the patterns of Scottish trade from Europe to England. In consequence, cattle production was stimulated, initially in the border counties, and there was some agricultural improvement … By the eighteenth century, Scotland had a great advantage over England in land available for pasture … [which] led to a situation where the relative value of land surpassed that of labour.”67 We need not continue to make comparisons with England although it should be stated that Hechter over-simplified the situation. He is right that the Lowlands were more innovative but it was an area of greater economic flexibility where the wide introduction of sheep farming was taken as a sign of progress. In a time of great change the more staid Highlanders were anxious to maintain a life-style of centuries: this was their downfall. “After 1760 the old Highland economy collapsed and in the following century there was … the introduction of large-scale sheep ranching from the south of Scotland.”68 The landlords slowly came to realise that arable farming was less profitable than the simpler livestock agriculture: it was simpler to operate and far fewer workers were required. This raised the question of what to do with them. Mackie remarks: “It is true that the value of the land was really increasing. But often the landlord overreached himself and imposed rents which the tenants could not pay; often the tenants were deliberately driven from the estate, “that a degenerate lord might boast his sheep.” To turn his estate into a sheep-walk was a quick and certain road to wealth. The land was meant by nature for sheep farming, not for agriculture, the landlord argued; why then should he allow the clusters of earthen huts and the fields of straggling oats and barley to remain on his estate? He would keep a few of his tenants to be shepherds, and turn the rest adrift.”69

The Landlords and Chieftains Chambers (in his Picture of Scotland) supported the landlords on this issue although he was usually given to providing an almost genre account of everyday life. “The landlords have very properly done all they could to substitute a population of sheep for innumerable hordes of useless human beings who formerly vegetated upon a soil that seemed barren of everything else.”70 This was a much stronger statement than his general observation seven years earlier: “In the country, the landlords have tried various modes to get quit of peasantry and small farmers. Wheresoever it has been possible, or at all feasible cottagers have been ejected from their dwellings mostly all of whom have emigrated to the provincial towns or the metropolis.”71 Chambers was aware of the march of economic progress and only condoned at that time the fate of the burgeoning numbers of destitutes of the results of such progress were channelled to remedying their situation. As we suspect, the only situation which was remedied was that of the landlord. Smout echoes such feeling: “Many people towards the end of the eighteenth century also asserted that landowners were becoming obsessed by the wish for more and more money, to the exclusion of other, older, gentler and more patriarchal values. A tenant, they said, was no longer asked if he had been born on the estate, or even if he was an industrious and sober man: he was simply presented with a demand for as high a rent as the market would bear, and if he could not meet it a stranger was invited to the farm his predecessors had enjoyed for generations.”72 Progress, however, has been aided by technological development prevailing within and beyond the agricultural industry. Fenton describes the introduction of “the threshing machine patented by Andrew Meikle in 1786 … James Small’s chain plough, patented in 1767 … and … The milking machine … 1890s …” Such innovations led to the redundancy of the barnman, “gadsman” and “tied-milker” respectively. There are other grades described whose


jobs disappeared and, much later, their “cottar houses are being increasingly advertised to let as holiday homes or turned into deep litter sheds for hens.”73 The clan chieftains, too, were not slow to notice that military requirements grow less as the society developed and sought ways in which their livelihood could be maintained. With rights over land, albeit won by strength and by that fact such rights were often tenuous. The chieftains put their land to different uses. Mitchison74 remarks that: “From the early seventeenth century Highland chiefs had been behaving as if they were also owners of the clan land. The law accepted this claim. As a result it was legally possible for chiefs or landowners to rearrange the holdings of their tenants as they wished …” She continues with comment to the effect that England later opposed the chieftainship ideal reducing the clan chiefs to “simple landowners”. While other projects were introduced simultaneously, sheep farming was the only one to survive in the long run and the objects of the exercise became the “four-footed clansmen” of Prebble’s description.75 But if landlords and chieftains accepted their new followers they perhaps looked around for further recruits. Those with antlers as opposed to horns were brought in very much at the ‘tail end’ of the Clearances as Salaman remarks. “After the middle of the [nineteenth] century … the wild deer of the mountains were recognised as a realisable asset, resulting in vast tracts of the countryside being let for the purpose of sport to wealthy Englishmen. The sport began in the 1860s and gradually acquired sufficient momentum to drive out the sheep and their shepherds as well as the few remaining inland crofters, from great areas of the Highlands and Hebrides.”76 It was, then, not so much a question of further recruits but alternative recruits although Salaman has overstated the situation somewhat. Sheep farming remained the major livelihood for the landowners and the provision of deer hunting was an additional luxury both in terms of activity and contact with members of an alternative aristocracy. But if there was sport for the landowners, there was as much for the increasing numbers of deer poachers and sheep rustlers whose missiles were aimed at filling the cooking pot. The dispossession of land created a concomitant disloyalty to laird and landlord at a time when smuggling and other disruptions were levelled at the new moral order. It was a question of food from any source and wild animals, even plants found their way more and more to the table of the temporary but and ben. Inevitably there are no records relating to the contribution made by such illegal and ad hoc sources but we can only surmise that they were extensive in scale. It is necessary to distinguish between “Highland Clearances” 77 and “Clearances”. Prebble’s study of the former title focused upon a specific historiography while Mitchison78 saw that the latter term incorporates “the fact that considerable transfer of lowland population also took place in the course of the adoption of ‘improvement’ from 1770 onwards.” There were several separate factors at work not least of which was the influence of the now British Parliament which was to introduce new laws and taxes including several on food and drink. Leaving aside general rebellions in the style of the 1745 opposition to control through smuggling and food riots, the agricultural community had enough to fight against. They were under pressure to ‘enclose’ the land by putting up fences, growing hedges etc. and saw this as a threat to their food supply already below poverty level. The Scottish landlords, however, had finally seen the potential benefits to them of ‘enclosure’ through the medium of their parliamentary associates as Green’s generally applicable remarks support: “The enclosure of land was not a new process. It had been practised extensively ever since Plantagenet times, though normally only in sheep country. Whereever it had been undertaken it had aroused considerable popular and political opposition. What was new in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Enclosures was the increasing speeds with which they were pushed through and the small amount of political opposition they aroused. Such opposition as there was seemed to be populist, polemical and literary rather than Parliamentary.”79

Conclusion From the Union to the early nineteenth century we see numerous changes as would be expected within a hundred years. Making the almost inevitable comparison with the situation in England the major difference centres upon dispossession of land. The main population


shifts were from mountain to coastal region and, towards the end of the century, from there to the city. Discounting also the new seaside location where little or no preparation had been made (especially in Sutherland) it would have taken two or three generations for dietary patterns to settle down while different food sources were evaluated. Herring fishing and kelp were to prove almost of equally short duration and it was perhaps unreasonable to expect that people would adapt well to a new environment and life-style. Conversely, it is equally reasonable to expect them to move to the cities with the expectation of a better life. Sadly, that was not achieved.

Appendix General Review of the Agriculture of the Countries of Roxburgh and Selkirk With observation on the means of their improvement. Drawn up for the consideration of Board of Agriculture and 1798 Rev Robert Douglas, D.D. Minister at Galashiels Published by Richard Phillips, London 1798. [Edited for ease of reading] In the Introduction a summary of the weights system is described. “In Roxburghshire hay, wool, lint, butter, cheese, tallow and raw hides are sold by the Scotch ‘tronstone’ which equals twenty four pounds in the English or avoirdupois system. In Selkirkshire the stone by which the above articles are sold contains only twenty three pound eight ounces English or Avoirdupois. Note: A pack of wool consists of twelve of these stones. In both countries all kinds of grain, meal flour, pot barley, iron, cattle, butcher meat and fish are sold by the Scotch, troy or Dutch stone which equals seventeen and a half pounds English or avoirdupois. This stone contains sixteen pounds troy or Dutch, and the pound is seventeen and a half ounces English or Avoirdupois”. There is a note that grain and cattle are rarely sold by weight, but their value is commonly computed and spoken of by this standard. Flour, when bolted and dressed is sold by the English stone of Fourteen pounds. The boll or load of meal is sixteen Scotch troy stones. There is a generalisation that the stone is sixteen pounds and not fourteen pounds as in England. “The Linlithgow firlots are the standard measures in Scotland for all grains. There are two of them; one for wheat, rye, pease, beans, and white salt; the other for barley, oats and malt. The former contains 2197,335 solid inches, and twenty one and a half pints, each pint being 103,404 solid inches. The latter contains 3205,524 solid inches and 31 of the same pint. The Winchester bushel being 2150,420 solid inches, is very little less than the Scottish firlot of wheat. Relative to these standards the measure of Roxburgh and Selkirkshires are as follows; In Roxburghshire “Wheat, pease, beans, and rye are sold by the boll of five firlots, each firlot containing 2274,888 cubic inches and twentytwo pints, being three Scotch mutchkins or nearly one and one tenth English quart above the Scotch standard. The boll is equal to five firlots three and three quarter pints Scotch standard and equals five bushels three packs two pints and a fraction, English standard. In Selkirkshire “The firlot is one tenth of a pint larger, which gives only a very trifling increase in the boll. nb. in both countries this boll is falling into dissuse, and in the following work has reference only to the fiars and average monthly returns of the prices of grain to government. These grains commonly sold by the boll of six firlots instead of five. To this boll the author uniformly refers, except as above, and the reader will feel that in Roxburghshire it is precisely equal to four of the county firlots for oats, barley and malt as under”. Then follows further details of other measurements. Other works described elsewhere in the present book deal


with the poverty of eighteenth century Scotland. Douglas gives perhaps a different perspective “A considerable number of men, in this country and the neighbourhood, earn a comfortable subsistence, by keeping one or two horses and a cart, and undertaking to make repair highways to carry materials for building, poles, lime for manure, goods to or from market, or to plough fields; and they contract to perform these operations by day, by measurement, by weight or by the lump, according to the nature of the work or things carried. These men are here-meant by jobbers”. Moving on to describe the tenants within the farms “One tenent frequently possesses two, and sometimes three (farms); and there are instances of the same person having both an arable and a sheep farm, to obtain the double profit arising from rearing sheep to a larger size, by wintering them on after grass and turnips, and fattening them and their lambs earlier and better for the market. From eight hundred to three thousand acres is the most common size of sheep farm”. While a few winters if described have qualities lacking in the early population of Scotland Douglas may take an alternative view. “The character of farmers like the size of their farms, admit of much variety. No profession affords more scope for displaying abilities; and no county can boast of a more ingenious and respectable body of farmers. Many of them have received a classical and some a liberal education. While the cultivation of their fields and the state of their flocks and herds are pleasing proofs of acting industry and professional knowledge, the style of their dress and of their table, are indications of easy circumstances; and the general strain of their conversation and manners discovers that frankness and candour of mind, which is unfettered prejudices of every kind, and equally open to impart or receive information”. The author, however, adds a rider: “It cannot be expected, that this description is equally applicable to them all”. He speaks of the “happy alteration which has taken place, both in the system of agriculture, and in way of living, it is slowly extending its influence to the narrow minded and slothful”. In the midst of various agricultural details which follow there are references to the domestic scenery. “Finer linen, and more decent clothes, are worn. Carpet, the spit, and the social ball, begin to make their appearances in houses where they were entire strangers. And a desire is evidently kindling, of mixing more in good company, of keeping a more plentiful table, and of learning the practices and sharing the profits of good husbandry”. “Those excesses of the bottle, both in ale houses and at home, which formerly characterized them, and led to the neglect of necessary business, have now given place to the more rational and temperate use of that cheerful enjoyment. They are still extremely social when they meet, and hospitable to strangers; but seldom indulge in these pleasures to such a degree, as to divert their attention from their more important concerns”. The farmers and their immediate families made good use of libraries. “From their frequent intercourse with each other, and with strangers, and from the books that they purchased or peruse from those public libraries, of which many of them are members, they have access to become acquainted with the most approved practices in the line of their business through the kingdom ,…” Chapter III is headed “Buildings” and deals with farmhouses, offices and repairs. “The farmers are, by no means, so well accommodated (as the Peers in their hunting seats either with dwelling houses, or offices; both being, in general, paltry and ill built. Most of the dwelling houses are of one storey, low in the roof, badly lighted, and covered with thatch”. “In farms, where little or no corn is raised, a barn might still be useful, to hold wool and cheese in their seasons, and to serve various other purposes; … The cottages, attached to farms for the residence of shepherds and married servants, are wretched habitations, dark, smokey, and insufficient defences against wind and rain”. Chapter IV is entitled “Mode of Occupation”. and deals with the size of farms which is variable from 50 to 6,000 acres and 1,500 to 2,500 is thought to be a moderate size for a farm which is only fit for pasture. This chapter goes on to describe the people. “The character of the farmers admits of much diversity”. Then follows a description somewhat agricultural in content. However, “In general, they all deserve the praise of being frank, communicative and hospitable. Their tables are much better provided, than the appearance of their houses affords any reason to expect; and there are, in their looks and manners, a cordial welcome, and an urgency to partake of their meat and drink, which strongly indicates a kind heart. They


few of them live in elegance and plenty, have a plain dinner well dressed and served every day, and a bottle of wine or a cheerful glass of punch for a friend”. The debate continues on a more ‘equestrian plane”. The horses enabled them to “meet together at markets and fairs: but, of late there have been few or no instances of their neglecting necessary business for the sake of their bottle, or companions, or indeed for any other enjoyment”. …“Their chief defect is a degree of indifference for that kind of knowledge, which can only be acquired from books, or from more frequent and enlarged intercourse with mankind. Very few of them have hithered to become members of a public library at Falkirk”. Later on, in a Section headed “Expence and Profit” we observe that “There is so great diversity in the nature and size of farms and in the mode of management, that an account of expence and profit can scarcely be given, which will apply to more than two or three farms in the county”. We see details of sales mainly relating to sheep, that cheeses were mentioned in the same heading as “skings of sheep and lambs who die” (morts) where the sub-total is £50 in a grand total of £627 in which the farmers profits “appears to be £109.60”. Within the chapter on arable land we are told “In the higher parts of the country, there are very few turnips, and no peas. It is impossible to observe a regular rotation, where oats occupy at least 6/10 if not 9/10 of all arable land, where the small remainder is divided pretty equally between turnips and barley, and where red clover is rarely if every raised. There is, however, every appearance of turnips becoming more general; and farmers may be tempted to sow a red clover, although they cannot protect it from sheep during Winter, and can only reap vantage from it for a season, not probably as a hay crop, but at least as enriching the pasture, till the white clover becomes more abundant”. From the ensuing discussion it is clear that the turnips and clover “are desirable both for their flocks and their fields;…”. Later, we are told “Though less peas are sown now than formerly, yet a greater quantity is annually raised”. Extending the discussion to oats and barley we are informed that “The average quantity of these three grains sown upon an English acre, is nearly as follows: oats 8/10; barley -5/10 or 11/20; and peas -7/12 of their respective bolls. Their average produce, on the same acre will be, oats, 3 1/2 bolls; barley, 4 1/2 bolls; and, peas 4 bolls.” Then again, we are told “Twenty years ago, i.e. in 1778 there were scarcely ten acres of turnips in the whole county; those raised in some corners of cornfields in different farms, were generally destroyed by the sheep; and the few ridges annually sown around Selkirk and Galashiels, were greedity devoured by children and curious people, as soon as the bulb was formed. In spite of these obstacles, the culture of them has become gradually more general, and is still rapidly on the increase. Attention, care and good fences protect them from sheep; and the depredations of idle boys are less now, that their curiosity is regratified,…”. However, the inidcations are that sheep consumed the turnips as opposed to their being held in any esteem for human stomachs… “More of them are applied to rear and improve the conditions of cattle and sheep,…”. Then we learn that “potatoes found their way into this county some years before turnips; though I cannot learn that they were planted, except with a spade, till the year 1772 or 1773, or that any kind was known, except the red and a few kidneys. About that time, some of the common white kind made their appearance, and in a few years entirely supplemented the others. About that time, too, they began to be dropped in every furrow made by the plough, which practice was tenaciously retained, till the larger returns procured by planting them in every third furrow, or in ridges at the distance of 27 or even 36 inches, and the obvious advantage of getting the land cleared and pulverised by the plough, gradually obtained, for these last they methods they decided preference. They became quite common, through the whole county, about the 1778 or 1780s. By that time, a change of feed was brought from Langholm; red-nebf were introduced; potatoes constituted a chief article of food for a great part of the year, and ever since, enough of them have been raised to supply the consumpt of the inhabitants, and to furnish a considerable quantity of feed to the contiguous parts of Midlothian and Tweedale”. Intersection introduces us to “crops not commonly cultivated”. …“A few acres are sometimes devoted to wheat. It is managed in the same manner as in Roxburghshire, and yields good returns, but is, in the several respects, hurtful to the ground”. Then follows the comment that “astonishing crops have been raised - rye; but there is little demand for this grain,…”. “Beans are sometimes, though very seldom, sown among peas. A few rows are also to be seen, in some fields, … and of cabbages. But there is very little soil in the whole country of a sufficient depth for raising either of these, or carrots, though all of them have been produced of an excellent quality on particular spots”.


Later in the same discussion comments are passed about the cultivation of yams and “their growth is much slower” than potatoes. “There can be no doubt that Swedish turnips would thrive well in the whole arable district. Some of them have weighed a Dutch stone. But, without, a confederacy of neighbouring farmers to raise fields of them every year, they cannot force their way into general use; and it is not clear that they merit so much attention. They are eat, with prodigious avidity, by every passenger, especially in Spring:…” Chapter VIIII is headed “Gardens and Orchards” and we are told that “It cannot be expected, that, in a county so small and so devoid of towns and villages, there should be gardens and orchards, producing pot-herbs and fruits for sale. But all the common and several rare vegetables for the kitchen, and those fruits for the table, which are found in similar climates, are raised, of an admirable quality, in the gardens of the resident gentlemen. All the farmers have gardens; but in some places, the soil and climate will bring nothing to maturity, except a few hardy vegetables: in most places, gardens do not merit much attention, and do not receive even a little that they merit; yet there are instances, though by no means numerous, of their being managed with skill and care. Much more can be said for the garden belonging to tradesmen, cottagers, and the inhabitants of Selkirk and Galashiels. Many of them are neatly dressed, and yield a profusion of useful vegetables, and are ornamented with shrubs, flowers, and bushes, bearing the smaller fruits. There are a few orchards, most of the fruit at gentlemen’s tables being raised on walls,…”. The ardent scholars will no doubt scurry to other books and produce trentises on when this or that vegetable was first grown. May he consign them to where the seeds were sown… two spits deep!


Chapter 5 FOOD ON THE TABLE Introduction Previous chapters have shown various influences upon diet and the use of food both generally and in relation to Scotland. It is appropriate now to consider some of the specific foods consumed by Scots and in their historical contexts. The assertion made in the first chapter that the standard of diet around 1550 was reasonable can be supported before looking in more detail at the subsequent decline in those standards. Grant sees that decline both in terms of the later successes with the production of oatmeal and identification of the reliance on that commodity: “The eighteenth century description of the Scots (when the droving trade was at its height) as a nation that lived upon oatmeal, have so much captured the popular fancy that it is quite surprising to remember that until the seventeenth century the people were probably largely meat eaters. Corn and other grains were often scarce … the export of hides and skins was one of the principal industries of the country … it is clear that the canny Scot, who is scarcely likely to have wasted the 1 carcass of these animals, must have indulged in a good deal of meat …” There was also such an abundance of salmon too, at this time, that people got quite bored with having it each day. Truckel2 has produced a list from original documents of various items described in the inventory of goods at Torthorwold Castle, near Dumfries, in 1544. Included in the list are accounts relating to “34 salt salmond, price of the pece 3s; 12 dry kipper … 12d; 8 stane of butter, 12s stane; ane dosand stanis of cheis … as stane; ane pitcher of huny contenand tua gallonis, price of the galloun 20s”. The documents show that such commodities were eaten by the serfs. Accepting the previously stated limitation that the bulk of reports relate to the rich, at least some of their fare would have been consumed by their servants. Another assumption worthy of contesting is that battle and contest were the downfall of the medieval aristocrat. Excessive eating of the “idle rich at the close of the sixteenth century, killed more than sword and knife” “Qutia wuld tak rest upoun the nicht, Who would take rest at night, The supper sould be schort and licht; The supper should be short and light; The stommok hes ane full grit [great] pane, The stomach has a lot of pain, When at the supper much is taken. Auhen at the supper mekle is tane.” 3 The contemporary culinary-cum-dietary advice included: “’bulyeit’ or boiled meat … ‘fosteris weill’; ‘rostit’ meat is said to dry the blood; of salt there is never a good word to say; it is pronounced ‘warst of any fude’”. Besides perhaps predicting the modern concern for the effect of salt we may have the beginnings of the lack of any desire for roast meats. Allen4 considers that there is a “poorly developed tradition of roasting in Scotland”. Grant’s proposition that meat consumption lessened in the seventeenth century was not quite supported by Smout. “Early in the [eighteenth] century it had been customary to eat enormous meat meals without vegetables throughout the summer and winter, and to subsist in the winter on salt beef, chickens, broth, eggs and fish, with, of course, quantities of oatmeal prepared in different ways. By 1800 meals were less gargantuan but diet was much better balanced, with a big choice of vegetables (especially turnips, potatoes and greens) more fruit, much more wheatbread used, and fresh meat available in every month.” 5 We will look at turnips, potatoes, fruit etc., later on. Meanwhile let us remain with the early eighteenth century. The years of plenty might seem to have been at the time of the Union of Parliaments which is not to say that such plenty was influenced by increased contact with England. The household books of Lady Grisell Baillie concern 1692 to 17336 and those of Lady Castlehill concern 1712. Although this type of book is about the life of the aristocracy there is ample indication of a reasonable level of diet of servants which is to be expected.


Referring to Lady Castlehill, Whyte2 comments: “As the wide variety of home-produced foodstuffs required by the Receipt Book testifies, Scotland at the beginning of the eighteenth century, despite years of death and famine, was not such a poverty stricken land as is often supposed … if the Scots were not so sophisticated as the English, they were at least healthier … The food was gutsy, solid, ample and rich …” Contrast such a view with that of another writer who reviewed a much wider period: “The new foods, new cooking techniques, and new eating habits that began to revolutionize and then refine the diet of so much of Europe after about AD 1200 passed Scotland by. Despite the French connection, despite the Scots nobility’s undoubted familiarity with the rice and spices, almonds, sugar, fruits and other delicacies so integral to the new cuisine, the great mass of Scotland’s people continued, until after the Union of 1707, to eat much the same food, prepared in much the same way, as their ancestors had done a thousand years before. Or even earlier. Nowhere else in Europe – not even in Ireland – did a ‘national’ cuisine preserve its innocence for so long.” 8 In Chapter One it was suggested that Scotland was at least a century behind in general progress compared with England. That suggestion has some worth in the light of Tannahill’s comment. Consider also Burt’s view of the Islands. As late as the late 1720s, according to Burt9 metal containers were unavailable to many in the further Scottish Islands “ … being destitute of vessels of metal … they put water into a block of wood, made hollow with the help of the dirk and burning; and then with pretty large stones heated red-hot, and successively quenched in that vessel, they keep the water boiling, till they have dressed their food.” Prior to this boiling-in-the-hide process “… the lower orders of Highlanders” boild the blood taken from the living animal “into cakes, which together with a little milk and a short allowance of oatmeal, is their food” 10 As if to confirm that meat eating on the grand scale as discussed earlier may have ended in the eighteenth century we see that an Englishman who visited a random village, Lesmahago in Lanarkshire in 1704 “… found the people living on cakes made of pease and barley mixed. ‘They ate no meat, nor drank anything but water all the year round … I pitied their poverty but observed the people were fresh and lusty and did not seem to be under any uneasiness with their way of living’.”11 So with lusty people eating gutsy food, despite disagreement about the amount of meat consumed, the diet seems to have been, on balance, approaching acceptable levels. Accepting limitations already announced concerning the type of information forthcoming it is of interest at this stage to look more closely at a household book. Analysis of the “Bills of Fair” of Lady Grisell Baillie’s heyday [early 1700s] reveals a good range of foodstuffs and the vegetables are of particular interest. The following detail is taken from her Household Book12 and the page number gives first mention of the repeated use of the item.

Page No 281

Meat & Fish Sewd beef Pidgion py Pickled sols Turkie Cockscombs Sweat breads

Vegetables With sallarly Spinich

Fruit, Nuts etc. Limon Apples pears Peald walnuts


Page No

Meat & Fish


Rost bief Rost mutton Ragow cokscoms Rosted larks Rabbits Sawsages


Sheap head Relief of salmond Lobster Dryd whitiens Foull

Sparagrass Peas

Limon cream Shelld walnuts


Hens Rost hear Boyled hame

Colloflour Green peas



Boyld sols Broyld eels Frayed eles Rost fillet bief Patriedges


Chiries Straberries Oranges Frut


Veall Sagages



Pistache nuts Bran


Soup with marrabon



Sheaps head

Page No

Meat & Fish


Boyld goos (once only) Hagis (once only)


Fruit, Nuts etc. Chestnuts Jellys


Fruit, Nuts etc.


Page No

Meat & Fish


A dish turbet Toung


Mackerall Bacon and benns Broyled herrins


Red cabage Salary



Rosted breast of pork (once only) Vension Boyld wild ducks


Colerd pig Rost udder Frogs

Fruit, Nuts etc.

Aples in cyrop


“It will be noted that in these menus there is only one mention of potatoes, and that in the foreign menus of 1733.”13 (That menu is not included in the above analysis). The variety in spelling has been discussed by White14 in his introduction to a similar book. “… the unstandardised spelling (which often is merely the phonetic rendering of a word) …” indicates to the present writer a variety of hands also. The low number of pork-based dishes suggest that this is a topic for further discussion which is to be found later. Opinion relating to the diet of those of lesser importance and later in the century is given by Stephens whose concern was that the decline in dietary standards was at its most marked. “It need hardly be said that is it largely social conditions which shape the diet of a people. Looking, then, at the sheer social deprivation of large numbers of people following the Industrial Revolution in Scotland – reckoned to have begun with the first blasts of the Carron Ironworks in 1759, but gathering momentum from around 1800 onwards – it would be difficult to expect anything other than a very poor diet indeed.”15 She has summarised the rural menu around the 1790s and argued that those living in the country had a sound intake notwithstanding its “grinding monotony” as compared with those in the towns.

Typical Daily Menu of Rural Scots Late 18th Century onwards Porridge, brose or “brochan” (gruel) with milk or oat or Breakfast barley bannocks (eaten dry) Whole potatoes with butter or Broth with kail or potatoes Noon Meal Oat or barley bannocks. Milk or ale. Supper Oatmeal brose (with turnip or kail juice) or barley broth with Milk or ale.”16 Sievwright, however, found considerable variety in the diet (in 1830 rural Brechin) “amongst the same class of people”17 due to differences in character, size of family etc., and


fluctuations in the “conditions of the staple trades of the town and wages which workers could command.”18 Perhaps a typical situation related to the “decent, honest, sober weavers in Brechin, I have heard, [who] had to resort to unnatural expedients to stiffle the cravings of hunger on the part of their children, such as keeping out the light of the incoming morning to quieten the cry of the bairns for their morning porritch, or giving them salt herrings to eat, that their extreme thirst might lead them to fill their empty stomachs with water.”19 While the general decline from the standard of diet in more medieval times is perceptible, the variations are much more apparent. Levitt and Smout20 looked at “The State of the Scottish Working Class in 1843” and concluded several things. “The far north … was probably better fed than the Highlands …”21 but the Shetlanders were not as well fed as the Orcadians. The north western parts of the Highlands and Hebrides “includes the worst fed districts in the entire country with little to eat but potatoes and fish, supplemented by milk and a little meal.” The central Highlands seemed to be more adequately supplied but there was a lack of fish. The Aberdeen area had “abundant supplies of oatmeal and drank more milk than anywhere else.” A lot of green vegetables were consumed but rather less potato than other parts. Pork seems to have been favoured in Southern Perthshire and Fife along with a generally higher level of meat consumption there and in Angus. Fish was the mainstay of diet on the seaboard of Fife which is, of course, extensive. People in Edinburgh ate less meat in the mid 1800s than their countrymen across the Forth but more than those towards the border where we observe a much more frugal diet of oatmeal and potatoes again. Weavers are singled out once more for attention and spent two 22 thirds of their income on meal, milk and potatoes. MacKinnon was not as detailed in comment as Levitt and Smout. “About the middle of the [nineteenth] century the use of butcher meat was still very limited and oatmeal and potatoes were still the staple diet. By the end of the century the use of meat had become common, at the expense, however, of the decrease in the use of oatmeal which is greatly to be deplored.”23 The turn of the twentieth century sees the end of the present study. There are occasional references to more recent times in contrast to events or circumstances in the past.

Food on the Plate Cereal “The fire was on the hearth, of peat or wood, and the goodwife toasted her oatcakes on the girdle, and finished them off by drying them in front of the fire …”24 This is perhaps everyman’s image of Scotland in a byegone age and as a hand-me-down from mother to daughter the gastronomic heritage of Scotland was perpetrated until technology took over probably just after World War 1. Oats v wheat v barley etc., has been the concern of farmers for centuries as an early writer suggests: “Nocht withstandeng amang the mountanis and hiche cuntreyis, ates is mekle mair prosperous than quheit. Of ates in Britannie, by the opinione of mony, is maid verie gude brede, nocht tasteles, bot with grett labour, quhilke al the north parte of Ingland, and the Gretter parte of Scotland vses, and ar susteyned vpon commounlie.” 25 ‘Ates’, with great labour, is turned into gude brede. This was probably aerated with yeast from the brewing of ‘wholesome ale for the whole isle’. If any one food-stuff could be singled out as longest runner in the food marathon it would be oatmeal. It was well established in Scotland by the sixth century26 but such a statement should not be taken too literally; as we have already seen that there were difficulties in the middle ages. Such problems were not really solved until the agricultural revolution of the 1800s. The same writer has noted that its ease of preparation (which does not count it as the first convenience food) has been a significant factor in its early acceptance and “could be made ready for eating within an hour or so of being reaped if the cook used the neolithic threshing method (still known in the nineteenth century Highlands as gradaning) of setting fire to the chaff. This also toasted the grain and made it digestible.” (She did not note, however, that this operation may also have led to a different flavoured alcoholic fermentation if its


products were left in water in the warmer months. Thus, malted beers may have had their origins in an activity which had been carried out for hundreds of years before the particular effect had been noted. Today, of course, the matter discussed here is carried out in the brewery mashtun). But to return to the question of ease of preparation and the acceptance of oats as the staple foodstuff in earlier times, ingenuity was not confined to setting light to the chaff. “In his chronicle for the year 1327 Froissart noted that on their forays into England, Scottish soldiers never bothered with pots and pans, but seemed content to ride with a bag of oatmeal and a flat stone strapped between the saddle and the saddle cloth. When they got tired of a diet of stolen cattle, they mixed up a paste of oatmeal and water and made little cakes, cooked on the stone among the campfire embers.”27 While today oatmeal is looked upon as food for the poor, there was a time in Scotland when it was a special treat. I.F.Grant has written several books on Scottish history and in her “Everyday Life in Old Scotland” draws upon “Henryson, the poet who was born about 1425 and died about 1500.” Henryson describes “… the ordinary diet of the poorest people in the fifteenth century. Oatmeal was rather a luxury to them. In bad years, especially, they did not have it every day, or they had to mix it with cheaper food such as rye meal.”28 But still there was very little that was more appetizing than the “little cakes” almost half-baked through the heat created by equestrian friction. Grant notes29 that it was not until 1560 that a slightly better product was available in the form of fuskean scone. “This is the earliest mention of the word scone in Scots literature.” 30 At least the carbohydrate intake provided by oatmeal was not limited to the scone although boiling it was looked down upon by visitors to Scotland. Then, as today, tourists made sure that they saw the Islands. “In the Western Island about 1695, little flesh was said to be eaten, and the ordinary diet was butter, cheese, coleworts, and a dish called brochan. Brochan, a kind of gruel consisting of oatmeal and water, boiled, was a standard dish in winter and spring, as long as the grain lasted. Travellers regarded it as the dish of the ‘Vilgar’.” 31 Fenton was writing about “The Place of Oatmeal in the Diet …” Returning to the mainland we can also widen the discussion to include barley: Fenton32 comments “Until Fletcher of Saltoun started his barley mill in 1711, pot barley was made in a ‘Knock in Stane’ i.e. a stone with a deep hollow, in which the grain could be rubbed or pounded with a stone or mallet.” As time progressed such activities became mechanised but: “Barley mills were not in common use till the year 1742, and they were unknown in the Highlands until the close of the century.” I.e. 1800.33 Other improvements included proper storage facilities for the grain. Graham here discusses the period 1700 – 1750. “When snow set in, each country house was blockaded: there was nothing to look on but the bleak, white, treeless waste. Then it was that the isolated home appreciated the advantage of having within doors … the girnalls full of grain to make their ‘groats’, and ‘knockit bear’ their brew house to supply the ale.” 34 Such an improvement as “girnalls” were clearly unavailable to those in a more urban environment. Grant refers to the diet of the poor in the 1750s. “Poorer people could seldom afford meat, white bread they never had. They lived on milk, cheese, kail, herring, barley, rye and oatmeal, and in bad years they went very short of food.” 35 Anderson would support such a description “For the majority of people in Scotland, prior to about 1750, the daily diet was monotonous and limited. The staple foods were oats, barley, milk and kale. Variations of these were eaten at every single meal – meat was almost never served and fish only very rarely. Oatmeal was used for porage, bannocks and a dish called ‘sowens’. A typical supper would be a brose of kale (the main home-grown green vegetable) followed by oatcakes and cheese.36 (We have already seen that meat was probably in much greater use than Anderson would have us believe). “Sowens” is not described and briefly stated at this stage it is soaked (two days) oatmeal, sieved and then boiled. Ashley took a more restrictive view and quotes from what we would today term a ‘personal communication’ from “the well-known Scottish antiquary Mr David Murray of Glasgow”: “There can be no question that oatmeal and bere meal or barley meal constituted the cereal food of the people of Scotland all through the Middle Ages, and I think


we may safely say until the end of the eighteenth century … the general food was oatmeal cakes, barley or mashlum bannocks and scones.” 37 It would be as well to clarify one or two words arising from Ashley’s quotation, not that is much help. “Barley or bere bannocks and mashlum or mixed grain bannocks were baked on a barred brander over the fire.”34 Bere is six-rowed barley. The bannocks were “also baked on toasting stones”39 The bannock is a “thick, round flat cake, generally of oatmeal, baked on a girdle” 40 Collins was referring to the nineteenth century and remarked that: “Scotland may be divided into three dietary regions: (1) the border counties, with their oat-cake and barley and peas and bannocks; (2) the central Lowlands where, in Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as some of the larger villages, wheaten bread was already ‘an infatuation’ with the lower classes, although large quantities of oatmeal for cake and porridge, and of pot barley for soups, were also used; and (3) most of the rest of Scotland, where oatcake, and to a lesser extent barley bread and bannocks, were ‘indispensable’ foods.”41 Without wanting to test such a statement too rigidly we can look at Montrose, a town south of Dumfries, and Fife. The general assumption can be made that it was a ‘bread in the town and oats in the country’. Turning attention now more closely to bread, Zealand looked at “Evidence for food and drink consumption in Montrose from Burgh Court civil claims for petty debts: 1707-1820” as a private research project and in a personal communication comments that “Wheaten, especially white bread was consumed a great deal by townspeople and was baked by professional bakers, the weight was fixed by the Wheaten Bread Assize appointed by the magistrates. The bread was made from fine white flour from locally grown wheat which was also exported.”42 Other bread, namely oatcake was made from not-so-fine flour and, while held in high regard by Scots, was less favoured by an English visitor to Dumfrieshire around 1815. “… at “Man’s Riddle” W. of Southerness (then Alturness) at an inn, my host … brought me some oat-cake and butter, and a mutchkin of whisky … as if he had set before me a feast for a prince. ‘There, Sire, sit you doon and fill yoursel’. The oat-cake as made in Scotland is a very coarse kind of bread, and I often find it so rank and bitter, that with every disposition to make the best of things I could scarcely consent to swallow it. At least one-third of the husk of the grain is mixed up in the cake so that when baked hard it has a surface like a file, and proves very offensive to gums not properly seasoned. I know not whether it be from this quantity of roughness that it has an unpleasant effect on the bowels of those unaccustomed to such rugged food, yet, coarse as it is, this is the bread which the majority of the people of 43 Scotland are content to eat … it is … far more nutritious than wheaten bread.” 44 We are informed by R. Chambers that “The girdle, a round iron plate used for baking [sic] oaten cakes over a fire – a household article once universal among the middle and humbler classes in Scotland – was invented and first made at the little burgh of Culross in Fife. In 1599 King James gave the Culrossians an exclusive privilege to make girdles, and this has been confirmed by a gift from Charles II in 1666.” We can discern from the detail of Chamber’s discussion that the girdle had largely gone out of fashion in the 1850s, that it was used by most of the population up to that time, and that Fifers did not leave it hanging up very often. The dietary shift which takes place as a result of the collective aspiration of the lower classes to follow the lifestyle (and hence their menus) portrayed by those of a higher social order is apparent through the ages and in relation to oatmeal has also46 been discussed by Letheby. “Oatmeal and Rye bread were once the chief diet of the servants of the wealthy, and even now the former is used by 90 per cent of the agricultural labourers of England, and by a still larger proportion of the Scotch. The grain is very rich in gluten and fat, and it contains a good quantity of sugar and starch … The Scotch meal is always preferable to the English, on account of its higher nutritive power … Like barley meal it cannot be resiculated into bread, but it makes good cakes, and these may be either leavened, as is the custome in Yorkshire, or unleavened, as in Scotland.” 2 Some nutritional analysis is appropriate in assessing the significance of oatmeal in the earlier Scottish diet. Stephens, a State Registered Dietician, has done some detailed research into the diet of the early nineteenth century farm employee.


Diet of Scots Agricultural Worker (circa 1800) Estimated amounts of basic foods Potatoes Oatmeal Kail Turnips Barley Butter Cheese Milk Ale

… … … … … … … … …

… … … … … … … … …

… … … … … … … … …

20 oz 8 oz 4 oz 2 oz 1 oz 1 oz 1 oz 1 pt 1 pt”47

The caloric intake from oatmeal is almost double that obtained from potatoes and while about two thirds of the available protein (74 grams) is obtained from cereal and vegetables (47 grams) oatmeal would have contributed about half. Relevant to later in the same century there is a comment on the diet in general: “… there was a basic uniformity of diet throughout, and oatmeal was said in 1869 to have formed ‘the leading article of daily subsistence amongst 90 per cent of the labouring classes of Scotland.”48 It may be, however, that there was no particular concern about such a predominance of oatmeal. Sir Henry Thompson, writing in 1891, held that such cereals contain “all the elements necessary to life and being therefore the most largely consumed.”49 The general consumption of oatmeal was surely a matter of a century before the one under discussion: Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language50 gives oatmeal the identification mark of Scottish nationality. The often quoted entry pejoratively suggests that oats was only food for horses: “A grain which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.” Renner, however, talks of the accepted use of oats “for human food without competing with the requirements of animals” as one dimension in the formulation of the “food habit”. The other is climate: “Oats is a cereal which is capable of growing under the most unfavourable conditions of soil and climate, and which is grown furthest north and highest up in the mountains. It therefore became a convenient cereal in Scotland. The fact that its use as a food became such a habit in Scotland is probably due to the fact that grass grows so plentifully there that the competition for oats between beast and man is less keen than in other countries with poorer pastures, where horses require the whole crop of oats.51 Salaman, however, puts it in terms of inevitability, at least in the Highlands: “The excessive rainfall and high winds make cereal growing, other than oats, impossible, while the harvesting of the latter is a prolonged and wearisome gamble”. With such efforts to harvest it oats would perhaps be a rare inclusion in the nose bag. The question of “food habits” being absorbed into everyday living reminds us of Allen’s “oat culture” which “still ordains the Scotsman’s poridge [sic] and his biscuit confectionery …”52 We have seen a little of the girdle confectionery and consideration of porridge would be deemed mandatory in a study of this kind. We need to remember that the methods available for grinding oatmeal in those times differ markedly from those today and the resulting concoction may not have been all that edible. If there is a continuum with porridge in the middle, ‘crowdie’ at one end, then ‘sowens’ is at the other. Renner53 considered some aspects of the dishes he gives Sir Frederick Eden’s method for making Crowdie: “The process is extremely simple: and consists in pouring boiling water over oatmeal, and stirring it a little … there is another sort of Crowdie made by pouring boiling broth on oatmeal …”54 Eden continues with “this dish is very common in Scotland, and is accounted a very great luxury by labourers”. Fenton describes a preparation of sowens as follows: “The meally sid or hull of the ground oat, is steeped in blood-warm water for about two days, when it is run out, and the


liquor put through a search [sieve]; if it too thick, they add a little fresh cold water to it, and then put it on the fire to boil, constantly stirring it, till it thickens, and continuing the boiling till it comes tough like a paste. In the stirring they mix a little salt, and dish it up for the table”.55 Since most people have some idea of the preparation of porridge, we will not give a description here. They know also that the Scot is nationalistic concerning this dish. McNeill56 took offence when Scottish dishes were described under the title of “English Fare”. “Why, even to describe Scottish porridge as English porridge is an injustice to Scotland! Many good things come out of England, but porridge, as it happens, is not one of them”. There is much ground to cover before we see Scotland’s place in Aymard’s “… industrialized Europe, where in the twentieth century country after country changed from a diet dominated by cereals of the wheat family to a diet in which most of the proteins are furnished by products of animal origin”57. The way it has been put implies an immediate change but change has been shown to be gradual so far and will continue to be thus shown in relation to other commodities including protein foods. The debate concerning oatmeal could continue in a similar vein for many pages yet and it is appropriate to move forward to the decline in its use as a staple, and where the emphasis today is more on its role within ‘tartan food’ as previously discussed. “The remarkable thing, all the same, is the length of time the traditional pattern lasted. Although trends are hard to pinpoint, it seems fairly clear that the use of oatmeal began to decline during and after World War I: from that time onwards vans began increasingly to wend their way around the countryside, bringing such items as white breads and buns, sugar and syrup – alluring wares for those accustomed to simple fare. Sadly the story becomes one of progressive deterioration from then on, although many of the old ways persisted in the more remote places until as late as World War II58 A Taste of Scotland is used by caterers (and housewives if they adjust the recipes). The “… frequent and original use of oatmeal has characterised so many traditional dishes. These traditions are the Scottish heritage and as such must form the backbone of any promotion of Scottish fare”.59 They form the backbone of ‘tartan food’ as discussed in this study. The book recognises that “they do not constitute an adequate repertoire” and numerous additional “dishes which have no particular place in the traditions of Scottish fare” are added to make up a varied temporary diet for the visitor. The main point made by Stephens above and elsewhere in her study is that Scots have turned their backs upon the wholesome fare within their heritage but probably most of all on oatmeal.

Kail “… when they had not kail they probably had nothing” (Samuel Johnson) Kail, or kale as it is sometimes spelt, was the most significant of a very limited range of vegetables in times before the advent of the potato, turnips and the later availability of leek, celery etc. It is “cole or cabbage, especially borecole, kind with wrinkled leaves; Scotch -, kind with purple leaves; broth made of this and other vegetables …”60 “Kale is grown mainly for autumn and winter harvest because cold improves its eating quality and its hardiness permits harvest of fresh greens after most fresh vegetables have become unavailable.”61 Comment is passed in Chapter Four on the climate but there need be no dispute here concerning the extent of cold in previous Scottish winters. While modern cookery books contain numerous methods for its preparation we are more interested here in its position with the social situation and this has been hinted by the Oxford Dictionary quotation extending to the synonymity with broth. Warrack62 shows kail as being “colewort; broth made of colewort and other greens; food, dinner.” From this it is easy to see the way in which synonymity extends to eponymity and the word has a much wider connotation beyond a form of cabbage. Within his specialised Scots Dictionary, Warrack63 shows that it is linked to dinner-bell (kail bell) and kail-brose (the scum of ‘kail broth’) mixed with oatmeal. Kail broth is a more conventional soup “boiled with meat” and was obviously the cooking liquor of the boiled joint taken as a first course. Kail-kennin is cabbages and potatoes mashed together (known as ‘bubble and squeak’ south of the border). Moving outwards from the many direct references to food we note that kail has links with the manse: the kail-kirk is “a Glassite64 church where members dined together after the services” and a “kail-pot-whig” is “one who stops at home from church on Sundays.” The


Glassites would not have eaten a kail-supper, surprisingly enough as it is “one who is fond of broth, a name given to Fifeshire people.”65 Wilson66 has shown that while the kail type of vegetables were used in interesting ways in England long after the Middle Ages – “Only in Scotland did kail pottages made in medieval style survive virtually unchanged until late in the eighteenth century.” If we believe Samuel Johnson, kail was only introduced into Scotland in the middle of the second half of the seventeenth century. “Yet what the Romans did to other nations, was in a great degree done by Cromwell to the Scots; he civilized them by conquest and introduced by useful violence the arts of peace. I was told at Aberdeen that the people learned from Cromwell’s soldiers to make shoes and to plant kail. How they lived without kail, it is not easy to guess; they cultivate hardly any other plant for common tables, and when they had not kail they probably had nothing.”67 Salaman68 also asserts that Cromwell took kail with him to Scotland (and if we interpret Johnson correctly we can see it as another phase in what is now accepted within this study as the civilizing process). Boswell was with Johnson, of course, but there is a little confusion as to which vegetable is the topic of discussion for we note that “Johnson laughed to hear that Cromwell’s soldiers taught the Aberdeen people to make shoes and stockings and brought in cabbages.”69 Aberdonians seem to have a good association with kail in verse, too, and McNeill70 provides a useful illustration: There’s cauld kail in Aberdeen And custocks [colewort] in Strathbogie Where ilka lad maun hae his lass, But I maun hae my cogie [bowl] Old Song The kailyard is “a kitchen garden; a small cottage garden”71 but the wider connotation is the “so called Kail Yard School of Fiction.”72 To Cambell73 “the term [kail yard] is associated with the exceeding successful novelists of the late nineteenth century (Crockett, MacLaran and Barrie) who are all lumped together in this frequently derogatory definition.” Perhaps the nostalgic forces behind the ways in which ‘tartan food’ has been exported all over the world through the medium of St. Andrews / Robert Burns dinners, have helped ensure that “Scots overseas preferred to read about a Scotland they remembered.”74

The Turnip “If the man who turnip cries, Cry not when his father dies, ‘Tis a proof that he had rather, Have a turnip than his father.” Johnsonian Miscellanies Such comment indicates the probable dependence upon the turnip but, according to MacKie, they were the result of an accident and even thereafter fed to animals only. “Till a few years before Dr. Johnson’s visit Cattle and sheep had been kept under cover all winter and fed on mashed straw, a treatment which left them so weak that they had to be carried to the pasture in the Spring. Only by an accident was a more rational method discovered. A Perthshire laird had fallen on evil days; he became an innkeeper, and at the beginning of winter turned his sheep adrift. In the Spring he discovered that the animals were in better condition than they ever had been before. Winter fodder in the shape of turnips had been introduced by one or two enterprising lairds, though the innovation, as usual, was regarded as ‘the idle project of a young head, heated with English fancies’.”75 MacKie was not given to revealing his sources but had this contribution been checked ‘to horse’s mouth’ as it were, at least by Johnson’s companion, it would have been shown that turnips were available on the Hebrides. In that event they should have been reasonably well


established on the mainland. On 6 October, 1773 Boswell noted that “we saw a pretty turnip field which the young Coll hoed all with his own hand.” But to return to MacKie’s account, the “few years before” go back as far as: “… not till 1747 did one enthusiast venture to sow them in the open field.”76 MacPhail77 puts the date of their introduction somewhat earlier and, indeed, indicates a wider acceptance: “They had been grown in gardens since the beginning of the century. In 1725 John Cockburn of Ormiston was instructing one of his tenants, Alexander Wight, on their cultivation and the necessity for hoeing.” We should accept that turnips had been established in some areas in Scotland at around this time and Fenton’s contribution is that they “… were also grown by the Earl of Haddington before 1733 … without conspicuous success.” He goes on to relate that the former Marquis of Tweeddale “brought in an English Steward called Wade, about 1740, who raised turnips broad cast on the lands of Yester.” Perhaps the English Steward received instruction from Lord Townsend (1675-1738) and the introduction of the turnip is generally attributed to him.78 Chambers asserts that “it is particularly remembered to the honour of the Earl of Stair, that he was the first to raise turnips in the open fields, and so laid the foundation of the most important branch of store-husbandry of modern times.”79 Ignoring as we must Clark’s comment that “Turnips … were mention in agricultural text books of the ancient world”80 we learn from Marshall that the involvement of the peerage in the Scottish turnip story goes back to 1670 and the Duke of Lauderdale.81 Curtis-Bennet points out that, due to the introduction of the turnip: “It was no longer necessary to kill off all but the best cattle as soon as autumn came round.”82 This points up an important stage in the development of the meat supply which is dealt with later. The same is said by MacPhail who also comments that the introduction of the turnip “was one of the greatest benefits which Scottish farmers owed to England.”83 The turnip, then, is an important element of the transition between a cereal-based to a meat-based diet. The turnip was used for animal food before it was consumed by the Scot and even then it was put to odd use. Henry Grey Graham84 draws upon Humphrey Clinker85 and MacKie86 goes as far as saying that it was Jim Melford in Humphrey Clinker who revealed the use of the turnip as a dessert item. Graham joins Allen in supplementing the information using Letters from Edinburgh87: Turnips “ were often introduced as dessert and eaten like fruit.”88 Haldane89 has also stated that they were “at first used as dessert at gentlemen’s tables” but no one ventures to suggest how they were presented at the table. It is likely that they were eaten hot with sugar which qualifies them more as a pudding. If that idea draws surprise from English eyes it should be stated that the Scottish turnip is otherwise termed swede, even rutabaga, elsewhere. Even so, swede with sugar is sufficiently surprising to modern readers. Marian McNeill includes a reference to suggest that “The Cleikum Club put a little powdered ginger to their mashed turnips, which were studiously chosen of the yellow, sweet, juicy sort, for which Scotland is celebrated…”90 Such detail suggests a cautiously innovative gastronomy in Scotland born of the distance from the general dietary and cultural development in England and elsewhere. It also accords with the assertion that Scotland was often behind other European countries in its ‘civilizing process’. Thus, the turnip took longer to become an established vegetable. “Twenty years ago [1778], there were scarcely ten acres of turnips in the whole county [of Roxburgh]; those raised in some corners of cornfields in different farms, were generally destroyed by the sheep.”91 Elsewhere the same writer informs us that “In the higher parts of the county there are few turnips and peas …” and “oats occupy 9/10 of all arable land”.92 The remainder was shared between barley, turnips and many lesser vegetables.

The Potato “The potato has always arrived in the baggage carts of distress …” It is not the intention to give any detailed history of the potato which can be found in Salaman.93 We are interested, however, in its impact on the Scottish diet and a good idea of the date of its introduction is necessary. Salaman informs us that: “The earliest mention of the potato in Scotland so far recorded, is to be found in James Sutherland’s Catalogue of the Plants in the Physical Gardens of Edinburgh, published in 1683”.94 Henry Grey Graham95 comments that “They are mentioned as vegetables for the garden … by John Reid, 1683” and “had been cultivated in a few private gardens in the beginning of the century, but rarely raised in the fields before 1735, or produced in the kailyards of the people.” That prolific Scots


writer, Chambers was equally emphatic but gives a slightly later date. The potato ”is first heard of in Scotland in 1701, when the Duchesse of Buccleuch’s household-book mentions a peck of the esculent as bought from Edinburgh and costing 2s 6d. We hear of it in 1733, as used occasionally at supper in the home of the Earl of Eglinton, in Ayrshire. About this time it was beginning to be cultivated in gardens … and farm lazy-beds” 96 Fullarton and Baird97 although somewhat earlier in their observation were more distant if we believe Salaman. They state that “Potatoes were introduced into Scotland in 1728 …”98 and “… now consitute nearly four-fifths of the food of the common people.”99 According to MacPhail100 “Thomas Prentice, a day-labourer of Kilsyth” was the first to grow them as a field crop in 1729. Fenton101 cites A. Collier102 whose opinion was that from the 1740s the potato was the basic food and “… provided subsistence for about two thirds of the people by the end of the century.” Haldane103 suggests that the potato was “brought in a small quantity from Ireland in 1740 as garden produce, and gradually introduced as a valuable article of food for the lower ranks and a substitute for bread at the tables of all superior ranks.” Perhaps she had forgotten her earlier advice that it was first grown in “Kirkcudbright in 1725.”104 Douglas105 held that “potatoes found their way into the country some years before turnips; though I cannot learn that they were planted, except with a spade, till the year 1772 or 1773. Although the earliest reported reference given here it should be pointed out that Douglas was referring to Roxburgh and Selkirk. If it was 1773 and further north he may have noted with Boswell and Johnson that spades had been at work in “Anoch’, a village in Glenmorrison” “As we came hither early in the day, we had time sufficient to survey the place. The house was built … near it was a garden of turnips and a field of potatoes.” 106 A more general comment relating to the period comes from T.C. Smout, former Professor of Scottish History [c 1980] at the University of St. Andrews. “It is probably true to say that by 1770 the potato was a common crop on the holdings of the poor throughout most of the Lowlands and fifteen years later universal … in all the parishes of the Highlands.” 107 Another professor of a different age, Adam Smith was pessimistic and the progress of the potato seems to have fared very differently from his forecast in 1775: “It is difficult to preserve potatoes through the year … The fear of not being able to sell them before they rot, discourages their cultivation and is, perhaps, the chief obstacle to their ever becoming in any great country, like bread, the principal vegetable food of all the different ranks of the people”.108 The main carbohydrate before the potato was, of course, oatmeal. There was as much theorizing as suspicion when the potato was still a new food. Thompson109 commented implicitly on the transition from oatmeal to potatoes when “The Highlander, living mainly on oatmeal, requires a very much smaller weight …” but this was in comparison with an “Irishman” [who] requires for his support ten to eleven pounds of potatoes daily …”! It is a wonder that there were any potatoes left in Ireland to put in Scottish gardens. More seriously, though, there has been “Another estimate, for an able bodied labourer … in Urquhart, suggested a … diet of 8 to 10 lbs of potatoes …” a day.110 The position in Scotland was such that the continual use of cereals was possible with the introduction of the potato although it is debateable which predominated. Forster and Rannum111 comment “Historically, potatoes were successful in Europe only as a complement, and not as a substitute for bread …” Aymard, in the same volume, agrees and develops the debate: “Whatever the extent of its popularity, [in the 18th century] the potato was – and continued to be – a secondary, supplementary crop by comparison with the main crops, the major cereals, wheat and rye. Indeed, it was considered a crop for the poor, as can be seen in geography text books on every educational level.”112 Earlier in his discussion Aymard had commented that “The potato had always arrived in the baggage carts of distress” and suggests that “its favourite terrain was in the poor regions


such as the desolate islands of the North Sea or the Hebrides”. It was, however favoured in the less desolate islands as Campbell has pointed out. “The potato first reached the Islands at South Uist in 1743, and though initially planted in Lewis only in 1753, by 1764 the potato had taken the place of bread in the diet there for about six months in the year.113 Once experience had been gained as to the ease of growing and the keeping quantities of the potato, and Adam Smith proved wrong, the potato was to become well established in town and country alike. However, it was in the country that the problems were slower in being solved. Haldane discussed the rural community and its conservation in the eighteenth century: “… and changes had almost to be forced …” In focusing upon the potatoes she remarks: “In the latter part of the eighteenth century this hitherto despised vegetable became an article of common diet in lowland Scotland and ever since it has been a standby.”114 On a more optimistic note, Cheape and Sprott remark that “Potatoes were becoming a common field crop in the late eighteenth century115. As we saw more clearly when discussion moved to the turnip, the development of the human use of some vegetables was very much a function of the use to which it was put in terms of animal feeding. “They were used both for animal feed, often boiled with a little caff or chaff, and around the towns particularly they were used for human consumption.” There is something very Malthusian in Tannahill’s assertion that the potato was to bear much of the responsibility for the population explosion that took place in the Highlands around 1800.116

Fish “Wha’ll buy my caller herrin’? They’re bonnie fish and halesome farin’; Wha’ll buy my caller herrin’, New drawn frae the Forth.” Lady Nairn 1766-1845 The caller (fresh) herring has been the mainstay of the Scottish diet, when meat was unavailable, due to its high nutritional value, but in terms of the amount consumed it falls below the other more important white fish, cod, haddock, and plaice, and even the lesser used lemon sole, turbot, whiting and halibut.117 In the Middle Ages, the availability of the fish mentioned here was such that large quantities were exported to France thereby strengthening the “Auld Alliance” which was being established. Grant notes that in 1484 Scotch Salmon was being exported “to Flanders and other places”118 It is also stated that “In 1420 a burgess of Glasgow was exporting cured and pickled salmon to France.” 119 As was claimed en passant in the discussion on grain, fish was only very rarely consumed prior to about 1750120 but this does not accord with the general view that fish was in plentiful supply until the introduction of the much larger trawlers in the late nineteenth century escalated to the seagoing processing vessels. Trade with Holland during this time was founded upon the supply of fish to Amsterdam which led to the old saying that “Amsterdam was built upon Scottish herring bones.”121 Fish has contributed to the themes of local events and celebrations throughout Scottish history but few are in use today. Significant amongst the few, however, is the Eyemouth Herring Queen Festival which Bruford122 terms a “sole … relic” of Fishermen’s Walks. There is the Lerwick Up-Helly-Aa (devil rousing) and the Burghead Burning of the Clavie. Warrack’s (Chambers) Scots Dictionary gives “a tar barrel, within which is fixed a fir prop, surmounted by the staves of a herring cask, burned at Burghead on New Year’s Eve to secure a good year’s catch”. “Ceremonies were performed at Buckie and Fraserborough in the 1850s to bring better luck to the herring fishing”123 and there survives in a similar format to one at South Queensferry where a fisherman goes through the town during the Ferry Fair in August “covered in flannel on which a thick layer of large spiky burrs is stuck … to represent fish caught in the net.” This event was carried out in earlier times and the fisherman was literally ‘tarred and burred’. Salmon features from time to time in Scottish history as a food which ordinary people were sick of due to its abundance. Zealand124 comments that this fish “was really plentiful and was caught, boiled and salted in Montrose” in the later eighteenth century. Cheape and


Sprott125 noted the extraordinary abundance of salmon and trout not only afforded good sport but a cheap food for the people. “In some parts … the farm hands struck if they were fed upon it every day”. “Scots farm servants had refused to eat it more than twice a week in any form so common it was.”126 Trevelyan127 gives similar detail. Elsewhere the view was that “Every Spring we look forward with a new-found impatience to the first Scotch salmon of the season, and every summer we are surprised anew to find how soon our palates grow indifferent, if not hostile to it.”128 The undisputed reputation of Scotch salmon outside Scotland, however, was built up at the early stages of the introduction of factory methods and improved transport. Stemming from the tradition of the ice house as part of the richer homes and the introduction of railways, “The fish were packed into long boxes with pounded ice and dispatched to the London Market.”129 … as early as 1820.130

Pork Scots folk and the pig said ‘no’ to pork. The Scottish aversion to pork, has a very long history. Tannahill discussed “… the late neolithic peoples who began to arrive in Scotland some time before 2,000 BC.” After congratulating their “food technology that had been developing for 6000 years” she points out: “In the pig they were not interested. Not being a ruminant, it competed directly for human food. It could not be milked, and milk was by far the most important food product of the domesticated animal. And it had little stamina, a unsociable disposition, and a constitutional objection to being driven. To people on the move – to neolithic immigrants as, long centuries later, to Highland caterans and Border reivers – half a dozen pigs were more trouble than half a hundred cattle. Even today, the Scots remain markedly apathetic about the pig and most of its products.”131 MacKenzie devotes considerable space to the issue and remarks that “The taboo must have been established before the introduction of Christianity, and unless it had been connected with a body of pagan religious beliefs, it would not have survived, as it did, the influence exercised by intruding pork-eating peoples and especially the Christian clergy.”132 But Allen seemed sure about religious influences: “Even today almost all pig products here sell poorly. The only explanation … is sheer conservation rooted in a one-time religious aversion”.133 He later went as far as putting it down to “a fundamentalist over-literal reading of the scriptures” although he attenuated this by saying that this interpretation “receives no support from authorities of Scottish History.”134 MacKenzie would give no support at all as, “If we are to assume that Scottish prejudice was of biblical origin, we have … to explain … why it did not obtain among the early Christans of England, Wales or Ireland”. Moving on to look at other issues, aspersions were sometimes cast upon the lower orders of society: “Pork is the habitual food of poor people, those who are really poor.”135 In a mid-thirteenth century poem of anonymous origin “From Colkelbie Sow”136 a vagrant finds some money, buys a pig, but a harlot steals it to provide a feast for numerous friends: “The penny lost in the lak A penny lost in the lake Wes fundin and uptak, Was found and taken up And he that fand it did by And he that found it bought With the Samyn penny With the same penny A littil pig for his prow [profit] Off Kolkelbeis sow. A harlot synnit [lives] neir by And sho wald mak a mangery [feast] And had no substance at all Bot this pur pig stall [stole] To furnis a gret feist Withouttin stufe, bot this beist …” Some fifty friends (including a hangman, “a lunatik” and a “double toungit counsaloar”) helped consume that “littil pig”.


But the poor, at times, were unable to afford to keep pigs. Millers, having spare husks and bruised corn to feed to animals, apparently have to be thanked for saving the pig from extinction in Scotland. John Graham Dalyell, Scottish advocate and folklorist held the view that “Early in the seventeenth century the aversion to them by the lower ranks, especially in the north, was so great, and elsewhere, and the flesh was so much undervalued, that, except for those reared at mills, the breed would have been extirpated.”137 But it was not only the lower ranks which had abhorence to swine flesh. MacKenzie138 relates that it was shared by “The King’s most sacred Majesty”139 while Burt140 suggests social imitation at work when he says that in Scotland “it is here a general notion that where the chief declares against pork, his followers affect to show the same dislike.” Zealand in her capacity as museum curator141 reviewed records relating to Montrose 1707-1820, and observes that: “Pigs, pork and ham etc., are notable by their total absence as a commodity.” But not all opinion supports the idea that the prejudice against pork was total. Gauldie142 mentions that farm cottages were provided with a “bottom of the garden pig sty which later bacame so common” in the early nineteenth century. In “Annals of the Parish” the inhabitants of the sty are affectionately known as “grumphies”. Writing about the 1830s Sievwright goes into some detail: “The great proportion of the working classes in Brechin had a bit of garden ground which yielded considerable produce, and many also kept and fed a pig until of considerable size; and when ready for slaughtering a considerable proportion was often sold to assist in paying the half-yearly rent; numbers, however, were able to cure and hang up one or two good pork hams, which were a great service to assist a dinner now and again, or for an occasional “tastie bitie” on Sunday morning or afternoon, or on any other extra occasion.”143 In their work relating to 1843, Levitt and Smout analysed parish records where “Those reporting pigmeat (generally as pork, sometimes as bacon or ham) outnumbered those reporting beef and those reporting mutton by nine to one.”144 There are mysterious elements to the history of pork aversion in Scotland and it is mystery which extends to comments passed by other writers. Salaman, and Hughes are not sure of very much in what they have written. Salaman145 discusses the “final disappearance of the Highland prejudice against pig-rearing” in the eighteenth century but seem to be confused with the Scottish prejudice against the potato146 although on the last mentioned page he states that “Pigs were not kept by the Highlanders, who at this time [1773] seem to have entertained an age-old prejudice against swine-flesh”147. Hughes148 is even more mysterious as she refers to a “most definite and irrefutable aversion to pigmeat in any form”149 and “the great aversion to pork”150, but on page 122 states that “[pork] chops are preferred in Scotland.” Established writers have elaborated upon the superstitions relating to the pig. Dean Ramsay151 discussed Fifers’ “… old aversion to the ‘unclean animal’. “If that animal crossed their path when about to set out on a sea voyage, they considered it so unlucky an omen that they would not venture off”. Haldane152 also refers to “John Jack, writing in 1844 … tells of … pigs being held in antipathy as boding ill.” But for all the superstition in that county it is interesting to note that Janie Ellice who “was the second daughter of Scottish landowners in Fife”, included in her household book, two recipies for pork dishes. Wentworth153 edited “Janie Ellice’s Recipes 1846-1859” and “Leg of Pork à la Lady Elizabeth Villiers” and “à la Barrington” are given. One method of assessing the situation is to look at the home production of pork. In 1917 in the whole of Scotland there were: …. Sheep Cattle Pigs

6,873,234 1,209,859 132,945 8,216,038

…. the pigs were 1.6% of the total animal population given. MacKinnon154 also shows a decline in the number of pigs (188,307 in 1867 and 153,237 in 1877). The figure above shows a decline in 1917 of 29%. With regards to the assertion that the aversion to pork is more prevalent in the Highlands and to give a more up-to-date source, Martech1 produces data for 1963:


Sheep Cattle Pigs

1,951,000 2,157,800 18,800 4,127,600

where pigs were less than half of 1% of the total. Recognising that counting methods would differ through time (note the precision in the earlier information) consider that the proportion for the Highlands is much less than for the whole of Scotland, even though the times have changed. Any investigation will find numerous references to pork dishes in modern cookery books and food consumption data does not distinguish between pork and pork products eaten by Scots, residents from elsewhere and substantial numbers of tourists. The present work can do more than point out the topic as a research activity. Perhaps it will settle the issue of whether the Scots like pork now.

The Haggis “… the word, like the dish, is definitely English.” While a prime dimension of ‘tartan food’ and taken to be a distinctively Scottish dish since the 1750s it was extolled by Gervaise Markham in The English Housewife written in 1615. Edwards quotes an unidentified English writer who in 1615155 detailed both content and name: “’Small oatmeal’ he says ‘mixed with Blood and the Liver of either Sheep, Calfe or Swine, maketh that pudding which is called the Haggas or Haggus, of whose goodness it is vain to boast …’”156 She goes on to remark that “Haggises nowadays have all emigrated to Scotland; at one time however ‘hagas’ or habbys’ was equally common in the ‘south’ and as ‘hash pudding’ was well known in Cumberland.” Whatever its origin and distressing though it may be to patriotic Scots, the word, like the dish, is definitely English”. It was stated earlier that the word tartan is of French origin probably to extensive Scottish chagrin which may want to cover any French connection with its own haggis. Far better to ascribe it to the ancient Greeks. According to Allen, however, the haggis may have its derivation in France. “… the haggis is of French inspiration, derived from hachis meaning minced meat”157. Referring to the lists of French words which have contributed to the gastronomic language of Scotland it will be seen later that Ramsay in 1880 had similar thoughts. McNeil158 passes several interesting comments and Allen would have been well suited to refer to them. According to McNeill, “The theory that the haggis is one of the nobler legacies of France may in any case be dismissed” and she points out that the “ancient Greeks had a haggis of their own”, and the ancient Romans even left us a recipe for theirs “… The manner of stuffing, cooking and pickling is identical with our own.” Tannahill provides an earlier history still and asserts that “Paleolithic hunters are believed to have cooked the more perishable parts of their kill … in the animal’s own paunch, hanging it in front of the campfire … it would be a natural development, when crop-farming began, to spin the meat out with meal …”159 Although the haggis is an important part of Scotland’s international identity and an almost major national institution, it can stand as a pejorative symbol within the country. Warrack160 indicates that the term a ‘haggis-bag’ means “a wind bag”; a contemptuous term for anything … a lumpish, soft headed person: a ‘pudding head.’” If one is called ‘haggis-headed’ one is soft-headed, stupid and if called a “haggis-heart” one has “a soft cowardly heart.” This, then is at one extreme and at the other rests its “sonsie face” of Burns description. It would be tempting to garnish this study with a whole range of ancient poems and quotations on the haggis but space does not permit it. Let us conclude this discussion with a much more recent viewpoint. Driver’s statement regarding the indigenous view of offal is that “The Scots … will have little to do with offal, unless it is safely enclosed in a haggis and offset by earnest jocularity”.161 This being so, haggis is featured not only on high street restaurant menus but also in those available in schools, hospitals and other institutions and remains an everyday dish in Scotland. At times, of course, although not in the form of an everyday dish, the haggis has a carbon footprint the size equivalent to the dinosaur. At New Year, St Andrew’s Day [30 November]


and 25 January [plus or minus a week or two] finds itself all over the world. The haggis does not need to clock up air miles. In addition to the events mentioned. It may be served at ceilidhs and other Scottish events. The Robert Burns Dinner or Supper is top of the league table in relation to when haggis is served. Please let me know of any other culture in which a national gastronomical "beastie" is brought into the room to the wail of loud, strange music and slit open with a small knife carried in someone's sock. Before its demise, it is shouted at in language hardly anyone present understands. That over, it is returned to the kitchen to be dismembered for all to enjoy in the dining hall.

Origins of the Burns event Each 25th of January, Scots around the World, celebrate the immortal memory of the birth of famous Scottish poet Robert Burns. This Burns Night Supper article [from the “About Aberdeen website] looks at the origins of the celebrations and the format of a typical Burns Night. In 1796 on the 21st July the Scottish bard, Robert Burns, died and his friends organised a supper in 1802 so that they could gather, read out his poems, sing his songs, have a meal of haggis and drink to his memory. This was the first Burns Night though the origins of celebrating Burns Night started a year before: In 1801 on the anniversary of Robert Burns birthday on the 25th January a number of non commissioned officers and privates of the Argyll Militia who were at Ayr went to the Cottage at Alloway where Robert Burns was born. The band of the regiment went with the men and played several airs of Burns. The Cottage was then being used as an Inn (The King's Arms) so a bit of drinking took place. Other sources state that this was a party of nine men who met at the invitation of the Reverend Hamilton Paul. He organised the meeting on behalf of the Provost of Ayr, John Ballantyne, and the lawyer, Robert Aiken, who were friends of Burns. Also in 1801 the first Burns Club was set up in Greenock and they set up the first Burns supper with friends of Burns in Ayr. They met in Alloway in 1802 to have a supper of sheep's head and haggis and to fondly remember their friends by reading his poetry and singing his songs. This first Burns Club is known as The Mother Club. The second Burns Club was formed in Paisley in 1805. The secretary was Robert Tannahill the town's weaver poet. It is known as the Daughter Club. Since then it has been the tradition to celebrate Burns night with a ceremony meal of haggis, neeps and tatties, to read the poems of Robert Burns and to sing his songs and to drink a toast of whisky to the memory of Robert Burns on his birthday, the 25 January. For the first ten years of Burns Night suppers the event was held on the 29 January because it was thought that this was the birthday of Robert Burns. This was due to an error by his first biographer, James Currie, who incorrectly wrote his birth date as the 29th. During this decade there was also Burns Nights held in the summer months but these were short lived because farmers were too busy in the summer months and eventually the true birth date of the 25th was marked as the right date to celebrate Burns Night. The two postcards which follow are from P J Westwood’s The Deltiology of Robert Burns. You then see Burns extracted from a painting by Alexander Nasmyth.




The modern-day Burns event The piper plays as guests arrive. Less often these days, the piper pipes the VIPs to the top table. (Very Important People) The Master of Ceremonies or President welcomes everyone. First course – perhaps Cockie-leekie The Main Course The haggis is piped in carried by the chef. The Address to the Haggis. (see later) Haggis, champit tatties and bashed neeps (with mashed potato and swede) Toast to the haggis – always with whisky Another ‘pudden’ (see later) Perhaps Heather flan – blaeberries in it. Coffee and speeches The Loyal toast Toast to the Lassies Reply from the Lassies The Immortal Memory The last speech covers the life and works of the poet. The piper pipes a Retreat which is a tune used at dinners. Sometimes, Scottish Country Dancing follows. The grander occasions may include the main course after the haggis. If it’s beef it must be from Aberdeen. The piper pipes as the guests leave. A special menu card is printed. The room is decorated with tartan, thistles, the Saltyre (National flag) etc. The Supper is more informal than the Dinner. Sometimes the event is called a "Burns Nicht". ------------------"Address to a Haggis" by Robert Burns Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o the pudden'-race! Aboon them a' ye tak your place, Painch, tripe, or thairm: Weel are ye worthy o' a grace As lang's my arm. The groaning trencher there ye fill, Your hurdies like a distant hill, Your pin wad help to mend a mill In time o’ need, While thro’ your pores the dews distil Like amber bead. His knife see rustic labour dight, An' cut you up wi’ ready slight, Trenching your gushing entrails bright, Like onie ditch; And then, Oh, what a glorious sight,


Warm-reekin, rich! Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care, And dish them out their bill o, fare, Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware That jaups in luggies: But, if ye wish her gratefu', prayer, Gie her a Haggis --------------------------------------------

There are more verses but that's enough if this is your first contact with Rabbie. It is important to hear or read the Address without explanation at first. You can appreciate its beauty more. Go to - Haggis - Haggis video. Those words with 'ight' in them (third verse) almost rhyme with 'ditch' and 'rich'. The 'ight' should sound like 'ikt' but where the 'k' is "almost drowned in whisky". That's possibly Scots English for the rather guttural sound of "cht" in Germans words like "nacht". By the way, Scots folk don't run around all day saying "Och aye the noo". It is vital that the Address is given with enthusiam and spirit (the whisky comes when the toast is given). Always ask for your money back if the Address isn't given with a lot of gestures and noise! If there's no frightful 'stabbing' then walk out! Address to a Haggis - translated Fair fa' your honest, sonsie (lovely)face, Great chieftain o the pudden'-race! Aboon (above) them a' ye tak your place, Painch, tripe, or thairm: (stomach words) Weel are ye worthy o' a grace As lang's my arm. The groaning trencher (old-style plate) there ye fill, Your hurdies (hips) like a distant hill, Your pin (long leg-bone) wad help to mend a mill In time o’ need, While thro’ your pores the dews distil Like amber bead.

His knife sees rustic Labour dight, (it is used properly) An' cut you up wi’ ready slight, Trenching your gushing entrails bright, Like onie (any) ditch; And then, Oh, what a glorious sight, Warm-reekin, rich! (reekin - smells nice)


Ye Pow'rs, wha (who) mak mankind your care, And dish them out their bill o, fare, Auld Scotland wants nae skinking (watery) ware That jaups (spills) in luggies (wooden bowls with 'ears' or handles): But, if ye wish her gratefu', prayer, Gie her a Haggis - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --

That ends the description of typical events. According to the occasion, variations can be made. At many Burns Dinners or Suppers, I (Alan Harrison) follow the "Address" with this:

The Philosophical Reply from the Haggis (Or - Harrison’s Rant) sonsie - comely/cheerful etc slangiva - cheers richts - rights a’ – all thocht - thought -----------Rabbie said I’ve a sonsie face (Better than some in the human race) Look aroon’ ye (!) an’ jist you see There’s nain sai sonsie as little me Perhaps no’ so wee , as there I sit Waitin’ for that dreadful slit The look in Alan’s e’e shows his intention My richts richts oot .. a la EU Convention But haggises are made oota pretty strong stuff Stiff upper-lip when the goin’ gets rough One last thocht, to mak’ it even It’ll no’ matter when I’m in heeven Ne’r mind Auld Scotland’s prayer Wa’ aboot me, my life laid bare Bu’ I can tak it, as ye’ve tak-en me Enjoy your meal .. indigestion free An’ to a’ Scots here an’ ither kin Toast me wi’ whisky and no’ wi’ gin


I gi’e a toast to a’ both near an’ far It’s goodbye from me .. an’ slangiva © Alan F Harrison 1994 Given at various Burns events in and since 1994. Much more information is to be found via “Haggis” page. Prime in the side panel is “7 Feb 2010”.

Select the

Mutton ‘Bless the sheep for David’s sake, he herdit sheep himsel’ (Old Galloway Grace) The story of sheep in the course of Scottish history is a significant one. We have already seen in Chapter Four that the Highland Clearances caused a great social and demographic upheaval and it is somewhat surprising that any Scottish prejudice directed towards a specific animal omitted the sheep. To omit it from our social history would be to ignore the contribution that mutton had made to the protein intake, not to mention clothing, over many centuries. It is an easily controlled beast once fences have been put up and capable of winter storage being smaller than the cow and pig. It was a long time before the potential of the 162 sheep was realised and Haldane has pointed out that “Sheep were originally supposed to be so delicate that they could not face the Scottish blasts and they were therefore cooped up in winter and only released in spring. It was by accident that the discovery was made that sheep are hardy animals …”. The majority of larger animals were slaughtered at the onset of winter and what could not be preserved by smoking, drying, curing, salting etc., was consumed in the Martinmass feasts. Before it was discovered that they were hardy, sheep often died even in the coup. Rather than place the bodies in the pit, mutton hams were made and such fare was known as braxy mutton. Warrack163 gives braxy as meaning “an internal inflammation in sheep; … the flesh of such sheep …” Even Boswell and Johnson may have eaten braxy mutton. At one stage on the Isle of Coll they are entertained by a family which spends some time discussing whether to have tea or dinner on their arrival. Tea won. Boswell records: “He said to me afterwards, ‘you must consider, sir, a dinner here is a matter of great consequence. It is a thing to be first planned and then executed. I suppose the mutton was brought some miles off, from some place they knew there was a sheep killed.’ His minute observation strikes me with wonder.”164 The main ingestion of braxy mutton occurred in spring and summer: “In Scotland there is a disease called braxy, which attacks the sheep and lambs in spring and early summer … the disease kills the animals very quickly, by causing stagnation of blood in the most important vital organs; and as the carcass is the perquisite of the herdsman, he almost invarable eats it – taking the precaution to remove the offal, and cut away the darker portions of the flesh where the blood has stagnated. He also salts it before using it; and if questioned on the subject he will tell ye that the meat is not unwholesome.”165 Whether the herdsman sees the meat as rotten when cooking or eating it, may be debatable but he is bound to accept it as such even if, due to improper processing in the raw or cooked state, “the most serious consequencies result from it …” But this practice was described by “many medical practitioners who are acquainted with the habits of the Scotch shepherds … declare that braxy mutton is a highly dangerous meat for man.”166 Tannahill167 sees it as “a bacteriological infection to which beasts that gorge themselves when newly weaned or when given sudden access to rich pasture were particularly susceptible.” But the scientific considerations require to be left out of such a study as this with its focus upon early Scottish gastronomy. In the smaller towns, for example, we learn from Guthrie that the “Burgh of Lanark was in former days so poor, that the single flesher, of the town, who also exercised the calling of a weaver, in order to employ his spare time, would never dream of killing a sheep until he had orders for the entire animal beforehand. Ere commencing the work of slaughter he would call on the minister, the Provost, and the town council, and prevail


upon them to take shares. But if no purchaser occurred for the fourth quarter, the sheep received a respite until such could be found. The bellman, or shallyman, as he is called there, used to parade the streets of Lanark shouting aloud the following advertisement: Bell – ell – ell There’s a fat sheep to kill! A leg for the Provost And one for the priest. The Baillies and Deacons They’ll take the neist; And if the fourth leg we cannot sell The sheep it maun leeve and gae back Tae the hill.”168 No one was contracted to take the head but we can presume that if not sold it was fully utilised in the shallyman’s household. In later years when the availability of meat had improved slightly, “One of the laddies was sent to the butcher with threepence for a sheep’s heid and a penny to the blacksmith to singe the head at the forge.” The item would have been brought back to a prepared pot with due ceremony which might have inspired ‘Lord of the Flies’. “When the bairns gathered round the cooking pot, grannie might sing: Dance, dance Davie lad, An whustle Willie Young, There’s sheep’s heid in oor pot An ye’ll get the tongue.”169 And when the good family had the dish before them “grannie” may have said the appropriate words, “O Lord, when hunger pinches sore Do Thou stand us in stead And send us, from they bounteous store A tup or wither head”170 McNeill171 includes material on the extent of “Tup’s Head Dinners” held around Michaelmas Day up to the end of the nineteenth century while Glasgow, as late as the 1930s went “through the curious rite of eating mutton – heads and trotters” every Wednesday in much the same way as a Friday was a fish day in many parts of the British Isles until the 1950s.

Some Aspects of Influences and Usage This part of the discussion of ‘food on the table’ looks at a representative sample of feasts and festivals and then French influences in more detail. Shrove Tuesday, or Faster’s Ee’n comes first, followed by May Day or Beltane. Hallowee’n is not discussed but there are overlaps in Hogmanay’s guisers and the foods dispersed. Burns’ Nights and St. Andrew’s Suppers are not discussed as a separate topic. Sufficient attention has been paid to aspects of tartan food as an ongoing appraisal and ‘haggis and bashed neeps’ have been separately discussed. The general practical use of this type of food is quite evident in looking at Hogmanay and more attention can be paid to the less well-known ‘events’ and detail surrounding Hogmanay as a well known calendar item. The three chosen reflect many of the characteristics of a long list of calendar items and all of them could not possibly receive attention. The everyday influences of the Auld Alliance, however, are deserving of a full identification.


A Selection of Feasts and Festivals Shrove Tuesday The using of certain foodstuffs before the onset of Lent was a widely practised religious requirement and is now little more than an excuse to prepare pancakes. In former times it was taken very seriously and Edwards172 claims that “It is a good Scots tradition that the man who obtained [for them] from the Pope the knowledge that Shrove Tuesday was the first Tuesday of the first moon of Spring was the thirteenth century scholar and wizard, Michael Scott.” He rode to Rome on the back of a devil and through illicit relationships with the Pope’s daughter found the secret formula for calculating the right date. This was the way in which “the independent Scots often kept a Shrove Tuesday of their own.” It was commonly known in former times in Scotland as Fasterns E’en or Fester E’en. A later word Shreftis preceeds Shrove to be tagged with Tuesday. The day before was called Collop Monday due to the practice of forming the main meal of collops or slices of meat which had to be used. The more well known practice of using other culinary odds and ends to make pancakes (‘sauty bannocks’ in Orkney and indicative of their salty taste} extended to the preparation of bannocks for Bannock Night and various broths for Brose Day in different parts 173 Cock fighting was one of the pastimes and the Fastyn, of the North-East of Scotland. Feasty or Fitless Cock started as an unleavened bread put into the cooling kiln, became an oatmeal dumpling shaped as a fowl and boiled in a cloth. Cockerels were also put into nettle broth in the Hebrides and elsewhere, if they were unavailable, leeks were substituted to give cock-a-leekie174. Up to about 1600 there was in parts of Scotland a Shrovetide custom which existed “in connection with seminaries of education … in accordance with the ancient custom … by cockfighting in schools, and in the streets … tilting at cocks with fagot-sticks. In the evening, the learned Virtuosi of the Pallat recreate themselves with lusty caudles [batters] powerful cock-broth and natural crammed pullets …” That England was contemporaneously occupied then in the less violent pursuits and more starchy edibles is illustrated as the quotation continues: “… divertissement not much inferior to our neighbour nation’s fritters and pancakes.”175 Beltane In the Highlands in 1772, the herdsmen held their Bel-tein (May Day) and made a fire in a square trench on which were cooked a mixture of eggs, butter, oatmeal and milk. When cooked it was spilled on the ground and people took a piece each to dedicate to the future health of their flock, herd or whatever by throwing it over a shoulder with appropriate incantations. “Crops and cattle were defended by a variety and number of formulas of propitiation …”176 Whisky was used along with cooked beef as part of the sustenance allowed to those who participated. Variations prevailed and in Calendar, custard and a cake of oatmeal was used in bits allocated by blindfold. He who got the only blackened piece in very early times was actually sacrificed, but in the sixteenth century was permitted to end the ceremony by leaping through the flames three times. In Perthshire in 1885 the village cowherd collected eggs and meal for similar ceremonies with a seven times through the fire conclusion. In Aberdeenshire they acted as hares to steal the milk from cows while the subsequent cake was rolled through the ashes. On Mull, the cake was made with a hole in it through which the cows were milked. A special sheep’s milk cheese was often prepared for Beltane and was eaten with the oatmeal bannock. Such nutritious fare was nonetheless needed for the flittings to the sheiling 177 or mountain pasture. Two pages are given by MacNeill to the special hymns used in the animal and human procession. May Day ceremony also required special dances by Morris dancers. Robin Hood games began also at this time of year in the sixteenth century at the end of which the Greenwood fare of deer and meal was consumed.

Hogmanay It would be considered necessary in a gastronomic history of this type to look at Hogmanay and some of the associations connected with it. Accepting that until recent times, Christmas was not celebrated to the extent it is in England (elderly people can remember


working on December 25 at the time of writing this book – 2009) the giving of gifts to friends and relatives, and sustenance to ad hoc visitors and guisers was more associated with the New Year. (Dates, though, have varied – the early Celts in Scotland celebrated the New Year on November 1 and Christmas up to 1600 on March 25. Having been brought into the Twelve Days of Yule, Twelfth Night celebrations were transferred to New Year’s Eve). According to McNeill,178 “Hogmanay originally meant the gift received on New Year’s Eve”179 – it was asked for, although she gives a brief etymology relating to the French au gui mener – to lead to the mistletoe180. Harrowven, however, gives a version of the origins of Hogmanay involving Druids picking mistletoe and beggars interrupting their services. “The phrase ‘Au gui meners’ – ‘to the mistletoe go’, was chanted by French beggars in Scotland in the sixteenth century as they burst in on church services on the last day of the year … their cry was as follows, ‘Au gui meners, Rollet, Follet, tin, lin, mainte du blanc et point du bis’. The Scots translated it as follows – Hogmanay, Trololay, Give us your white bread and none of your grey.’ ”181 The main reason given for Hogmanay and Trololay stems from the French ‘Homme est ne – Trois Rois la’ – A Man is born – Three Kings are here. This was a popular start to the guisers’ song as we will see later. Edwards in her “Hogmanay and Tiffanay”182gives even more detail of the origins of Hogmanay and the following summarises the most interesting possibilities. “… its source is very ancient, Celtic or perhaps Scandinavian …” Saxon halig-monath – Holy month Scandinavian – hoegtid “a term applied to Christmas and various other festivals of the Church Anglo-Saxon – “hogen-byre, one’s own domestic servant” (unlikely) Teutonic – ‘met heughe ende meugh eten’ to eat with pleasure and appetite …? Pretty remote …? Gothic – hogg minne! Irish – Ogmos or Ogma inventor of secret alphabet Gaelic – “… Og, young, maighdean, a maid or virgin; mnai, women: whence ogmnai (ogmenai), the festival of young women … highly irrelevant (!)

Hebrew “… the Devil be in the house!” (hagmene) (the interpretation of a Scottish preacher) French – concerning “the time when our Saviour was born” re “Hogmanay Trololay” Homme est ne Trois rois allois “No modern etymologist has any support for this theory.” Anglo Saxon – “Hogmen aye Trolle on lay” (refers to pig keepers wandering (trolle) on fields (lea or lay) and a certain “magic moment” on New Year’s Eve) French – “Au gui meneg, Rollet Follet Ay gui meneg, tiri liri” Druids – as for the last French example with various suggestions as to origin.


Auld Alliance – “it must be hurtful to Scottish pride to discover that haggis is English and Hogmanay French, most probably borrowed round about 1560 and owing its introduction to the Auld Alliance.” (And even more hurtful if the Anglo-Saxon origin of Hogmanay was found to be valid – she does not pursue that item.) Conclusion “In all this there is little to support the average Englishman’s idea of Hogmanay – kilted Scotsmen dancing and drinking and singing Auld Lang Syne. But we are dealing with centuries; this now indispensable song did not become so till about 1800.” The lengthy discussion given by Edwards ranges over numerous other possibilities as to the origins of Hogmanay and it is fair to end this analysis of her thorough investigation with the conclusion that French influences have been by far the greatest despite her comment about modern etymologists. Bruford183, after a short deliberation comes to the same conclusion. No one, however, has made the point that reveillon, the French New Year celebration which is far more important to them than Christmas is a further possibility and may be another relic of the Auld Alliance. As with Halloween, guisers go round the community dressed in a variety of costumes singing and dancing to a variety of tunes and songs. The most common of these seems to have been: “Rise up, guidwife, and shak yir feathers: Dinna think that we are beggars: We’re only bairnies come to play: Rise up and gie’s oor Hogmanay.” McNeill184 Bruford185 McNeill also gives another chant beginning with “Hogmanay, Trollolay”. The fare dispensed by the kindly housewife centres upon bannocks, shortbread, buns, biscuits, fruit and plum cake. Black Bun, a species of apparently compressed and greatly spiced Christmas cake cooked in a pastry wrapping, was originally saved until the Twelfth Day of Christmas, but later was eaten on varying dates in different parts of Scotland and is a popular addition to the plate offered to guisers. The cold nights would have been well warmed with hot drinks. Bruford gives further historical detail: “In face a guiser is someone in disguise and the original adult guisers (mostly young men) covered their faces, wore strange and sometimes transvestite clothes and disguised their voices usually with a Punch-like squeak, to ensure complete anonymity, almost certainly because in some sense the guises actually represented 186 the spirits of the community’s dead who were about at Halloween” . The children who are their successors in this activity entertain and receive sweets, apples and nuts etc., rather than money and householders deemed it a point of honour not to see through the disguise of the little boys next door. The Scottish equivalent of mulled wine was “Het Pint” in the eighteenth century which was “a sort of wassail bowl composed of hot mild ale spiced with nutmeg and laced with whisky”187. It had a predecessor using wine in the days of the Scottish court. In the Highlands the popular beverage is Athole Brose (honey, whisky, water and sometimes cream). At Hogmanay in the Highlands the toast is sometimes sung: “Here’s a health to them that’s away Here’s a health to them that’s away Here’s a health to them that were here shortsyne An’ canna be here the day”188

The Auld Alliance It has already been suggested in Chapter One that the benefits accruing to Scotland from a long association with France have not benefited the Scottish diet. We will discuss here some aspects of the links between France and Scotland and the ways in which the French have left their influence upon the food culture of the Scots. This is shown to be more


linguistically determined than gastronomic. We will trace back to the links established in the twelfth century and see that these influences have enriched that culture. However, there is little to suggest that they were at haute-cuisine level, which is perhaps surprising. While Scottish gastronomy has been influenced in part, we can briefly state that the overall effect has not been enriched in terms of economic benefit and disparagingly so. “In trade, as well as in other ways, Scotland had to pay heavily for her rather one-sided friendship with France. A Scots document of 1524 … gives a contemporary account of what Scots merchants had to suffer … ’Since war with the English began, our merchants are debarred from trade communication with England, Flanders, Spain and other realms … owing to our friendship, alliance and punctilious good faith with the French, we are suffering heavily’ ” 189. Those deciding questions of economic principle during the lulls in the wars began to change in origin: “Under the rule of Mary of Guise, Frenchmen immediately began to assume high office in the Scottish government, much to the displeasure of native Scots. It soon became evident that Scotland had traded a potential dependence upon England for an actual dependence upon France.”190 The French influence upon Scottish gastronomy as a claim is something that is not entirely evident from the subsequent statements. “Foreign influence has played a large and beneficial part in the development of the Scottish Culinary repertoire, but it has never been able to destroy its essential nature.”191 Allen192 comments: “Cooking in general was much influenced by the French … and one relic of this today … is the relatively large number of Scots wives who insist on using butter for cooking …” As Dichter points out, “Most good cooks know that the real quality of French cooking is plentiful use of butter.”193 The “essential nature” of the Scottish diet has been shown historically to centre upon ‘tartan food’ within a poverty diet and it is unwise to assume that a beneficial French influence is ‘proved’ by the use of butter. That was probable anyway, within an ‘agri-culture’ as portrayed in Chapter Four. Warren’s assertion seems to hold good when looking at a list of some 400 Scottish Regional Recipes194. Although proceeding from Aberdeen Angus Beef and Ale Crowdie, through Klossed Heads (small fish in cloths) and Rumbledethumps (a cheese ‘bubble and squeak’) to Yetholm Bannock (a rich festive shortbread) there is not even a hint of pate maison. This would have come over the Border as a result of the impact which haute cuisine had upon English culture. Ashets of cold meat may have arrived by the same route from the pejorative assiette anglaise. The fact that there is no oeuf ecossais need not detract from the idea that it is a simple dish but might lend support to the notion that the French could have left many more interesting dishes as a result of the Auld Alliance. The present writer is by no means the first to research the historical aspects of Scottish food, and while Hughes’ work covered the whole of the British Isles and is not expected to be too precise, she was wide of the mark in considering the ‘Auld Alliance’. “Scottish ties with France began in the nineteenth century and a succession of French royalty has left its mark 195 We will need to bring this date on both the content and terminology of Scottish cuisine.” forward by at least three hundred years and we can look at what has been said by Warren. “James V of Scotland married a French noblewoman, Mary of Guise-Lorraine, and she brought with her to the court at Holyrood in Edinburgh a large retinue of her own servants and courtiers. Entertaining in the French manner became all the rage, and fashionable people vied with one another to follow her lead and set the most lavish table. The fashions set by Mary of Guise-Lorraine were strengthened by her daughter Mary, the beloved Queen of the Scots, who had been brought up at the French court. Everybody connected with court circles now wanted French chefs, and their tables overflowed with a wasteful abundance of rich food.”196 The marriage took place in 1538 but we can sense from Daiches197, “the Franco-Scottish culture atmosphere that first flourished when James V brought home his French wife Princess Madeline …” when he discussed the poetry, music and dance of the time. She, of course, had little effect on Scottish culture compared to his second wife, Mary. “The Auld Alliance with France, whether dating from 1295 or the twelfth century was most effective between 1415 and the 1480s when numbers of Scots nobles … won lands and titles in France.”198 MacKenzie, however, under the margin heading 1165 discusses William the Lyon:


“He was the first Scottish King who entered into an alliance with France against England. This was the beginning of a connection with France which was more or less constantly maintained for many centuries. The honour which it brought us is questionable, the evil which came by it is undoubted.”199 While Hughes was wrong in her statement concerning the origin of Scottish ties with France she is right in purporting that it has “left its mark” at the Scottish table200. The example is dessert but this was not unique to Scotland. Murison identified marks of wider effect and three stages of French influence on the Scottish language: “Norman French till about 1200; and Central and Parisian French thereafter, both of which came to Scotland via England and account for the large French vocabulary they have in common. Some words, lost to English have survived in Scots, as … ashet (plate) … jigot (leg of mutton … tassie (cup) … bouls (bowls), succar (sugar). The third source, the Franco-Scottish Alliance (1296-1560) bypassed England and added further words, as … disjune (breakfast) … vivers (rations) … hogmanay (New Year’s Eve).”201 Other writers, however, have looked more closely at this specialised area of interest and it would be relevant to explore their views at this stage. Marian McNeill gives a useful appendix of Franco-Scottish terms, and the following extract is a very small proportion of the words which show the link between Scotland and France at the table. The selection made illustrates both the contributions made from the French visitors and the way in which the Scots have adapted them perhaps to retain their own national identity. There is, however, nothing approaching tournedo (a special fillet steak) or examples of high culture at the table.

Scots Bonally

English A deoch-andoruis, or stirrup-cup: a drink to speed the parting guest. ‘I will drink it for you, that good customs be not broken. Here’s your bonnaly, my lad.’ – Scott: The Pirate

French Bon Aller

Brule, brulyie

To broil


Gigot, jiggot

A leg of mutton


Gout (pr. Goo)


Petticoat tails


Taste: ‘They do not know how to cook yonder. They have no gout.’ - Galt

A pullet

Thin shortbread cakes

A kind of



Petites Gatelles






porridge, Aberd





Sugar. ‘Neeps like sucker!’ An old Edinburgh street cry


Tartan Purry

A dish of chopped kail and oatmeal


Tasse, Tassie

A cup. ‘Gae bring to me a pint o’wine / And fetch it in a silver tassie, / That I may drink, before I go, / A service to my bonnie lassie.’ – Burns



A tray for removing fragments after a meal. (Lit. a voider or emptier)


McNeil202 Ramsay much earlier than MacNeill203 had supplied a similar list but this is not to say that she copied the first writer’s approach:

Scotch Bonnaille

English A parting glass with a friend going on a journey

French Bon aller


Hashed meat



Taste, smell









Gigot (of mutton)









Case for holding wine



Sugar – Edinburgh Street Cry:Neeps like sucker. Whae’ll buy neeps? (turnips)


Petticoat- tails

Cakes of triangular shapes


Petits gatelles (Gateaux)

Meat dish

Assiette Ramsay204

Similar illustrations are given by Whyte205: “Compo (?) a mixture (cf compote) Pampurdy Payn purdeuz (toast fried in egg and strewn in sugar) Pom Citron Citron McNeil’s information, as well as Ramsay’s helps build up the case for a strong influence upon Scottish gastronomy but source material is of greater validity. The following information is from Lady Grisell Baillie’s Household Book of 1715206. The effect of contact with France is perhaps most seen through such everyday dishes as are first mentioned on the page noted: friassy fricascy fricasey fricassy





282 283 299



ragow rague ragu









286 289

288 sant


296 s



above all (a “pigion”)

brunt cream


burnt cream



a rest (idiomatic)


crème brule


The irony of ‘the Auld Alliance’ for Scotland is that even its ‘most Scottish word’ which has been promoted to embellish its heritage has its origins across the Channel. “The word tartan is derived from the French ‘tiretan’ and in its original form it meant a particular type of cloth quite irrespective of colour.”207 Dunbar goes on to quote Martin, Description of the Western Isles of Scotland, 1703 on “The Plad” which although the correct word is perhaps less stimulating than ‘tartan’, certainly, ‘plaid food’ equates with plain food but the term ‘tartan food’ as identified earlier has more of a pejorative ring to it. The disappointment in terms of the actual versus the potential gastronomic heritage afforded by long historical contact with France is that the words are more significant than the items on the table realise. The faded etymologies may have left jaded palates and an appetite horizoned by a poverty diet. A collection of proverbs and sayings connected with food and drink is given at the end of the next chapter.


Chapter 6 DRINK IN THE GLASS Introduction In separating drink from food by chapter title it does not imply that throughout the ensuing discussion there will be no reference to food. With a high level of importance placed upon drink in Scottish culture there are many dimensions which could be covered and inevitably some must be left out. This is in accordance with a decision not to consider the major and minor Scottish poets in terms of mention of food and drink or the table generally. What can be done is to give, perhaps, rather more than an appreciation of the variety of influences and factors. We have seen various elements of drink in Scotland, the way it is tied to hospitality, aspects of its prominence in the culture and some of the attempts made at controlling it. But as it has been seen, merely to provide legislation to curb the use of alcohol is not enough. Patrick1 comments “But the important fact that must be recognised is that alcoholic indulgence is too deeply rooted in the customs of human societies to admit of being removed simply by legal processes.” [his italics]. This aspect of ‘human societies’ receive due emphasis here as to do otherwise is to imply that Scotland is by far the worst country in the world concerning the injurious effects and social use of alcohol. However, being a gastronomic as opposed to a comparative history, this study can proceed to consider the manifestations of drink in society and drunkenness is one of them. MacKinnon, in 1920, has commented on the problem up to 1850: “Drunkenness has long been a social evil of very grave magnitude. The poverty, squalor, vice and crime of the slum districts of the large districts are largely traceable to this evil. But the drink demon lurks in every corner of the land and among all classes, and its shadow is a blot on the fair name of Scotland.” Samuelson, writing in 18802 puts forward interesting snapshot statistics relating to the consumption of drink. “… in 1838 the spirits consumed in England was about half-a-gallon (strictly 0.53) per head of the population, in Ireland it was 1.32, in Scotland 2.46 …” While the immediate question relates to the accuracy of such figures, we will have to assume that errors are sufficiently consistent across the data to preserve the ratio between them. As an agent of social control, the Church probably did less than it should and the drink demon lurked in the manse. The Church condoned the ‘national weakness’: how could it do otherwise when, in the eighteenth century: “The leader of the Evangelical party was famous not only as a preacher but as a ‘five-bottle man’?”3 “… it did not frown upon this vice”. It may be that the Church has its own gastronomic heritage relating to drink. “Ecclesiastical sources abound with the evidence of priests coming to the altar half drunk …”4. Ross, on the story of Whisky commented that: “The clergy in Scotland were not by any means as opposed to drinking and smuggling as they would like the public to believe. Certainly, intemperance and trafficking in uncustomed goods were condemned openly, but we find from the minutes of early synod meetings that the ministers themselves were frequently men of the world in these matters. The Reverend Aenaes MacAulay of Gairloch was accused by his synod in 1754 of buying a quantity of rum and Geneva from a boat in the smuggling trade and selling it to his parishioners. We find that the Reverend Archibald Campbell of Morven was accused of being drunk at a baptism in 1733” [and so on].5 Henderson6 gives a leader from The Scotsman a hundred years later which indicates that there was little improvement: “That Scotland is, pretty near at least, the most drunken nation on the face of the earth is a fact never quite capable of denial. It may seem strange that Edinburgh, the headquarters of the various sections of a clergy more powerful than any other save that of Ireland, should, in respect of drunkenness, exhibit scenes and habits unparalleled in any other metropolis, and that Glasgow, where the clergy swarm, should be notoriously the most guilty and offensive city in Christendom …”7


The Drinking Scot “We Scots have got to learn how to enjoy drinking. Not by any stretch of the imagination could the average Scots reveller be called ‘happy’. Generally he’s a sodden mass of inert misery, a kind of walking foregone conclusion.”8 The self-fulfilling prophecy which British society assumes about the Scots may be seldom let down by sobriety in the face of national or other celebration and the liberal supply of drink. Even in a serious study, this assertion needs no reference to prop it up. Accepting this to be the case the difficulty lies in explaining reasons behind the fact. A full explanation has defied those who would be able to put any reasons to practical benefit such as physiologists, health educationalists, even sociologists. What can be given here is a discussion of some of the opinions relating to the questions concerning the excessive drinking in Scotland through the course of history. We can appraise some aspects of the Scottish temperament and nationalistic fervour as we travel with the authors of the opinions used. The Scottish pride in its drinking reputation has a long history as Young has pointed out: “We hear of Joannes Scotus Erigena, in the ninth century – a Scot born in Ayr … dining têteà-tête with Charles the Bald of France: when the King pawkily asked, after some bouts of wine-bibbing, ‘Quid distat inter Scotum et sottum?’, ‘What separates a Scot from a sot?’, to which John the Scot promptly replied, “‘Mensa tantum’, ‘Only a table’”.9 Such pride in the ability to consume large quantities of alcohol is at the core, possibly, of Scottish manhood. The dimension of masculinity is a relevant component of the debate and part of “A man’s a man for a’ that.”a Bonnet has remarked that: “A food becomes ‘masculine’ as soon as women, children, and old people … do not consume it.”10 Valentine11 draws upon Miller12 in a debate concerning the tendency of lower class people to hold as important the idea of masculine toughness as the (polar) opposite of effeminacy and weakness. Coombes extended the discussion to the public house: “Male attitudes are understandably reflected in the greater use of pubs – usually better value – but also because they are regarded as more masculine.”13 Lochhead brings the discussion to Scotland with “… wine, women and song contributed to the elevation of the masculine spirit”14 That masculine spirit [see web-link page] relating to drink has been a feature of Scottish gastronomic history. Boswell described the demands made of a certain clan chieftain: “Every Laird of MacLeod, it is said, must as proof of his manhood drink it off [Rorie More’s large low horn with a capacity of ‘more than a bottle and a half’] full of claret without taking it from his right arm.”15 A footnote to the page penned by ‘Carruthers’ mentions that the ceremony continued at least to 1852 but an artificial bottom had been inserted “to reduce the libation to a moderate draught.” Guthrie16 gives a very similar quotation and added that the horn was kept at Dunvegan Castle, Isle of Skye. Ross17 notes that “It was the custom for the young heir to drain it when he became of age.” The detail relating to claret is discussed in a later section and public houses are the object of attention in a section further on. While whisky (and brandy) are the focus in a later section we can generalise a little on the distilled commodity. “Spirit drinking and hard drinking at that, in the eighteenth century was a masculine pursuit in which women joined on special festive occasions.18 Trevelyan noted the heavy drinking when “On six evenings a week the taverns were filled with men of all classes … till the ten o’clock drum, beaten at the order of the magistrates, warned every man that he must be off home.”19 The same writer details the unsteady hurrying home when laird aided the working man and vice versa. Daiches20 remarks upon “the degree to which gentility and coarseness coexist in the same circles” where manly drinking was not distinguished by social class. Such attitudes to the masculinity of the drinking activity, however, may have been inculcated at an early age, at least with those of the lower social order as Harvey suggests: “Two youngsters met in the street one day, and had a ‘friendly fight’ with their tongues which soon led to the employment of something of more weight to decide their opinions. Willie’s father seeing the combat went and asked what the fighting was about. ‘He said his father was drunk mair times than you.’ Replied Willie, thinking he was making a score in favour of his father.”21 There are many aspects of the history of Scottish drinking habits up to the early 1800s which have been brought together by a J. Dunlop and these are now considered.


Drink in Scotland as Viewed by J. Dunlop The ensuing discussion relates to a book written about elements of ‘compulsion’ in earlier Scottish drinking. The full title of the book is “The Philosophy of Artificial and Compulsory Drinking Usage in Great Britain and Ireland; containing the characteristic and exclusively national, convivial laws of British Society; with the peculiar compulsory festal customs of 98 trades and occupations in the 3 kingdoms; comprehending about 300 different drinking usages.” By John Dunlop, President of the General Temperance Union of Scotland, 1839. Rather than take pieces out somewhat disjointedly it is appropriate to treat the book as a very worthwhile entity and refer to it when occasion demands. It is a statement of many customs, occupations and interesting facts relating to drink and in his introduction, Dunlop remarks “It is matter of interesting enquiry, to investigate the various modes of inebriation as they exist in different countries; and the examination becomes serious and important, when it is undertaken with a view to address a cure to the intemperants of any given community.” The book is of use to the research, not so much for a study of intemperance in the given community of Scotland but to help unravel some of the customs linked to drinking. Early in the discussion (on page 2), Dunlop remarks that “In America, if we may trust the narratives of travellers, there is scarce such a thing known as men sitting together in company at wine or liquor after dinner …”. That applied, too, to Scotland at an early stage in its drinking history. While that situation has changed, Dunlop exhorts us to remember throughout the work that “… in Great Britain there exists a large plurality of motives, derived from etiquette and rule.” While much of what is now described as fallen from modern etiquette it helps show the formation of such rule. Chapter One deals with “The Artificial and Compulsory Drinking Usages of Scotland” and attends to some of the “… rights, customs, ceremonies, etiquettes, and courtesies, that here 22 accompany inebriation.” “In no other country does spirituous liquor seem to have assumed so much the attitude of the authorised instrument of compliment and kindness, as in North Britain …”, and this is a fairly important issue for our research. The discussion soon moves on to look at the high level of compulsion to drink in various occupations. The quotations have been modernised. Taking the example of the joiner or cabinet maker we are informed that the “stripling” who starts his apprenticeship needed to pay a sum as “an entry” to be spent on drink by the workmen. “He receives charge of the fire in the premises; and at every failure of kindling, mending or extinguishing at night, he is fined in a small sum, to be expended in whisky …” We note23 that both apprentices and full blown carpenters, etc, were ‘sent to Coventry’ for refusal to comply with such customs while a journeyman carpenter, who did not pay the drink money, “… found one morning his tools removed to a dung hill …” where they were found three months later. Various examples serve to show that the practices were widespread and other incidents are described – “entries” for founders, coopers, tinsmiths, cloth-lappers and numerous others: “… drinking never stops with the occasion of its commencement, but always proceeds in an augmented ratio.”24 Various other stages in a man’s career in a trade are given: those in the hatter trade had to pay at the end of the apprenticeship what was called a “garnish.” The anniversary of such events was marked by further payments, all of which had to be spent upon drink. Wood was used in the hatter trade and a “plank pint” was also payable when the felt was worked on a plank with hot water and various other treatments. On page 9 we read of “… shipbuilding yards charging two pounds” for entry money. The gains were spent on a dance which generally ended in severe drinking and several days were spent in bringing back the people to their ordinary state of sobriety. An apprentice in the Clyde area would have to give the wages of his first week as a journeyman in order to see his companions drink his welcome. We could go on with many further examples which progress to actual bottles of whisky25 being the order of the day for those who sought to progress in their career. Chapter Two is a continuation of the occupational customs relating to drink and while it is worthy to give a quick mention of the Herring Fisheries industry where “… the men are frequently put on the board intoxicated” we can pass to “the bargain”. On page 20 we read that “Among cattle dealers and butchers there are few or no dry bargains; and if the business be in the country, they will go miles to a public house, to proceed in and close the transaction.” A comment on page 21 needs to be read in the light of a changing social interest in propriety which Elias would have been pleased to note. “Although the custom of drinking over


bargains among merchants and traders of the higher rank, is happily obsolete, it is by no means the case among the industrious classes.” Dunlop goes on to remark that “It would be impossible to calculate the extent of the deterioration of morals which this custom occasions, seeing that it is nearly universal over Northern Britain …” We can summarise a fairly lengthy debate by saying that it is easy to see what it is participants in the bargain hoped to gain. “The seller, trusting to his superior capacity of withstanding the power of liquor, sometime expects in this way to procure a better bargain, and the buyer is no less sanguine.” The “rue-bargain” involved the purchaser attempting to go back on the agreement whereby a “forfeit of whisky, which aries in amount according to the value of the merchandise in question” was paid. The closing pages of Chapter Two deal with courtship and marriage customs: the 26 distribution of drink was associated with the proclamation of the banns . “Tasting was an 27 important activity at markets, fairs, and sacraments …” . “A young man is forced to offer liquid fire to his sweetheart, and she is no less obliged to receive it!”28. A girl was therefore neglected, if not insulted, if an insufficient quantity of liquor was not available. As Dunlop aptly remarks “… whisky is the instrument of courtesy in this country …” Chapter 3 is a continuation of the discussion where there was the habit in large towns of meeting one’s betrothed in a “… respectable public house” due to the little opportunity of rural walks. While they discuss their future “… amid the clatter of tumblers and pint stoups …” they are bonded to the decadence since it is “… firmly associated with the most delightful hours of the most delightful season of life …” While the pre-marriage customs may have received some treatment above we read29 that when the couple emerged from the church the mob which collected at the doors “… must be pleased and pacified from outrage by a treat of liquor.” While not given mention as such that modern contrivance ‘wetting the baby’s head’ was something that occurred (especially) from birth until baptism. At the ‘other end’ the same glass for all who come within the door from death until the funeral of more elderly members of the family is still a custom in the Islands today. Chapter 4 gives further examples of customs involving liquor. Today the celebrity presses a button, the champagne hits the bow of the ship and everyone applauds. The forerunner of such a custom is described on page 50: “The launching bowl is a bonus of drink, varying from two to ten pounds, according to the size of the ship bestowed by the owners on the apprentices of a shipbuilding yard, at the launch of a vessel.” A “graving bowl” was given to the journeymen after a vessel was “payed with tar.” The church was not excluded from activities involving alcohol: “In some presbyteries, the presbyterial dinner is furnished with liquor, not by each member present to pay his direct proportionate share, but by fines imposed on various occasions. When a clergyman gets a new manse, he is fined a bottle of wine; when he has been newly married, the circumstance subjects him to the same amicable penalty; a child also costs one bottle, as did “the publication of another sermon.” A similar set of circumstances was set up for bachelor ministers. Other examples are given involving the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland and which would give us no surprise to read of anything involving the University. “In some Universities it is believed that the ‘sealing of the gown’ exists: and among medical students there are drinking usages connected with dissections and other occasions.” On the same page Masonic drinking is described with the example of the “founding pint.” “It is bonus of drink, varying from the value of a sovereign to ten guineas, according to the size of the building, and it is given to the men by the proprietor, and on the occasion of the foundation stone being laid …” While the ‘topping out ceremony’ is perhaps all that remains 30 we see that drink was distributed when the joists were fixed and the delivery of the keys was an occasion “for the roofing pint.” Chapter 5 continues the Scottish usage of alcohol with coverage of farm occupations, women applying leeches and so on. As if by way an appendix, the May Day celebrations on Arthur’s Seat are described by a friend of the author: “The custom of celebrating the return of ‘May Day’ is universal throughout Scotland and like all other customs here, the drinking of whisky forms a prominent feature in it. In Edinburgh the day has been in use to be celebrated from time immemorial by a visit to Arthur’s Seat, and anciently the practice was simply for a party of friends to take lunch of some kind … in modern times, however this harmless practice has degenerated into a scene of debauchery and drunkeness, that no respectable family or individual engages in it …”


Savage Hospitality Chapter 6 is a comment upon Scottish solitary drinking and a so-called national objection to it. It is followed by further examples of occupational customs relating to drink. Chapter 7 also has relevance to this study and commences with the treatment of “… how far national intemperance has affected the literature of Scotland.” “Our national poet Burns describes the realities of life, as he saw and felt them, and wrote only to the dictation of nature.” Some quotations of Burns’ work given31 reveal that “… we have premeditated hints of the general regard in which the stimulation of alcohol was held by himself, and generally by the people of the country in which he lived. ‘O whisky, soul o’ praise and pranks!’ seems an affirmation to which the most part of Scotland responds …” Again32 “There are a number of Burns’ songs which are avowedly Bacchanalian, and therefore it may not be sound reason to attempt from them a demonstration of the amazing favour the Scotch nation bears to drunkness.” Dunlop goes on to illustrate “… that even temperate nations have drinking songs.”33 “And with respect to the intemperance of Burns himself, let those cast the first stone at him, who can say they never, by their own example of actual inebriation, or at least in persisting in artificial drinking usage, encouraging the intemperance of all around them.” Burns is not entirely admonished and there is a quotation from a letter preserved in the Andersonian University of Glasgow, dated Mauchlin, 8 November 1788: “… that savage hospitality that knocks a man down with strong liquors.” Over a hundred pages and seven chapters are devoted to the Scottish drinking habits as seen in the early 1800s. While Dunlop was fair and covered Ireland and England in the same way, the present study cannot extend to the detail which he gives starting with Chapter 8. On page 256, however, he contrasts the inebriations of England and Scotland wherein the occupational drinking usages are held to be in greater abundance in South Britain than in the North, “… and the penalties for non-compliance with these seem to be more multi-farious and more severe.” Contrastingly, the social purposes of drink are held to be more important in the North: “… it will be found that in Scotland comparatively more inebriation and family use of liquor at funerals, marriages, christenings, merry-makings, dinner and supper, and in some cases, breakfast parties, and in ordinary forenoon visits, than what takes place in similar circles in South Britain where many forenoon visits, supper parties, afternoon and even dinner parties, occur without the use of wine and spirits at all.” Dunlop suggests that perhaps the custom of health-drinking originated in the practice of offering libations at feasts to the gods or chiefs; or of pledging in ancient feudal times, when, at a mingled feast of friends and foes, one guaranteed his neighbour’s “wild-drinking.” Not withstanding what was said earlier about the Church of Scotland, an Act of General Assembly, 13 June 1646, No XII forbids the ceremony among its members: “… it is pity that 34 this prudent and Christian caution should everywhere be rebelled against in Scotland.” There is much of interest in a somewhat detailed overview of one man’s summary of drink in Scotland up to the early part of the nineteenth century and we can return to it from time to time. It has been worthwhile to keep Dunlop’s thoughts as a package and it may cause one to ponder if it had any effect on the revision of modes of drinking in the remainder of the century. It is safer to conclude that occupational drinking habits disappeared along with the outmoded jobs themselves. The long march of technical progress created new work patterns and a different drinking sociology emerged. While there is a less seriousness about it now, health drinking remains socially significant. Whisky remains “the instrument of courtesy” to the present day and is taken to be synonymous with hospitality in many parts of the world. Claret, however, received little attention by Dunlop which suggests a change in its significance then as whisky had, by the 1820s replaced it as the “social drink.” We can attend to such issues as we move on to different dimensions of Scottish drink in more detail.

Claret: the Prince of Social Beverages Rather than include the discussion of claret in that on the Auld Alliance it is relevant to keep the materials together rather than the approaches used to analyse Scotland’s gastronomic history of drink. The background details relating to Scotland’s link with France are debated in the Auld Alliance section of this chapter. Inevitably it was royalty and the rich merchants in early times who could effect trade with France and exchanged animal skins, wool and barley for more luxurious goods. An early account relates to 1263 when the tailor of


Alexander III (1241-1286) went to the fair at Dundee: “… and thither also went the King’s wain … to bring home the casks of wine from Gasconny for his majesty’s summer drink.”35 It was as well that the demand for claret could be supported by such meagre goods which Scotland used as payment and large amounts of the drink were purchased. “The Scots imports from France, which included most of the wine drunk in the country, must have been considerable. The Scots sailed directly to Bordeaux in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and brought the wine directly back to Scotland, but, in view of the close political alliance between the two countries, the Scots do not seem to have enjoyed very valuable commercial privileges.”36 We have discussed the dubious benefit to Scotland of the Auld Alliance and Grant adds a further viewpoint. With such comment we can deduce that the quantity of the lower value goods which Scotland was sending in exchange for claret must have been enormous. With animal skins as a significant component of the purchase price, there would have been a surfeit of meat during the summer months. The opposite effect was undoubtedly observable when grain would have been in short supply in Scotland to support aristocratic tastes for luxury commodities such as claret. Social imitation, however, being what it is, it was not long before those lower in the social order began to crave this drink. R. Chambers37 notes that in 1688 “Sometimes they have wine – a thin-bodied claret, at tenpence the mutchkin, which answers our quart.” The French demand for grain would vary through time and as this grew less its availability for home use would move from its use as a staple food to the production of very elementary distillations and, more probably, the making of ale. While improving the choice for poorer people the range of liquors available to the merchant class varied not at all. According to Ross (in his detailed account of whisky as it happens) the upper classes in eighteenth century Scotland drank “ale, claret, brandy, sherry and others. Claret was undoubtedly the most popular of these and was drunk to excess.”38 Ramsay quotes from anecdotal material relating to a minister who although having “a mortal antipathy to the whole French nation … had great relish of the glass of claret which he considered the prince of all social beverages.”39 So established was the drink that it was a component of ancient ceremony as is discussed earlier in the section “The Drinking Scot”, when masculinity was considered. Claret was the component, then, of both occasional and everyday ceremony and we now see its use by the Church and bench: “… the Lord Commissioner entertained the dignitaries of the Church of Scotland, ministers assembled to discuss points of theology or, more frequently, Church government, and grave judges clothed themselves with an awful solemnity as the third bottle of claret was set before them.”40 The patterns of claret consumption varied only with social class – those with good purchasing power never lessened their grip on the claret cup but the poorer people switched from ale to claret as economy permitted. “The Scottish lairds and wealthy townsfolk for long remained faithful to french wines, especially claret, a tribute to the ‘Auld Alliance’.”41 The more general description came from Ross42: “In the period which I am talking about, the seventeenth century in this case, and throughout the first half of the eighteenth century and beyond, wine was the universal drink of all classes when they could get it.” Haldane was more specific with dates and also showed how the tables turned concerning the Auld Alliance: “Originally claret was the ordinary beverage, since it was exempt from duty till about 1780, but the horror of everything French drove it from all tables during the wars.” 43

The Inordinate Love of Whisky “Scotch whisky is not a whimsical mountain dew distilled by pixies but a spirit produced by human art …” and, “… it can only be made in Scotland by people who actively enjoy making it.” The first part of the quotations is by Daiches44 and we will be using more of his material as we go through this account of the history of Scottish whisky. The second part is from Rev. Dunoon’s contribution to the seventeenth volume of the Sinclair Statistical Account of Scotland, 1796. Both portray the popular view of this commodity and if the historically earlier writer had just finished his morning’s dram he no doubt would have written about people who actively enjoy drinking it.


The general demand for whisky has created a parallel craving for literature, albeit often at the popular level, on its history and use as a medium of entertainment. A brief look at its history can point to one or two influences upon its acceptance as the “instrument of courtesy … compliment … kindness … and savage hospitality” as Dunlop has described. David Daiches has had much to say about Scottish history and in his book “Scotch Whisky …” asks, “Was it the Scots who brought the art of distilling from Ireland?”45 He concludes that it was developed very early in Ireland and was brought to Scotland “some time in the Middle Ages but we cannot be certain … The first recorded allusion to a spirit distilled from barley in Scotland is found in the Scottish Exchequer Rolls for 1494 …”46 , “but it must have been going on from a much earlier period”47 Ross48 also gives details of the 1494 entry in the Exchequer Rolls and both probably obtained the information from any edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica.49 While Daiches50 sees a clear origin for uisge beatha through the ‘aqua vita line’, Ross51 warns that early references could well have been confused with another spirit as “the consumption of brandy and even the making of it, merges with the production of whisky.” ‘Water of life’ being mentioned brings to mind the question of the different quality of water which exists in the Highlands. This important fact coupled with the idea that the Scots may have had a greater aptitude for making whisky and developing variations of it has enabled Scotch to sell more than Irish whiskey in the world at large. If whisky had been drunk in Scotland from before the fifteenth century, it took a long time for it to become the national drink. Ale, claret and brandy may have vied with each other for that title and claret seems to have won except in times of increased home production of whisky.b Although whisky is accepted today as the national drink of Scotland, its predecessor in that capacity was claret according to Wilson who remarks: “By the Act of Union, Scotland had come under the same customs regulations as England. Prior to that date the close traditional sympathy between that country and France had made claret a favourite Scottish drink … But gradually, under the operation of the anti-French regulations, the taste for French wines declined, and spirits took their place as the favourite Scottish beverage.”52 Whether the move to favour whisky was quick or slow the main reason for the growth of whisky drinking is the improvements made to the various ad hoc devices used to distil the liquor. Daiches53 has drawn together details of the changes in the tax laws made to curb the growth of the illicit still, and his account is now summarised. The first major excise tax on spirits was passed in 1644 and “lapsed after the Restoration in 1660”. It was reimposed in 1693. The Board of Excise was formed in the year of the Union (1707). The English malt tax was imposed at half its rate in Scotland in 1713 but was resisted with verbal vigour and riots. Haldane continues the account with the comment that: “Whisky took an extraordinary hold on Scotland after the Union, or, rather, after the malt tax was imposed in 1725; the last was a small tax but extremely unpopular. Smuggled spirits were brought into Scotland from Holland and France, and in ever-remote portions of the coast this trade was carried on without any feeling that this infringement of the law was wrong. There was also a belief, which gave great satisfaction, that by smuggling the English were being deprived of the proceeds of their 54 unpopular imposition!” Ross agrees that “Scottish spirit dues had come into line with those in England at the Union of Parliaments in 1707” but suggests that “they diverged in 1736” with the implementation of a further Act which exempted Scotland: “It was aimed at curing a social malady that was peculiarly English. Any similar malaise did not obtain in Scotland. Whisky seems to have graduated slowly and gently from being the drink of the lower classes to being everybody’s drink. There was no sudden and massive appearance of cheap drink as in England when King William began his commercial fencing with the French.”55 If we believe Ross, there would seem to have been no drinking problems. If the rapidity with which whisky caught on in Scotland was different from that of gin in England its ultimate effect was at least equivalent. As Ross indicated, the transition was gradual and this is due, in part, to the different ‘locations of influence’: “Edinburgh … gained supremacy in the brewing industry in spite of the malt tax which was extended in Scotland in 1725, and produced a riot in Glasgow, whilst the distilling of whisky, licit and illicit, was supreme in the Highlands, and its consumption, which was favoured by smuggling, gained materially in the course of the century on that of beer.”56 Whisky smuggling in Scotland can be interpreted as a counter-measure of the social control affecting the amount of liquor available to the people. It was at the same time a reaction to the taxes imposed on that liquor which was legally available. The Scot had been


accustomed to a liberal supply of his, by then, favourite liquor at a price which he forced his personal budget to accommodate. Smuggling was the obvious answer to the two-pronged stab of restrictions on supply and increasing cost. This had the effect of putting out of business some of the conventional distillers. The illicit distillers who sprang up to take their place had the advantage of being able to sell their products which undercut by far those who were left in the normal market place. The normal distillers found that the restrictions imposed upon the manufacturing of their whisky were so onerous that it became a less worthy and valued product compared with the illegally produced liquor. “This superiority induces a corresponding desire in the inhabitants of Scotland to possess themselves of smuggled whisky, even at a higher price than that for which they can purchase the same article from the licensed distillers. 57 Such fervour to obtain this commodity at almost any price and under so adverse conditions in a bygone age has been replaced by no less fervour to consume it today. While worldwide in its application, this study has needed to remain in focus upon whisky in Scottish culture. Some small attention has been paid to Scotland’s French allies and there could be only spurious conclusions as to why in Scotland “Whisky goes further down the social scale than in England.”58 Perhaps the obvious answer was provided by McLaren59 who generalised about his fellow countrymen: “The one characteristic which he is allowed in common by … opposing views of him is an inordinate love of whisky.”

The Scottish Public House A popular topic of debate is the difference between the Scottish public house and an English counterpart. We shall see that it is not merely an issue engaging the attention in modern times though we will start with an up-to-date view. We can consider the poetic as well as the practical dimensions. According to Henderson,60 Scottish pubs seemed “bare, joyless drinking dens compared to cheery, jovial English hostelries.” He then quotes MacDiarmid with the justification that it took a writer of his genius “to turn a squalid vice into a virtue.” MacDiarmid compared Scots and English drinkers and said that “We do not like the confiding, the intimate … the hail-fellow, well-met, but prefer the unapproachable, the hardbitten, the recalcitrant, the sinister … the sinister to the smooth. We have no damned feeling at all …” and, by implication – do not need a jovial English hostelry”. Moving on with slightly more practical application, Allen’s view in 1968 was: “Scottish pubs are really bars, having failed to develop as full-scale inns on the English pattern, due to the fact that the native hospitality of old was so bounteous that travellers never lodged for the night except in private houses.” While Marie Stuart may agree with the lack of development she would give radically different reasons based in the idea that the Scottish hostelry retained its provision for the horse to the detriment of the rider far longer than its English counterpart. The Scots preferred the title “stabler” to the English “Inn-keeper”. As late as the end of the eighteenth century a Samuel Wordsworth kept a house in Leith Street, Edinburgh, “but the 61 fact that he also styled himself ‘stabler’ showed where his real interest lay …” The age of the horse lasted longer in Scotland due to the lack of road development and by 1750-1800 many from England were well used to travelling in coaches. There was little reason to invest in inns (which also served as public houses) due to the lack of travellers. Henry Graham commented on the period mentioned: “In consequence of the small number of passengers on the roads in those days of bad travelling, the inns in Scotland were miserable in the extreme. In country towns there were mean hovels, with dirty rooms, dirty food and dirty attendants.”62 Chambers contrasted “the state of the lower classes of public houses in Scotland and in England. The contrast is too remarkable to have escaped the notice of anyone who has visited the two countries. In one, we find a certain appearance of neatness and comfort; in the other, the most wretched pictures of disorder, filth, and poverty.63 In 1752 Parliament passed an Act64 in order to develop the Highlands. Smith65 has described what took place and detailed the lack of improvement in the Scottish inn. This was due in part to the “… close-knit family relationships of the gentry ensured that few journeys took them out of reach of the houses of friends or relations … such open-handed hospitality was an enjoyable social custom for those who shared it, [but] there was one detrimental effect. With no expectation of refined clients, Scottish inns made no attempt to cater for the discriminating, and their reputation was for a long time deservedly bad.”66


Other modern writers have also made such contrasts and Stuart, too, was concerned with ‘pictures’. “The old Scottish inns defy any attempt to glamorise them into the Christmas card prettiness that has transfigured their English counterparts.” 67 This Scottish concern, perhaps even jealousy, for a nicer pub in England, was expressed also by McLaren: “And as for the pub or inn, which in an English village is not only so full of charm but is, along with the church, an essential element of the place, here the contrast is to be seen and felt at its most poignant. Bare and unfurnished as a station waiting-room, decorated only by the crudest advertisements for spirits and tobacco, it possesses only too often an air of furtiveness and unfriendliness imposed upon it by being the public place of sin in a small community.68 McLaren does point to the public house in Scotland as one important part of the social life in the smaller, often cut off communities. The city, however, cannot be viewed in the context of the present discussion, as a different case and is, after all, a network of small communities. For this reason it is proposed to discuss town and city together and explore one possible influence on the social use to which the Scottish public house was put. It is to do with housing. While in a previous section we considered other aspects of the influence of the Auld Alliance, it has been said that conurbations were designed on the French model of upwards rather than outwards2 thereby condensing the population into a more tightly packed social unit. Mackie was concerned with the overall accommodation situation and reflects that in the average household: “There were few drawing rooms where a fourposter bed was not to be seen. Ladies ‘wi’ a lang pedigree’ received their guests in their bedrooms …” and, obviously the poorer folk suffered in relatively a far worse way. “As a result of this lack of accommodation, the tavern became a second home …”69 Graham gives a similar account: “drinking and tavern frequenting form … a curious characteristic of Scottish town life. In Edinburgh, accommodation being extremely limited in the dwelling home, there were no rooms in which to transact business with clients or to give entertainments with friends. Men were therefore obliged to resort to the tavern or coffee house, where the charges were moderate and rooms convenient.”70 MacKinnon71 gives similar information relating to “lords, lairds, judges, professors, ministers and physicians.72 Sutherland73 gives us perhaps not the earliest available statistics but they serve to illustrate the point being made. In 1908 a Government Report74 showed that 23.8% of the total number of houses in Glasgow were one-roomed. With such comments as these perhaps we are getting nearer to the truth of the matter. As late as 1858 the housing of many people was inadequate even by standards prevailing then. Alexander Brown toured Glasgow in that year and wrote about what he saw in “Midnight Scenes and Social Photographs”. In the following account he visits a carter and his wife the former of whom obviously escapes to the local alehouse: “You have a very small place here’ … ‘Yes, it is, sir, a wee place’, she replies … feeling of shame at occupying so mean an apartment. ‘Well, but you have it tidy and clean’. ‘Ou aye, we aye manage that, if naething else – my husband is a carter, an’ he hasna’ been in work for a long time – but if he didna drink, we wudna need to be here’. ‘Dear me, how do you live in it?’ … In this hole the husband and wife have lived for one or two years, and until lately, two children; the youngest of the latter having been only some weeks dead of measles, after five months illness.”75 To consider differences between Scottish and English public houses without incorporating the situation relating to housing in Scotland is to conduct a sterile exercise. The illustration provided by ‘Shadow’ can be shown to apply to elsewhere also as the conditions suffered by the poor were by no means exclusive to Scotland. Neither was the drink problem. The passage earns its place in this study as it makes a contribution to our knowledge of the cultural milieu and drink is an important dimension of it.

From Cradle to the Grave An appropriate heading, perhaps, for both a final specific discussion and one which brings food and drink together again although its inclusion in this chapter is warranted due to


the emphasis on drink. It is proposed now to give an overview of the main ‘life events’ in terms of the festivities and the first of these, is of course, birth. As yet another indication of the impact of the Auld Alliance we note the Anglicisation of the root word. The “Cummers’ Feast” survived to the early 1700s in Scotland where it was probably unique. The word stems from the French commere, a godmother, and the festivities relate to important births and were extant during Queen Anne’s reign (1702-1714). The feast was “… a supper where every gentleman brought a pint of wine to be drunk by him and his wife. The supper was a ham at the head, and a pyramid of fowl at the bottom. This dish consisted of four and five ducks at bottom, hens above, and partridges at top. There was an eating posset in the middle of the table, with dried fruits and sweetmeats at the sides.”76 The feast concluded with a scramble for the sweetmeats with as much noise as possible, and a visit “to the stoups (for there were no bottles), of which the women had a good share; for though it was a disgrace to be seen drunk, yet it was none to be a little intoxicat [sic] in company”. The next event was the christening which long ago if being carried out in the kirk was accompanied by the parents in order to induce “… the father to take his vows before the whole congregation”.77 Due to the difficulties this presented the ceremony was proceeded with at home. However, there was less of a problem in meeting the social obligation of giving the first person they met after the event a piece of bread and cheese or sweets and cake. The practice died out as the nineteenth century progressed. In considering marriage customs, Dunlop78 points out that drinking started with the proclamation of the banns and the girl was entitled to feel insulted if insufficient courtesy (whisky) was not available when the first announcement was made. Guthrie79 commented upon Old Scottish Customs and noted that “When a young man went to pay his addresses to his sweetheart, instead of going to her father and declaring his passion, he adjourned to a public house, and, having made a confidante of his landlady, the object of his attachment was at once sent for. The fair maiden thus honoured seldom refused to come; and the marriage was arranged over constant supplies of ale, whisky, and brandy!”80 When the wedding took place the extent of drinking was such that many would have been ‘happy’ by their arrival at the kirk and most would be too far gone by the end of the evening. The celebrations were traditionally held at the girl’s home on the logic that “… wifegivers are generally considered superior to wife-receivers the latter come as supplicants for the hand of the bride.”81 Even the poorest families would have had to save for the vicarious consumption of the food and drink at this important occasion. It was the custom in the 1700s when “a bride of more humble station entered her new home to break a cake of shortbread over her head, the fragments of which were gathered up by the young people and dreamed on.”82 The bride would have been given her “tocher” or dowry and her parents would still have to find the “poor-oot” of coins to be “tossed” or poured out on the group of children normally attracted to the ceremony. However, Scots humour being what it is, even the poor would live in happiness, perhaps tempered with plain speaking, as Harvey relates concerning the dowry: “In some parts of the country it is customary for a bride to bring a dower to her husband, and no matter how little she may bring, she must not come empty handed. One couple, who had experienced wedded bliss for some years, were having a quarrel, when the husband taunted the lady with the paucity of worldly goods with which she had endowed him. ‘Awa’, said he; ‘when ye mairred me, a’ye brocht was a cask o’ whisky an’ the auld bible.’ ‘Weel, Jock,’ was the quick response, ‘gin ye had paid as muckle attention to the beuk as ye did to the bowie, ye would have been an meenister o’ the gospel ere this!” 83 Turning attention now to an ostensibly less happy occasion, solemnity was not necessarily an important requisite as meeting the social expectations relating to the funeral and descriptive humour continues: “Wullie, Wullie, as lang’s ye can speak, are ye for your funeral baps roond or square?” Mary Fleming84 in the Real Humour of Scotland managed to capture the funny side of the earnest ways in which the ordinary people of not-so-bygone ages went about their


entertaining. There is little doubt, however, that the above quotation was first printed in Ramsay’s “Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character”85 and “Wullie” was “an old tenant of … George Lyon of Westerogil …” There was a certain earnesty in the drinking to the extent that the purpose of the occasion and its chief actor could be lost fairly early. Ross86 shows that such activities were not solely confined to previous centuries. “Within living memory, at the funeral of an old lady on a certain island in the Outer Hebrides, the rather high-spirited company set off with the empty coffin, commenting to each other that Margaret must have wasted away a lot during her last illness. They buried the coffin with all ceremony and returned to the house of mourning to find old Margaret’s body still stretched out and awaiting burial.” These unhappy revellers have a solid history of similar gaiety on these occasions and Smollet described perhaps a typical occasion in Argyllshire with this ideally less typical outcome: “Yesterday we were invited to the funeral of an old lady, the grand-mother of a gentleman in this neighbourhood, and found ourselves in the midst of fifty people, who were regaled with a sumptuous feast, accompanied by the music of a dozen pipers … the guests did such honour to the entertainment, that many of them could not stand when reminded of the business on which we had met. The company forthwith taking horse, rode in a very irregular cavalcade to the place of interment, a church, at the distance of two long miles from the castle. On our arrival, however, we found that we had committed a small oversight, in leaving the corpse behind; so that we were obliged to wheel about, and meet the old woman halfway …”87 In 1810 prior to her impending death “an old maiden lady” in Strathspey sent for her grand-nephew (another Willy) and said “… I’m deein’, and as ye’ll hae the charge o’ a’ I have, mind now that as much whisky is to be used at my funeral as there was at my baptism”. Not having been at the baptism the nephew left no margin for error and the corpse managed to be left outside a country inn on the way to the churchyard ten miles away88 Similar stories but with conventional burial of “the corp” as it was called are related appertaining to much later in the century which somewhat refutes Smout’s comparison of Scottish life in 1700-1800 when he concludes that “It was no longer, for example, the right thing to get hopelessly drunk at a friend’s funeral as a mark of respect for the deceased.”89 You would have said aye to being asked to the ‘service’ and Guthrie establishes the use of this word to apply also to the funeral feast. “It was formally the custom in the Campsie district, when the head of a family died, to invite all inhabitants to attend the funeral. The visitors were served seated on boards in the barn, and by way of commencement were supplied with ale, then followed whisky, after this came shortbread, then some other kind of liquor, then a piece of currant bread, and a third supply either of whisky or wine. After this came bread and cheese, pipes and tobacco. This feast was called a service; sometimes it was repeated, in which case it was a double service.”90 Elsewhere, however, the “services” were more like courses “… these services being interspersed with admonitions, lengthened prayers and graces, when the mingled worship and entertainment terminated, the people proceeded to the churchyard after a scout stationed on a rising ground in the neighbourhood gave intimation that no additional mourner was seen approaching the place of meeting. The following was the regular succession of the services: … 1st service … 2nd service 3rd service …

… … …

4th service … 5th service 6th service 7th service 8th service

… … … … …

Bread and cheese with ale and porter Glass of rum with ‘burial bread’ Pipes with tobacco. To prepare the pipes was one of the duties of the women who sat at the late-wake Glass of port with cake … Glass of sherry with cake … Glass of whisky … Glass of wine not specified … Thanks returned of the whole.”91

At a 1790 funeral in a Carluke barn, “They had worked at the – what was called ‘a service’ – during three previous hours, one party succeeding another, and many taking advantage of every service, which consisted of a glass of white wine, a glass of red wine, a


glass of rum and a prayer of thanksgiving. After the long invocation, bread and wine are passed round.”92 The normal interpretation of the overall funeral service was that it would be extremely costly beyond providing liberal quantities of drink (and food). Graham93 gives details of just the embalming cost in 1720 - £66 for one “corp”. “In 1704 Lord Whitelaw, judge, was buried at the cost of £5189 Scots or £423 Sterg., nearly equal to two year’s salary in those days.” Our interest, however, lies with the gastronomic dimensions. The typical event comprised a feast which was much extended by the minister blessing the meat – his only solemn oration, mark you, on certain occasions, when the glass was circulating at an increasing rate. The sack, ale and claret eventually ran out and the desolate were so due to its disappearance rather than by the loss of the dearly departed.”94 In that cultural milieu excessive drinking would not have been any disgrace. It was no disgrace either, with the extent of poverty as it was, to have at one’s family funeral large numbers of beggars and after the guests had had their drink as described their shortbread and oatcakes, special loaves and whatever was left over was distributed. — 0 — In ending the descriptions of life and food on a potentially sombre note at least it has been shown to have some humour. At other times the light-hearted aspects of early Scottish history have been shown. While the entire treatment might have been a cradle to the grave coverage of the standard of Scottish diet at least we have seen its adolescence, full maturity and the beginning of its failing years. The treatment could well have been solely on a cradle to the grave dependence upon alcohol but a more balanced view was necessary. The final chapter looks forward to improving the Scottish diet, and looks into the Scots psyche, perhaps. -o-


Appendices 1 & 2 This comprises proverbs and a glossary. Text between [ ..] has been added by the author to the more obscure entries. Sources can be found and extensions can be made by putting obscure and interesting phrases into Google search using quotation marks. Now that the food and drink aspects have been covered, we can look at proverbs etc.

Appendix 1 Scots Proverbs Scots Proverbs and Sayings connected with Food, Drink and Hospitality The Proverbs of Scotland Alexander Hislop 1807 - 1865 A A bannock is a guid beast, ye may eat the guts o’t on a Friday. Meat in Scotland meant not flesh but any kind of food, the commonest being bannocks or unleavened cakes usually of bere, pease or barley meal. There was therefore no prohibition on eating them in Lent or on Fridays.

(see bannocks)

A broken kebbuck gangs sune dune.(Kebbuck - whole cheese) A cauld needs the cook as muckle as the doctor. A drap and a bite’s but sma' requite. Those who are our friends are welcome to food and drink. A dreich drink is better than a dry sermon. Dreich is dry in any sense. You could take the drink or leave it, but the sermon was forced upon you. [Dreich is more used today regarding weather – overcast, miserable.] A guid dog ne’er barkit about a bane. Good servants are not always looking for rewards. A guid goose may hae an ill gaislin. A Hieland Welcome. Proverbially hearty and generous, if extended to the right clan, or person otherwise acceptable. Burns wrote: When death’s dark stream I ferry o’er A time that surely shall come In heaven itself I’ll ask no more Than just a Hieland welcome. A horn spune hauds nae poison. Humble people do not tempt poisoners. A hungry man’s meat is lang to makin' ready. He thinks so, anyway. A kiss and a drink o' water mak but a wersh breakfast.


Love in a cottage, on these terms, was evidently not satisfying to the practical Caledonian. (wersh - tasteless) A layin' hen is better than a standin' mill. A small useful thing is better than a great useless one. A mouthfu' o' meat may be a tounfu' o' shame. This would be so if the food were stolen. A toom pantry maks a thriftless guid-wife. A wise saying for the present day. The housewife must have something to be thrifty with. A wee mouse will creep beneath a muckle corn stack. Said when a little woman marries a big man. Ane at a time is guid fishin'. As caller as a kail blade. Even in hot weather this was cool and often used to hold butter. [caller – fresh] As the soo fills the draff soors. A guest expressed his appreciation of an excellent and plentiful dinner in this way. ‘There’s just one serious fault your food has. It spoils my appetite.’ But draff, used to feed pigs, was the refuse of grain and even pigs probably thought so. B Bannocks are better than nae breid. Bannocks were less appetising than bread, however, being unleavened. Better a moose in the pot than nae flesh. Breid’s hoose is skailed never. A house with bread is never empty of food. Butter to butter’s nae kitchen. Used when women kiss each other, to imply that there would be more relish in the business if one was of the opposite sex. D Do as the coo o Forfar did. A woman put a newly brewed tub of beer on the doorstep to cool. It was all drunk by a passing cow whose owner was then taken to law by the ‘browsterwife’. However, the Forfar magistrates found for the cow-keeper on the grounds that the cow had not sat down to drink but had taken a deoch-an-doruis, or door-drink (parting drink) which was always ‘on the house’. [As described earlier in this book.] E Even a haggis will run doonhill. A soldier is not necessarily very brave who charges downhill, though this was the favourite manner of the Highlanders. Every man has his ain bubbly-jock.


It was formerly the practice to board out draft fellows to farmers, so that they might do work and be out of mischief. A gentleman visiting one of these poor souls asked him if he were happy. He began to cry. He confessed that he had a soft bed, a full belly, and pennies for sweeties. Still he was troubled. ‘O, mister, my life is made a burden to me,’ he wept. At last he managed to tell his worry. ‘O, sir, I’m sair hauden doon by the bubbly-jock.’ It seems that the turkey-cock had taken an aversion to him and chased him at sight. F Fair words winna mak' the pot boil. Fiddlers’ wives and gamesters’ drink are free to ilka body. Probably because their owners were too busy to keep an eye on them. Fools mak' feasts and wise men eat them. The Duke of Lauderdale was making a great feast in London when one of his guests very impudently said the above words. The Duke, who was a great wit, replied, ‘Aye, and wise men mak' proverbs and fools repeat them.’ For a hen’s gerss [pasture] They’ll flit i the Merse. [they will go (flit) to fertile land far away] The Berwickshire farm employees were addicted to changing their district every term-day on the slightest pretext. Although free range fowls enjoy an odd bit of grass, which enriches the yolks, a hen’s grazing is insignificant. Frae the greed o the Campbells Frae the ire o the Drummonds Frae the pride o the Grahams Frae the wind o the Murrays, Good Lord deliver us! This was the grace of an eccentric Highland laird, Maxtone of Cultoquey. He was no respecter of persons, and it is said that when visiting the Duke of Montrose, who was a Graham, he recited his customary grace, and quickly discovered the truth of his third line. G Gluttony goes hand-in-hand with drunkenness. Giff-gaff maks guid friends. Exchange of necessities between neighbours makes for friendship. H He canna mak' saut to his parritch. [He cannot put salt on his porridge] He cannot earn even the smallest necessity of life. He jumped at it, like a cock at a grosset. He accepted the offer greedily. He needs a lang spune that sups kail wi the deil, or a Fifer. Few men were considered the equal of these in cunning. He that eats but ae dish seldom needs the doctor.


Here’s to you in water, I wish it were in wine. You drink to your true love and I’ll drink to mine. I I wish ye may hae as muckle Scots as tak' ye to your bed. When drink began to tell, many Scots of old used to address the company in a rigmarole of Latin and other tongues. The above sarcastic wish expressed also a doubt whether the wordy one would have any coherent language at all before morning. I wouldna ken him if I met him in my parritch. If a’ your hums and haws were hams and haggises, the pairish would be weel fed. Said to those who could not make up their minds. If I’m spared. A very common expression among the pious, and thought to be little out of the ordinary. An old lady, surveying a kirkyard of pleasant surroundings, remarked, ‘Eh, I’d like fine to lie there some day, if I’m spared.’ Another, bidding her tea-table friend goodnight, remarked, ‘Weel, Janet, I’ll see ye again next Tuesday, if I’m spared.’ The other replied, although acidly, ‘And if ye’re no, I’ll no expect ye.’ If ye dinna see the bottom, dinna wade. It’s a guid goose but it has an ill gansel. Gansel has two meanings; a honk, or a harsh sauce made with garlic, often used to drown the fishy, smoky flavour of solan geese or gannets which they retained even though hung in the chimney for a time before being cooked. The above proverb when applied to a woman meant she was well-favoured but had either a harsh tongue or was otherwise better avoided. It’s a sair time when the moose looks oot o the meal-kist wi a saut tear in his e'e. When there is not enough meal to feed a mouse. It’s as easy to get siller frae a lawyer as butter frae a black dog’s hause. (throat) It’s a silly hen that canna scrape for ae bird. It’s an auld tout on a new horn. Tell me the old, old story. It’s ill speaking between a fou man and a fasting. It’s lang or ye need cry ‘Schew’ to an egg. There’s no need to worry yet or for a long time. A hen’s egg, even if it hatches, takes three weeks to do so. K Keep your ain fish-guts for your ain sea-maws. (sea gulls Charity begins at home. Keep your breath to cool your parritch. Spoken to those who talked too much and out of their turn.


Kindness is like cress-seed: it grows fast. L Licht suppers mak lang days. The Scots were often forced to make a virtue of necessity. Like the drinkers o’ Sisterpath Mill. These Berwickshire men, inspired by what Dr. Henderson calls ‘determined sociality’ sat down to drink when a hen was set upon a clutch of eggs and did not rise until the chicks were running about the house. Like the Laird of MacFarlane’s geese, they liked their play better than their meat. James VI, at dinner with the MacFarlane chief on an island in Loch Lomond, had noticed the geese chasing one another on the loch; but the bird served for dinner was so tough as to draw forth the above remark from the waggish monarch. Love and raw pease are two ill things, one breaks the heart, the other bursts the belly. M Many men speak o my meikle drink, but few o my sair thirst. Burns sublimates this in: What’s done we partly may compute We ken not what’s resisted. More land is won by the lawyer with the ram-skin than by the Andrea Ferrara with his sheepskin handle. i.e. by parchment deeds than by deeds of war. Muck is the mither o the meal kist. This was in the days before the chemical fertilisers. Muckle to mak a wark aboot, a deid cat in your parritch. [porridge] A sarcastic remark to fuss-pots. N Nae gairdener ever licht-lied his ain leeks. No man speaks ill of what he values most. Ne’er speak ill o them whase breid ye eat. Ne’er tak a stane to brak an egg when ye can dae it wi the back o your knife. To bring a great force against a contemptible obstacle only invites ridicule. S Some hae meat that canna eat, And some wad eat that want it; But we hae meat, and we can eat, For which the Lord be thankit.


The Convenanters’ ‘Grace before Meat’, a favourite with Burns and grown proverbial. ‘Want’ in the second line means ‘lack’, not ‘desire’. Speak weel o the Hielands, but dwell in the Laigh. Those who inhabited the Moray Coast, or Laigh o Moray, were wisely advised neither to invite the hositility nor to seek the hospitality of their turbulent Highland neighbours. Suppers kill mair than doctors cure. But these were the suppers of a gargantuan age. T Tak a piece, your teeth’s langer than your beard. A kindly excuse for giving a child an extra titbit. Tak your ain will o’t as the cat did o the haggis, just ate it and then creepit into the bag. A Parthian shot at those who won’t listen to reason. Thanks winna feed the cat. This is a boorish speech, and is much on a line with the Highlander’s remark when the tourist admired the magnificent scenery. ‘Maybe aye, but ye canna fatten the coos on’t.’ The Scots were not fond of bombastic language, and took some delight in deflating it with such unsentimental remarks. That was langsyne, when geese were swine And turkeys chewed tobacco, And sparrows biggest in auld men’s beards, And mowdies delved potatoes. This was considered a good reply to a scarcely credible statement. (Mowdie mole) The coo that’s first up gets the first o the dew. The gustin bane o Kirkmahoe. There is a long story and a ballad (by Cunningham) about this curious custom in a Dumfriesshire village. The people are said to have been so poor that they could not afford meat for the broth but hired a bone, at a halfpenny for a few dips, to give it a flavour. This is probably a ‘made’ story, libellous. Anyone who wanted to start a riot in Kirkmanhoe chanted this couplet: Wha’ll buy me? Wha’ll buy me? Three plumps and a wallop for a bawbee. The proof o the pudden’s in the preein o’t. The scourging of a nine-gallon tree. Broaching a firkin of ale and drinking it all at a sitting. The wrang side o a bannock to a Menteith. The betrayer of Wallace was his own close friend Graham of Menteith. For centuries this abhorrent crime was kept green by unfailingly serving a Menteith with a bannock wrong side up. But, even as late as the publication of the Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland, and century ago [ie 19th century], though there is a long article on Menteith, including history, no reference is made to this supreme treachery, a conspicuous omission. There was never a caik


But there was a maik But the caik o Tollishill. This rhyme originated in the following way. The farmer’s wife of Tollishill in Lauderdale repaid the Earl of Lauder- dale for the life-long remission of her rental by baking a cake full of new-minted guineas and taking it to him when he was a prisoner in the Tower. There ne’er was a bad, but there micht be a waur. It is hard to say whether this is a comforting thought. There was little meat and muckle mirth At little Bauldy’s wedding. Recorded by Dr. George Henderson. A common remark at Berwickshire weddings when the fare was scant. A similar sarcasm used in the fisher town of Newhaven was, ‘If it’s to be a wedding, let it be a wedding. Bring oot anither herring.’ There’s a piece wad please a Brownie. The Brownie, or domestic fairy drudge, was always left a delicacy at night in the form of a bowl of cream or a bannock buttered or spread with honey. But it was provoking disaster to leave a Brownie anything other than this. There’s as guid cheese in Choicelee As ever was chowed wi chafts And the cheese o Cheshire Is nae mair like the cheese o Choicelee Than chalk’s like cheese. Choicelee is a farm near Duns, Berwickshire. Cromwell’s troops are said to have given Choicelee the above reputation about fifty years before the famous Dunlop cheese was first made in Ayrshire. ‘There’s baith meat and music here,’ quo the dog when he ate the bagpipes. This comical proverb was often repeated by those who were invited to an entertainment and found refreshments as well as musicians. They hae need o a canny cook that hae but ae egg to their denner. This is like the fiddler o Chirnside’s breakfast, A’ pennyworths together. The fiddler sent his small son with sevenpence to give this order: A pennyworth o tea A pennyworth o sugar Three penny loaves A pennyworth o butter And a pennyworth o he-herring For my father likes milts. Times tries a’, as winter tries the kail. The hardy kail, or borecole, was for long the only vegetable in the Lowlands of Scotland. Indeed, in the Highlands they did not relish the refinement of kail, but ate boiled nettles. The point of the proverb is that the kail was unpalatable until after it had suffered frost, which, however, often killed some of it. So with people: if they could survive the trials of life, without being embittered, they were a great asset to humanity and a credit to their kind. Tip when ye like ye shall lamb wi the lave. At a drinking-party this meant that like the parable of the labourers, whenever you started it was ‘equal shares’ at the end. But ewes are under no such compulsion and must lamb after their natural term of gestation, whether in January or June.


To cast a leglingirth. This is a metaphor drawn from the shepherd’s life. The leglingirth was the lowest hoop on a pail, for milking ewes. If it became loose and fell off, the milk ran out. But in a figure of speech it meant having an illicit love affair. W Wattie Ross o the Crawbutt Never took a supper But just a chack o cheese and breid And a lang waught o porter. The substitute for supper was more than adequate, for this Berwickshire man grew in girth until he featured in another rhyme. O Wattie Ross pu up your breeks Nor let your kyte shine through the steeks Your shop-door hangs so low, man. ‘What’s no in the bag will be in the broo,’ as the Hielandman said when he dirked the haggis. [broo – juice] What fizzes in the mou winna fill the wame. Tasty food is not always best, and this principle applies to all attractive things. [mou – mouth, wame – stomach] When the bag’s fu the drone gets up. An analogy between bagpipes and boozing. Y Ye breed o Leddy Mary, when ye’re gude ye’re ower gude. A drunk man prayed to Our Lady to help him mount his horse. After many attempts, preceded by as many petitions, his request was doubly rewarded. He cleared his mount and landed on the other side. Ye canna gaither berries off a whinbush. Don’t go to ill-tempered people for favours. Ye come o the MacTaks, but no o the MacGies. Those clans are found all over the world; the saying means, ‘You’re greedy.’ ‘Ye look like a runner,’ quo the deil [devil] to the lobster. The lobster is the speediest beast in the sea, even though he swims tail first. Ye may tak drink oot a burn when ye canna tak a bite oot o the brae. Many died of starvation in old Scotland, nobody of thirst. Ye ne’er heard a fisher cry stinking fish. Ye ne’er see green cheese but your een reel. Green cheese means cheese newly-made: a great temptation to gourmands. [gourmand here = glutton] Ye run for the spurtle when the pot’s boiling over. the spurtle was a rod for stirring porridge etc. Every nation has a proverb on these lines, the English one being about locking the stable-door after the horse is stolen.


Ye wad kiss ony man’s dirty shune for leave to bake in his oven. Ye was put oot o the oven for nippin the pies. You can’t keep your fingers off other people’s property. Ye winna believe a bannock’s hardened unless ye knock on it wi your nail. Description of a doubting Thomas. ‘Ye’re a liar,’ said the dummy; ‘Sae I see,’ said the blin’ man; ‘Weel, dinna shout sae lood,’ said the deaf man. They were all cheats. In olden times, after bad harvests, great numbers of beggars swarmed over Scotland, and many professed to be physically afflicted. ‘Sorning’, or begging by force, was heavily punished under the later Jameses. In the 18th century beggars were given licences. Ye’re like a hen on a het girdle. You can’t keep still. Ye’re like the coo-couper o Swinton, your thirst’s unquenchable. This cattle salesman’s explanation of his drouth was that at his birth the midwife had given him an over-long drink of salt water. A two-fold reason for giving newborn infants brine was: it brought up the phlegm and drove out the devil. You’ve been eating sourocks instead o lang kail. Sourocks or sorrel is said by Culpeper ‘to cool fevers and to quench thirst and to promote appetite in a decaying stomach’ but here it means ‘you are in a sour mood’. Your breid’s baket, ye may hing up your girdle. You have achieved all you aimed at. Your conscience is like a grey friar’s sleeve. Very accommodating. Your meat will mak you bonny and when you’re bonny you’ll be weel lo’ed and when you’re weel lo’ed you’ll be licht-herted and when you’re licht-herted you’ll loup far. [leap far] This far-fetched argument was recited to encourage children to eat.


Appendix 2 - Glossary Glossary of Words and Terms used in Scottish Food, Drink and Hospitality [Useful when reading Robert Burns and others]

Scots- English

Scots- English

abune—above ae—one; single. agley—wrong; off the line. aik—oak. ain—own. airn—iron. ane—one. bairns—children. banning—cursing. bannock—unleavened cake. bawbee—halfpenny. beckit—curtseyed. beetle—mallet. bield—shelter. bigget—built. birk—birch-tree. birse—shoemaker’s bristle. black-dockit—with a black behind. blate—shy. bodle—small coin. bogles—bogey-men. bouk—bulk; size. brae—hill. branned—served by the boar. breed o—related to. breeks—breeches. broo or bree—broth; gravy brose—soup (broth) daur—dare. daw—untidy woman. daws—dawns. deen—done (Buchan). deils—devisl. delved—dug. ding—push; strike. dozens—settles; fades away. draff—pig-feed. dreich—dry; dull. dub—puddle. dule—sorrow. dummy—dumb person. dunts—blows. een; een—eye; eyes. Embro—Edinburgh. emot—ant. faur—where (Buchan). fain—anxious. farrest—farthest. fashed—bothered. feard—afraid. fettle—condition; health.

brugh—ring of mist. bubbly-jock—turkey-cock bumbee—bumble-bee bummer—hummer. buskit—dressed up; prepared for show. ca—drive. ca’—call. caller—fresh. canny—careful. carl hemp—strong hemp fibre. carle’s win—man’ cropl harvest. chack—large hunk. chafts—jaws. chiel—fellow. clap—hare’s form. clok—beetle. cog—wooden bowl. coo—cow. coo-cooper—cow salesman. coul-cap. corbie—raven. cour—cower. croon o the causey—highest point of roadway. crouse—happy. crowdie—kind of brose. daft—giddy; foolish. gaun—going. gar—to force. gear—possessions. geary—wealthy. gerss—grass. giff-gaff—exchange of goods. girdle—flat iron baking.plate for girning—complaining. Gramacie—magic spell. grace—mercy. grat—wept. greet—weep. grice—young pig. groats—crushed oats. grosset; grossart—gooseberry. grumph—grunt. guid; gude—good gudeman—husband. gudewife—wife. gustin-bane—stock-bone. gule—corn marigold. hag-pen—bog-hole. hanselled—brought a lucky gift.


Scots- English file—dirty. fizzes—froths. flesh-flees—blue-bottles. flichter—fluttering. flittin—removing. fremit—strange. fuff—noise made by blowing out breath. gab—talk; mouth gae—go; gave. gaislin—gostling. gang—go. gansel—honk; harsh sauce. Janaveer—January jaw—rough shower. John Heezlum-Peezlum—Man in the Moon. jouk—dodge. kail—broth; kind of cabbage. kail-blade—cabbage-leaf. kebbuck—cheese. kenna—know not. kep—herd; protect; keep; catch. kirk—church. kirn—churn; fireside concert. kitchen—relish. Laigh (the)—Lowlands. lang kail—unchopped cabbage. lang syne—long ago. lave—remainder. laverock—skylark. lear—learning leglingirth—lowest hoop of milk pail. lichtlied—spoke contemptuously. lichtsome—pleasant. lift—sky. linn—a gorge through which a torrent flows. lintie—linnet. loaning—country lane. loose—louse.

Scots- English harms—brains. haud doon—to bully. hauf—half. hause—throat. herries—robs. het—hot; uncomfortable. houtie-croutie—buttocks. howdie—midwife. hure—harlot. ilka—each. ill—bad. ingleside—fireside. minny—pet name for mother. mirk—dark. mowdies—moles. muffed—gloved; mittened. nay-say—refusal. neb—nose. new-come—newly begun. nicker—neigh. nocht—nothing. oo or woo—wool. or—before; ere. parritch—porridge. Pasch—Easter. peesweep—green plover. piece—slice of bread. pike—pick. preein—tasting; trying. pykin—plucking. quo—said; quoth. raip—rope. ramsking—parchment. rattans—rats. raws—rows of cottages. reuch—rough. riggin—roof-top. riving—tearing. rumple-routine—nonsense word perhaps meaning crossed fingers.

lowp—jump. lug—ear. maik—equal. maun—must. meal-kist—meal-chest. meikle; muckle; mickle—great. mennans—minnows. min—demure; shy.

sab—sob. saipet—soaped. sairer—sorer. sandy-mills—sand-castles. sark—chemise; shirt. saugh—willow. saut—salt.

scartin—scratching. Schew!—Get off with you! schools—shovels. schored—warned. schule—school. sea-maws—seaguls. schauchled—shapeless; broken-down shoon—shoes.

teuch—tough. thack—thatch. thole—bear; endure. tint—lost. tip—take the ram. tocherless—without dowry. tod—fox. toom—empty.


Scots- English sic—such. siller—money; silver simmer—summer. skailed—emptied. soo—sow. sooms—swims. sourocks—common sorrel. soutar—shoemaker. speer—ask. Spunky—Will-o’-Wisp. spurtle—porridge-stick. stang—sting. stark-deid—stone-dead. steekit—shut. stey—steep. stirkie—bullock. stoor—dust. straucht—straight. sturts—startles. tae—one. tane and the tither—one and the other.

Scots- English tout (pun)—sound of a horn or trow—believe. vreet (Buchan)—writing. wae—sad; sorrow. wame—belly; stomach. wark—fuss; trouble. waught—long drink. waukrife—unable to sleep. waur—worse. whangs—slices. whin—gorse; furze. widdie—gallows. wispit—wiped with hay. woo or oo—wool. wrocht—brought about; worked. wyce—wise, sensible. yerk—jerk; stitch sharply. yett—gate.


Chapter 7 THE SCOTTISH SELF-IDENTITY Uses of the Research Inevitably one returns to the assertions made at the beginning of the book to see if the main ones are upheld. There can be little doubt about the distinctiveness of the Scottish diet throughout history although various points have been made concerning the influences upon it stemming from outside the nation. The case made within nutritional circles concerning the need to improve today’s Scottish diet has been taken as being accepted. It has been shown to have been in need of improvement during the last four hundred years. The ways in which the research could be used to influence the modern diet include promoting a greater awareness of the good and bad aspects of Scotland’s dietary history. Less attention needs to be given to the blood-and-thunder aspects of even its dietary history and more to promoting interest in the traditional dishes at present saved for tourists. The fastfood carry-out may be able to include on its menu a synthetic haggis wrapped in tartan polythene but that is insufficient. With the often mentioned abundance of Scottish cookery books it is time to promote a much greater use of them in Scotland and by the Scots. Not those whose diet is satisfactory by virtue of their ability and willingness to purchase a variety of foods but those whose dietary horizons are clouded by processed bridies, mutton pie and chips. The ‘Taste of Scotland’ project run by the Scottish Tourist Board in expensive hotels and restaurants in the early 1980s needs to be extended by more ‘traditional’ fare and then injected into the cheaper off-season restaurants, educational catering and the works cafeterias. Those who specialise in social nutrition need to give much more advice to those in the social services on the social uses of Scottish food and drink with a view to developing social education in terms of improving the nation’s health. The Scottish Health Education Group also had an important role to play in this respect. Scotland’s national heritage has come under review from time to time and a somewhat bogus gastronomic heritage has been exposed. The ‘institutions’ of porridge, haggis, and their like may well have come from elsewhere but form a major component of the symbolism equated with Scotland which needs to be changed. In providing an insight into that gastronomic heritage it has been appropriate to enter the rich Scotsman’s Castle and the poor Glaswegian’s garret to establish the nature of the preceding influences upon the modern diet. These include the economic, the political and the cultural factors which shaped the earlier diets and their force has never been underrated.

Goody, Elias and Braudel Goody saw that there was affinity between Elias and Braudel in that “The general development of civilisation” and “the slow adoption of good manners” respectively meant “learning ways of acting that … individualised, privatised and restrained the behaviour first of the upper strata and then more generally.”1 The table was where the individualisation was most obvious. Using Elias rather more than Braudel, we have seen the general civilizing process and related the development of the Scottish table to it. Perhaps because of a more protracted earlier period in Scotland it was appropriate to show that ‘chivalry’ needed to be identified as a precursor to Elias’ courtesy. Still operating on the assertion that Scotland was generally a century behind other European countries and notable England (this probably most evident in reading Warrack’s Goody2 account of the differences in the development of houses from around 1500 to the 1650s3 it is somewhat supported if one considers that while Europe at large was experiencing ‘courtesy’ Scotland was still grappling with ‘chivalry’. It is a pity that Elias did not spend more time reflecting on the lead up to his “courtesy”. Other aspects of a less accelerated progression are witnessed directly at the table. The lack of development of roasting occasioned by an overuse of the boiling pot and sabbatarianism (“Cooking … was kept to a minimum, and in consequence nothing similar to the English Sunday lunch has ever had a chance to develop”) 4 was perhaps one reason for a


less refined Scottish court during the courtesy period. Goody points out that “The carving at the table of a lord … played a very prominent part in the life of princely courts.”5 There were carvers among the “most honourable”6 in other European countries but no similar references have been located relevant to Scotland. Now, if it was that such differences occurred between the standards of courtly eating relative to Scotland and England (it would be simpler to let Scotland’s nearest neighbour represent itself and other European countries) then it is reasonable to suppose that there was a less differentiated cuisine relative to the Scots nobility and the peasants. In other words, the peasant would have been surprised at what his laird ate and astonished at the fare enjoyed by the English lord. This makes the comparisons which Goody suggests more difficult to hold in relation to Scottish cuisine. In his words cuisine means here “a culturally differentiated cuisine – the high and the low”7. Clearly there were high and low cuisines in medieval Scotland but ‘high’ was lower than England and ‘low’ was below poverty level. The other senses of cuisine given by Goody refer to “the products of the kitchen” and the “highly elaborated forms of cooking”8 such as French haute cuisine. We have seen rather more of the social use of the kitchen (girdle especially) products and Chapter Five looked at “specific foods … in their historical context”. It was clear from looking at the Auld Alliance that little haute cuisine rubbed off on to the Scots kitchen table and any French menus in use in Scotland probably came across the Channel and the Borders as opposed to directly. The heritage was linguistic as opposed to gastronomic but the ordinary menu is and was unlikely to feature ragouts even, still less Tournedo Rossini (A round cut of fillet steak served on a circle of friend bread and garnished with foie gras). The menu structure, despite the potential for development a la Francaise, remained static due to a seemingly national desire to cling to tartan food. As a different aristocracy came to shoot deer around the 1850s, so did a gradually increasing number of more mobile tourists come for the scenery as time progressed. With a resurgence of interest in a gastronomic heritage there was no need for a major reclassification of foodstuffs. The prime changes mediated by the social structure included improving the star-rating of one’s farmstead within a much accelerated commercial hospitality. Perhaps for the first time in the turbulent family history, the haim was a key part of a cash-crop economy while everywhere else the Industrial Revolution was having so much greater economic impact. The evolution of Scottish gastronomy has been affected by the Gastrogeographic boundary separating it from other, more temperate climates and a cultural boundary detaching it from the general developments within Europe at large. The ‘boundary paradigm’ extends to economic and political considerations and these have been mediated by the extensive social control evidenced by Campbell when he noted that “The unquestionable leaders of Scottish Society … were the landowners whose social prestige derived from their 9 political power.”

Economy, Land and Control Scotland was ideally placed in the early Middle Ages for economic one-sided development when animal skins, salmon etc., were valued as exchangeable commodities. The one-sided economic relationship with France was part of the lack of progress in that quarter when Scotland should have been working with as opposed to against England. But if there was conflict abroad there was potential for more at home. The landlords controlled the food supply by maintaining the feudal system for as long as possible, longer than elsewhere in Europe. The products of the land accrued directly to them through a stranglehold over the mobility of labour at a time and for centuries when seven of every eight workers were tied to the land at various levels of the agricultural labour force. By controlling the quantity of money in the cot-toun and restricting capital availability to the tacksmen the main remuneration after accommodation was a carefully controlled truck payment of food which the work force had produced by its own hands. With only a little leeway to produce a few extra vegetables the control over the staple of oatmeal, and later, potatoes was all that was needed to ‘convince’ the work-force that it needed no cash for unnecessary items such as spices or other exotic goods. Any surplus energy available for rebellion against such a regimen was easily deflected towards central Scottish, and later, English government.


With occasional peaks in the graph of general agricultural improvements occasioned perhaps by chance findings that turnips alleviated the need to kill all but the best cattle in autumn and that sheep did not need to be wintered inside, the general rate of progress was often behind England until communication and travel improved and the Industrial Revolution spread to the main areas of inhabited Scotland. The rather slow level of improvement in the diet, if not the overall standard of living in Scotland was dependent upon the factors stemming mainly from outside Scotland rather than from within it. Prominent amongst those factors is commercialism as opposed to domestic economic policy and Scotland seems to have moved from a poverty to a fast-food diet without the probably necessary stages of becoming sufficiently agriculturally productive to maintain itself and still have a large enough surplus to help improve its international trading position. If any one factor needs to be singled out, the economic misfortune of Scotland must carry the blame for the overall dietary deficit of the nation through history. France has been identified with that misfortune in terms of a one-sided economic relationship. Other aspects include Scotland’s own policy on trade with England as much as the vice versa, and its internal control of the food supply. Not least of those with overall control of the availability of food to the occupants of the but-and-ben was the landed gentry which, as “a closed, cohesive 10 and enduring group” amounted to being the bourgeoisie. Its control inevitably diminished “because the complexity and differentiation” of the developing society made it “difficult for any single group to wield power alone”. But the scars of that control are as plain as the old runrig channels from an aircraft.

The Scottish Self-Identity One line of thought which has had only brief attention can be appraised at this final stage. If it has been put forward that Scotland has accepted a second-rate diet what relationship prevails between such a diet and the idea that “man is what he eats?”11 (Similar ideas have been proposed by Brillat-Savarin12; Frazer13; Wimberly14; and Dichter15). Feuerbach’s approach, however, was in terms of the political subjugation of the German population in the early nineteenth century – a time which is important to our own study. “A man who enjoys only a vegetable diet is only a vegetating being, is incapable of action”.16 The lack of fresh vegetables in the Scottish diet today and yesterday should not be allowed to detract from the point. While Cherno17 dismisses der mensch ist was er isst as “a pun in an essay filled with subtle invective”, we cannot dismiss the fact that despite skirmishes with authority the upshot of events such as the Clearances was acceptance of the “absurdity of the status quo” which Cherno claimed Feuerbach was trying to get people elsewhere to accept. Those who did not accept the Clearances are the forbears of others who patriotically attend Burns’ Night Dinners in various parts of the world today. Accepting that Hampson18 suggests that this phrase “is a dictum which would flatter few of us as individuals” the Scottish socio-genesisa has always included a poverty diet during the period studied. The Feuerbachian assertion becomes ‘a nation is what it ate’ on the same sort of logic behind and “Human beings have an appetite for the sort of foods that symbolise the type of person they want to be”19. Although the study has identified ‘tartan food’ as symbolising the type of people the Scots want others to see them as being – perhaps manly and hospitable, it has been shown that it forms an insufficient diet on its own and ‘conventional foods’ obviously need to be eaten today. The ‘better’ foods which have not been included in the ‘tartan food’ category which are obviously acceptable to the tourist are not part of every Scot’s diet today for an important reason identified by Tannahill20. “… it is a sad comment upon a changing world that where, once they could not afford imported foods like rice and spices … now they cannot afford home-produced foods – the salmon, venison, lobster, kippers and Aberdeen Angus beef that are the pride of Scotland and the rest of the world.” We have had a little history, a little politics, a soupçon of philosophy, but the economic issues seem to have ridden in tandem with social control on the rear seat. — 0 —


“I was gann to write a lang pystle, but Gude forgie me, I gat mysell saw noutouriously bitchify’d the day after dail-time that I can hardly stoiter but and ben.” Here we have Burns and in “Only one surviving letter do we find him writing as he spoke.”21 The present study was going to be a long epistle and its writer will remain ‘notoriously bitchified’ for a long time on the abundance of material which was not consumed in this bite. However, it would be almost expected to end with Burns, albeit writing as he spoke. More appropriate is the affinity between the many passing clouds of ill-dieted men we have seen here and MacDiarmid’s22 ‘man himself’ …. “Man himself, aside from historic aggregations, is only The shadow of a passing cloud, his very existence hardly more than an illusion. His thought resembles the ray of a fountain; it rises, sparkles, Reaches a certain height and falls, and begins the process again. - Would it were even beginning again in Scotland today?”



CHAPTER ONE - INTRODUCTION 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52

Literary Life and Miscellanies, 1834, I, 152 1966 1858 1973 11 1973 1976 1968 1951: 24, 25 1982: 15 personal communication 1981: 129, 130 loc cit 1982: 3 1981: 322 1980:38 op cit: 39 Innes, 1860: vi Trans 1978 1967, trans. 1973 1929: 1969 1980 1949 1982 1976 1899 1920 1931 1930 1982 1892; 1920; 1921 1916 1890 860 1975 1983 1949 1949 1891 1838 1892; 1920; 1921 1940 1955 1920 1838 1942 Vol II of The Civilizing Process 1981 1965; 1971; 1976; 1981 Cheape and Sprott 1980 1796 – 1831 9



53 54 55 Op cit 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65

See ‘The Literature’ Senderens, 1977 Brillat-Savarin 1825 1978: 33 1982: 191 1982: 22 loc cit 1965; 1970 Murcott, 1938 1979 Burgess and Dean, 1959: 63 Dennis-Jones, 1971




Goody, 1982: 3


Campbell, 1965: ix


Trevelyan, 1942: vii

70 71

Prebble, 1963: 1974 c.f. Yellowlees, 1979, who gives a Scots G.P.’s viewpoint

CHAPTER 2 – FOOD AND SOCIETY 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

1966: trans. 1973: 303 Bates, 1958: 456 Goody, 1982: 208 Braudel, 1973: 32 1980: 15 1980: 121 1973: 443 1939; trans. 1978: 3 1978: xiii White, 1949: 167 1948: 13 Elias: 106 Henisch, 1976: 152 Elias, 1978: 57 11 White, 1949: 159 Lasalle quoted by Elias 53 Ross, 1929; 1969: 249 1911 55 104 103 1980: 7 Elias, xiii Elias: 107 Braudel, 1973: 138


28 Henish, 1976: 160; Hampson, 1944: 16; Clair, 1964: 172; Braudel, 1973: 138 Davies, 1977: 23 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71

Braudel, op cit : 138 Davies: 23: Hunt, 1961: 220, 221; Clair: 181; Hampson: 26 Clair: 171; Curtis-Bennett, 1949: 39 Graham, 1899: 14 Feret, 1979: 3 cf. Maclean’s Much Entertaining Eliot: 1948 1973: 2005 Stephens: 1982 Hugh MacDiarmid 1982: 95 1892: 36, 37 1916: 58 Mackie: 62 Leslie, 1597, Book 1: 89 Additions in brackets are from footnotes and interpretations Op cit: 69 Lamb, 1977: 437 Hechter, 1975: 112 Barrow, 1981: 322 Mackenzie, 1890: 58 Lowenberg, et al; 1968: 53 Innes, 1860s: 315, 316 Warrack, 1920: 22 240 241 243 Described on p 245 as table napkins Grant, 1931: 98 99 Warrack, 1920: 13, 14 Grant, op cit: 99, 100 Clair, 176 Warrack, 1920: 15 Op cit: 100 Warrack, 1920 15 Warrack: 16 18 The sixteenth century 126 Grant, 1930: 202, 203 MacKinnon, 1921: 29 Graham, 1899: 103 where he quotes Kames’s Sketches of Man, 1807, I,507: a Scots pint was two quarts English MacKinnon, 1921: 31, 32


Braudel, 1973: 40 1977: 141 Driver, 1983: 169 Salaman, 1949: 600


5 6 7 8 9 10 13 14 15 16 19 20 21 23 24 27 28 29

50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59

op cit 600 Curtis-Bennet, 1949: 109 Elias Burke, 1980: 60 Weineberg, 1972: 63 Bates, 1958: 454 11 1962: 129 12 in Chapter 6 of this book Bischoff, 1976: 91, 92 Ayer, 1964: s 7, 8 1952: 59 Thompson, 1891: 5 17 MacNish, 1838: 33 18 Section 6.2 in Chapter 6 1838: 223 R. Chambers, 1858: Vol II, 4: citing Kennedy’s Annals of Aberdeen, 1: 176 22 MacKinnon, 1921: 263 24 Geo II, c.40 25 and 26 Vict., c. 28 25 30 and 31 Vict., c. 142 26 11 and 12 Geo.V, c. 42 Paragraph 1 of the Report – Select Committee of the House of Commons on Prevailing Vice of Drunkeness; UK Paragraph 2 of the Report Paragraph 21 of the Report 30 Paragraph 26 31 Paragraph 27 32 Paragraphs 28, 29 33 Paragraphs 27, 31 34 Paragraph 32 35 Paragraph 33 36 Paragraphs 34, 35 37 Paragraph 37 38 Paragraph 40 39 Paragraph 42 40 Paragraph 39 41 Paragraph 41 42 Paragraph 43 43 Paragraph 44 44 Paragraph 38 45 Paragraph 46 46 Paragraph 47 47 Wilson, 1940: 118 48 16 and 17 Vict., c. 67 49 loc cit Another intention of the Act was to control the excessive drinking of the ‘labouring classes’ It was formed in 1879 1897 Wilson, 1940: 112, 113 Licensed Trade News, November 26, 1904; quoted in Wilson, 1940: 184 Brillat Savarin: The Physiologie of Taste, 1826 (written in French) Andre Simon – The Art of Good Living” 1929, 1951, M Joseph George Monbiot: Bring on the Apocalypse: six arguments for global justice, Atlantic Books, 2008 3 1939, (translation 1978) 1976: 11


60 61 62

63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93

Davies, 1977 Raglan, 1964: 49 “The potlach is a festival or ceremony practiced [sic] among indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest. The main purpose of the potlach is the redistribution and reciprocity of wealth. … The hosts demonstrate the wealth … through giving away goods.” It is still practised today within an overriding consideration factor of conspicuous consumption. Goody, 1982: 211 1976: 103, 104 Mauss, 1920; 1969; 63 Veblen, 1899; 1924: 75 1982, 49 McLaren, 1955: 59 1942: 424 Ramsay, 1880: 205 Ramsay, 1880: 205 Stuart, 1952: 10 1972: 26 1970: 172 28 29 McLaren, 1955: 61 Trevelyan, 1942: 424 Grant, 1930: 558 Hughes, 1976 McNeill, 1929; 1979: 99 Loc cit Ross, 1970: 40 Burt, 1754: Vol 1, 135 Ross, 1970: 4 MacKinnon, 1921: 22 1773 Boswell, 1773, Pottle and Bennet (eds), 1936: 50 Boswell, 1773, Pottle and Bennet (eds), 1936: 115 Paton, 1976: 38 Dunlop, 1839: 6 Dunbar, 1955: 123 McNeill, 1955: 73

CHAPTER 4 – THE AGRI-CULTURE OF SCOTLAND 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Fenton, 1981: 6 Tannahill, 1981: 128 1965: 18 Lamb, 1977: 471 Green, 1975: 37 Tames, 1973: 35 1975: 126 Green, 1975: 126 Ladurie, 1972: 134 Lamb, 1977: 454 455 Parry, 1981: 329 Op cit: 320 1981: 16


15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74

Manley, 1957 Op cit: 331, 332 Op cit: 335 Mitchison, 1981a: 117 Parry, 1981: 331 Mossman, 1896: 93–103, 477-483 Smout, 1969: 154 Trevelyan, 1942: 432 Lamb, 1977: 471 Smout, 1969: 148 Ibid: 242 ibid: 304 Gauldie, 1981: 31 Smout, 1969: 270 Gauldie, 1981: 8 Ibid: 172 Parry, 1975: 4 Trevelyan, 1942: 445 R Chambers, 1861: vol III, 137 loc cit R Chambers, 1858: vol II, 226 Op cit: 227 The Political Register, 1802 Grades of farm workers Mackie, 1916: 52 1031-1093 MacKenzie, 1890: 57, 58 1931: 85 Innes, 1860: 134 ibid: 134 ibid: 139 ibid: 140 Grant, 1931: 214, 215 Prebble, 1963; 1974: 21 Campbell, 1965: 18 1936: 238, but see Boswell J. Fenton, 1965; 1975: 1 1976, 122, note 11 Drummond and Wilbraham, 1939: 329 Newby, 1979 1973 Carter, 1976: 108 1981: 85 1980: 59 Salaman, 1949: 349 Op cit: 9 Fullarton and Baird, 1838: 16 Martech, 1964: 14 Prebble, 1963; 1974: 15 Salaman: 349 Fullarton and Baird, op cit: 17 1976 108 Fenton, 1976 Mackie, 1916: 514 ibid: 514 1931: 87 1981: 66 Smout, 1969 Prebble, 1963; 1974: 15 1965 and 1971


75 76


78 79 80

81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99

Kail yard – vegetable garden Boll – “Wheat, pease, beans and rye are sold by the boll of five firlots, each firlot containing 2274,888 cubic inches and twenty two pints, being three Scotch mutchkins or nearly one and one tenth English quart above the Scotch standard. The boll is equal to five firlots three and three quarter pints Scotch standard and equals five bushels the packs two pints and a fraction, English standard.” (Douglas 1798) Firlot – “The Linlithgow firlots are the standard measures in Scotland for all grains. There are two of them; one for wheat, rye, pease, beans, and whit salt; the other barley, oats and malt. The former contains 2197,335 solid inches, and twenty one and a half pints, each pint being 103,404 solid inches. The later contains 3205,524 solid inches and 31 of the same pint. The Winchester bushel being 2150,420 solid inches, is very little less than the Scottish firlot of wheat.” (Douglas, 1798) In furtherance to this information we can add Graham’s comment that “A Scots Kames Sketches of Man, 1807, i. 507. There is every reason to suppose that liquid and solid pints differed then. Fenton’s (1971: 93) information gives a Scotch pint as one and a half English pints. It is generally deemed to have been three. Bere – some give four, others six-rowed barley. Wives of whole hinds and half hinds had to help with harvest, setting limekilns, carting, cleaning and other general duties (Elaborated by Fenton, op cit; Smout, 1969: 299 Ploughmen, farm lads, female servants and maids were generally unmarried and “… lived in or received their food in the farm house.” (Fenton, 1971) He also states that they received 23s if they were “in-servants” and about 11/6d. if they were “halflings” (Fenton, 1965) Shearer – mention by Fenton (1971) but duties not described. Presumed to be sheep shearing and ranking the same as ploughmen. 1933: 104 1969 129 121 1965: 18 to 20 Hechter, 1975: 83 King and Nicholson, 1964: 169 Mackie, 1916: 506 R. Chambers, 1937 Chambers, 1830: 231 Smout 1969: 280 Fenton, 1965 1981: 68 Prebble, 1963; 1974: 21 Salaman, 1949: 379 pace Prebble 1981a: 67 Green, 1975: 36



Grant, 1930: 556


2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56

Personal communication Warrack, 1920: 129 1968: 190 Smout, 1969: 287, 288 Scott-Moncrieff, 1911 1976: XI Tannahill, 1981: 127 1815, Vol 2, s 252 – 3 op cit: 109 Grant, 1930: 556 Edited by Scott-Moncrieff, 1911 Scott-Moncrieff, 1911: ix 1976: xiv Stephens 1982: 9 Stephens, loc cit: Sievwright, 1902: 61 63 Op cit: 65 1979 28 Op cit: 29 MacKinnon, 1921 Ross, 1895: 4 Leslie, 1597: 6 Tannahill, 1981: 127 Henisch, 1976: 99 Grant, 1931: 101 Op cit: 148 Loc cit Fenton, 1971: 88 th th The Rural Economy of East Lothian in the 17 and 18 Century: 21 Mackie, 1916: 514 Graham, 1899: 39, 40 Grant, 1931: 311 Anderson, 1977: 6 Ashley, 1928: 79 Cheape and Sprott, 1980: 26 Loc cit Warrack, 1911, 1982 19 Collins, 1975: 103 Zealand, 1982: one of two typed sheets Dumill W. and Ayrton R: Voyage round Great Britain in 1815: Vol 2: 196 – sample in personal communication from L.Ardern, Hon. Librarian, E.A. Hornel Art Gallery and Library, Kirkudbright 1858, Vol II: 493 c.f. Collins ultra Letheby, 1870: 16, 17 Stephens, 1982: 9 Fenton, 1971: 95 where he quotes R. Hutchinson, Report on the Dietaries of Scotch Agricultural Labourers (In ‘Transactions of the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland’ 1869, II, Series 4: 4) 14 1747 Renner, 1944: 247 1968: 23 1944 The State of the Poor, 1797 Fenton, 1971: 96 1974: 8


57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114

Aymard, 1979 Stephens, 1982: 10 v Oxford Dictionary 2nd edition Boswell, 1971: 540 1911; 1982: 298 loc cit Followers of Rev. John Glas, 1695 to 1773 – 215 These seem to have taken a lot of social stick as to be fifish is to be “rather eccentric, weak in mind, or deranged” – 173 1973: 215 Johnson, Journey to the Western Isles: 36 1949: 349 Boswell, 1774, in edition edited by Pottle and Bennett, 1936: 59: nd entry for 22 August 1773 1929; 1979: 193 Warrack, 1911; 1982: 299 Morgan, 1971: 86 1981: 196 loc cit MacKie, 1916: 502 (Source not given) MacKie, 1916: 513 1956: 28 Curtis-Bennet, 1969: 129 Chambers, 1861: vol III: 485 refering to circa 1740 Clark, 1970: 50 (the Scottish turnip is a swede in England) Marshall, 1973: 52 1949: 129 28 1899: 58 Smollet 513 E. Topham, 1776 Allen, 1968: 202 1933: 18 McNeill, 1929, 1979: 195 Douglas, 1798: 273 268 1949 Salaman: 344 (Hortus Medicus Edinburgensis) 1899, 1969: 172 R. Chambers, 1861: Vol III, 606, 607 1838 Footnote: 14 Text, 14 1956: 29 1971: 90 The Crofting Problem, 1953 47 1933: 214 op cit: 107 1798: 273 Johnson, 1774; 1817: 50 Smout 1969: 270 Wealth of Nations, Book 1, Chapter XI: 68 of an 1884 edition 1891: 29 Levitt and Smout, 1979: 6, 7 1979, viii Aymard, 1979: 23 Campbell 1965: 26 Haldane, 1933: 107


115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175

1980: 12 Tannahill, 1981: 129 Murray: personal communications; Zealand, 1982: 2 Quoting from J. Clelland Annals of Glasgow vol ii: 366 Grant, 1930: 315 Anderson, 1977: 6 McNeill, 1929; 1979: footnote, 34 1981: 122 Bruford, loc cit 1982: 2 1980: 24 Tannahill, 1981: 128 1942: 424 Shand, 1944 Bitting, 1937: 29 Drummond and Wilbraham, 1958: 308 Tannahill, 1981: 127 MacKenzie, 1935: 58 Allen, 1968: 191 Allen, 1976: 143 Braudel, 1973: 128, 129 In MacQueen and Scott, 1966; 1981: 41 Dalyell, 1834: 425 Op cit: 43 James VI of Scotland Letter six written in 1730 and included in the 1818 edition Personal communication 1982: 2 1982: 184 Sievwright, 1902: 63 Levitt and Smout, 1979: 27 1949: 369 op cit: 116, 244 and 348 348 1976 243 139 1880: 95 1933: 203 1974 1921: 26 i.e. Markham, op cit Edwards, 1970: 53 Allen, 1968: 181 1929; 1979: 171, 172 Tannahill, 1981: 123 1911; 1982: 240 Driver, 1983: 107 1933: 111 Warrack, 1911; (1982: 52) Boswell, 1774, Pottle and Bennett (eds), 1936: 293 Letheby, 1870: 237 Loc cit 1981: 128 Guthrie, 1885: 15 Cheape and Sprott, 1980: 51 Robert Burns: A Grace 1929, 1979: 185 1970: 99 McNeill, 1959: 39 Op cit: 44, 45


176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208

R. Chambers, 1858: vol II, 274 Trevelyan, 1942: 444 1959: 70,71 1961: 94 158 c.f. Warrack, 1911; 1982: 267 Harrowven, 1980: 180, 181 1970 1981: 120 1961: 96 1981: 120 Bruford, 1981: 119 McNeill, 1961: 101 Op cit: 106 Grant, 1930: 338 Hechter, 1975: 105 Warren, 1974: 14 1968: 180 Dichter, 1964: 27 Brown, 1981 Hughes, 1976: 270 Warren, 1974: 21 1982: 4 Barrow, 1981: 325 MacKenzie, 1890: 80 Loc cit Murison, 1981: 346 McNeill, 1929; 1979: 319-324 1929 1880: 348, 349 Ed. Lady Castlehill’s Receipt Book, 1712: vi Scott-Moncrief, 1911 Dunbar, 1955: 120

CHAPTER 6 – DRINK IN THE GLASS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

1952: 143 MacKinnon, 1921: 262 MacKie, 1916: 523 Smout, 1969: 57, commenting upon the 1550s; see also Dunlop, 1838, section ? of this study Ross, 1970: 36 1981: 303 The Scotsman, 22 May, 1850 Robin Cockburn: The Gaillard, 1949 Young, 1955: 79 Bonnet, 1979: 173 1968: 43 1958 Coombes, 1967: 82 53 Boswell, Tour of the Hebrides: 1773: Pottle and Bennet (eds), 1936: 170 1885: 4 1970: 27


18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75

Anderson, 1977: 14 Trevelyan, 1942: 437 1982: 72 Harvey, 1899: 355 6 7 8 In the sail-making business – 11 28 27 28 30 62 91 94 95 272 Mackie, 1916 Grant, 1930: 337 1858: vol II, 494 Ross, 1970: 4 Ramsay, 1880: 263, 264 MacKie, 1916: 522 MacPhail, 1956: 202 Op cit: 26 Haldane, 1933 1969; 1980: 10 Daiches, 1969; 1980: 10 Loc cit Daiches, 1981b 1970: 2 cf 1971 edition, vol 23 1969, 1980: 11 loc cit Wilson, 1940: 34 1969: 1980: 39 Haldane, 1933: 194 Ross, 1970: 20 MacKinnon, 1921: 17 Thompson, 1816 Allen, 1968: 187 1951, 24 1981: 303 173 Graham, 1899: 44, where he cites ‘Burts Letters, i, 13, 143 of Gentlemen’s Magazine, 1766 W. Chambers, 1830: 252 25 George II, c 41 1977: 184 cf Haldane, 1933: 32 Stuart, 1952: 1 McLaren, 1951: 60 Trevelyan, 1942: 435 Mackie, 1916: 522 Graham, 1899: 102, 103, where he quotes Chambers’ Traditions of Edinburgh and Wilson’s Memorials of Edinburgh 1921: 22 See also Chambers, 1831, 1; and 1861, Vol III: 575, 576 1910: 12 Cd. 3864



77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95

‘Shadow’, 1858: 14. We note that the pseudonymous use of the word “Shadow” under which title the book was written and the 1976 reprint with an introduction by J.F. McCafferty tells us that “Shadow was a pseudonym for Alexander Brown who was a letterpress printer in business in Glasgow at 108 Argyle Street.” ( 12 of the Introduction) R. Chambers, 1861, Vol III: 573 Haldane, 1933: 431839: 28 1839: 28 1875: 49 See also J. Dunlop – ? Noble, 1981: 242 Scott-Moncrieff, 1911: xlvi Harvey, 1899: 380 1955: 90 1880: 20 1970: 65 op cit: 64 Ramsay op cit: 110 Smout, 1969: 289 Guthrie, 1885: 35, 36 op cit 19 Ramsay, op cit: 274 1899; 1969: 53 loc cit


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

Goody, 1982: 143 1920 cf Innes 1860: 315, 316 quoted in (?) Allen, 1968: 189 1982: 138 citing Elias, 1978: 119 1982: vii 1982: vii Campbell, 1965: 4 Bottomore, 1965: 28 Feuerbach, 1850, reprinted in Grun, 1874 1825; 1970: 13 1890: s 148-150 1928: 72-82 1964: 8 Feuerbach, op cit: 90 1963: 402 1944: 8 Dichter, op cit: 16, 17 1981: 130 Daiches, 1982: 62 Stony Limits . . . .


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Fontana / Collins







Brillat-Savarin J A

Physiologie du Gout (first published in 1825) (Trans A Drayton) Seasonal Festivities and Customs (in) Daiches (ed) 1981 (qv)



Edward Arnold


Malnutrition and Food Habits report of an International and Interprofessional Conference Perspectives on Gift Exchange and Hospitable Behaviour



International Journal of Hospitality Management Vol: 1 No 1, pages 49-57


Burke P (ed)

Economy and Society in Early Modern Europe: Essays from Annales

Routledge and Kegan Paul


Burke P

Sociology and History

George Allen and Unwin London Boston and Sydney


Burnett J

Plenty and Want: A Social History of Diet in England from 1815 to the Present Day Letters from a Gentleman in the North of Scotland (New Edition, 2 Vols) Crafting (in) Daiches D (ed) 1981. (qv)

Nelson, London




Edward Arnold


‘Kailyard’ (in) Daiches D (ed) 1981a (qv) Scotland Since 1707: The Rise of an Industrial Society

Edward Arnold


Basil Blackwell


Class and Culture among Farm Servants in the North-East, 1840-1914 (in) A A MacLaren (ed) Social Class in Scotland Past and Present Scottish Jests and Anecdotes

John Donald, Edinburgh


W & R Chambers London and Edinburgh


W & R Chambers Edinburgh and London


W & R Chambers Edinburgh and London


W & R Chambers London and Edinburgh


Smith, Elder & Co


Bruford A J Burgess A Dean R F A (eds) Burgess J

Burt E Caird J B Campbell I Campbell R H Carter I

Chambers R Chambers R

Chambers R Chambers R (ed)

Chambers T K

Domestic Annals of Scotland from the Reformation to the Revolution: Vol II to the Revolution: Vol II Domestic Annals of Scotland from the Revolution to the Rebellion of 1745: Vol III The Book of Days: a Miscellany of popular Antiquities in connection with the Calendar including Anecdote, Biography and History, Curiosities of Literature and Oddities of Human Life and Character (in two volumes) A Manual of Diet in Health and Disease






Chambers W

The Book of Scotland

Buchanan, Hunter: Edinburgh Longman, Rees, Orme Brown and Green, London


Cheape H Sprott G

Angus Country Life

The National Trust for Scotland


Cherno M

Feuerbach’s “Man is what he eats” A Rectification

Journal of the History of Ideas: Vol XXXIV No 3, 1963: Year Book pp397 to 406


Clair C

Kitchen and Table

Abelard - Schuman


Clark C

Starvation or Plenty

Secker and Warburg


Clarke J Critcher C Johnson R

Working Class Culture: Studies in History

Hutchinson of London in Association with the Centre for Contemporary Studies University of Birmingham


Collins E J T

Dietary Change and Cereal Consumption in the Nineteenth Century

Agricultural History Review Vol 23


Coombes R

The Psychology Behind Menus (in) Getting the Most out of Food (3rd in a series) The Food of the People: being the History of Industrial Feeding

Van den Bergh


Faber and Faber


Curtis-Bennet N Daiches D

Scotch Whisky: its Past and Present

Fontana / Collins

1969 & 1980

Daiches D

A Companion to Scottish Culture

Edward Arnold


Daiches D

Whisky (in) Daiches D (ed) 1981a (qv)

Edward Arnold


Daiches D

Literature and Gentility in Scotland

University of Edinburgh Press


Dalyell J G

The Darker Superstitions of Scotland

Blackie and Son, London and Glasgow


Davies S

Food Through the Ages: Recipes and Eating Habits from Ancient Times to the Days of Rationing Zones of Cuisine

Readers Digest Association


Travel Guide


Dichter E D

Handbook of Consumer Motivations: The Psychology of the World of Objects



Donaldson G

Scottish Historical Documents

Scottish Academic Press Edinburgh and London


Douglas R

General Review of the Agriculture of the Counties of Roxburgh and Selkirk

Richard Phillips, London


Driver C

The British at Table - 1940-1980

Chatto and Windus


Drummond J C Wilbraham A

The Englishman’s Food: Five Centuries of English Diet (revised edition)

Jonathan Cape


Dennis-Jones H






Dunbar J T

Hunting the Tartan (in) The Scottish Companion (ed) R Spence

Richard Paterson, Edinburgh


Dundes A

Everyman his Way: readings in Cultural Anthropology

Prentice-Hall, New Jersey


Dunlop J

The Philosophy of Artificial and Compulsory Drinking Usage in Great Britain and Ireland Hogmanay and Tiffany: the Names of Feasts and Fasts

Houlston and Stoneman


Geoffrey Bles, London


The Civilising Process: The History of Manners (Originally published as Uber den process der Zivilisationin 1939 by Hans Zum Falken, Basel). Trans E. Jephcott The Civilizing Process: State Formation and Civilization (originally published in 1939 as Vol 2 per detail above

Basil Blackwell, Oxford


Eliot T S

Notes Towards the Definition of Culture

Faber and Faber, London


Fenton A

The Rural Economy of East Lothian in the 17th and 18th Century

Scottish Country Life Museums Trust, Edinburgh


Fenton A

The Place of Oatmeal in the Diet of Scottish Farm Servants in the 18th and 19th Centuries

In Studia Ethnographica et Folkloristica: pages 87-101


Fenton A

Farm Servants in the 17th - 19th Centuries

(Scottish Agriculture: Autumn 1965, reprinted by Scottish Country Life Museums Trust, Edinburgh)


Fenton A

Scottish Country Life

John Donald, Edinburgh


Fenton A

Agriculture (in) Daiches D (ed) 1981 (qv) Gastronomical and Culinary Literature: A Survey and Analysis of Historical Collections in the USA

Edward Arnold


Scarecrow Press Inc; Metuchen, New Jersey and London


Feuerbach L

Jakob Moleschott Lehre der Nahrungsmittel

In Blatter Fur Litterarische no 268: Nov 8 1850 reprinted in Grun (qv)


Fleming M

The Real Humour of Scotland (in) The Scottish Companion (ed) R Spence

Richard Paterson, Edinburgh


Forster K Ranum O

Food and Drink in History: selections from the Annales: Vol 5

John Hopkins University Press Baltimore and London


Foucalt M

Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (Translated from the French by A Sheriden) The Climate of Agricultural Areas in Scotland

Allen Lane


Meteorological Office (Edinburgh)


Edwards G Elias N

Elias N

Feret B L

Francis P E

Basil Blackwell






Frazer W Sir

The Golden Bough (Vol II)

Macmillan, London


Fullarton A Baird C R

Remarks on the evils at present affecting the Highlands and Islands of Scotland; with some suggestions as to their remedies Annals of the Parish: or the Chronicle of Dalmailing during the Ministry of The Rev. Micah Balwhidder (written in 1821: J Kinslie ed) The Scottish Country Miller 1700-1900: a History of Water-powered Meal Millling in Scotland Review of Goody J “Cooking, Cuisine and Class: a Study in Comparative Sociology� Cooking, Cuisine and Class: a Study in Comparative Sociology

William Collins, Glasgow


Oxford University Press London, New York, Toronto


John Donald, Edinburgh


London Review of Books Vol: 4: no 16, 215 Sept Cambridge University Press


The Social Life of Scotland in the 18th Century (4th edit) Every-Day Life on an Old Highland Farm 1769 - 1782 The Social and Economic Development of Scotland and before 1603

A and C Black, London 1st published 1899


Longmans, Green and Co etc


Oliver and Boyd Edinburgh and London


Grant I F

Everyday Life in Scotland

George Allen and Unwin


Green D

The Politics of Food

Gordon Cremonesi


Grivetti L E Pangborn R M

Food Habit Research: A Review of Approaches and Methods

Journal of Nutrition Education Vol: 5 No 3 July / September


Grun K

Ludwig Feuerbach in seinem Briefwechsel und Nachians, sowie in seiner philosophischen charakterentwicklung Old Scottish Customs - Local and General (1885, sections reprinted in 1980)



Hamilton Adams and Co, London Morison (sic), Glasgow


Haldane E S

The Scotland of our Fathers: a study of Scottish Life in the Nineteenth Century

Alexander Macclehose London


Hampson J

The English at Table

William Collins of London


Harrison A F


New Horizon


Harrowven J

Origins of Festivals and Feasts

Kay and Ward, London


Harvey W

Scottish Life and Character: In Anecdote and Story Internal Colonialism: the Celtic Fringe in British National Development 1536 1966 The Need for Research

Eaneas Mackay, Stirling


Routledge, Kegan and Paul. London


Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management Association


Galt J

Gauldie E Gellner E Goody J Graham H.G Grant I F Grant I F

Guthrie E J

Hechter M Hegarty J







Journal: April

Henderson H

Pubs (in) Daiches, D (ed) 1981a (qv)

Edward Arnold


Henisch B A

Fast and Feast: Food in Medieval Society

Pennsylvania State University


Herbert T W (Jr)

Marquesan Encounters: Melville and the Meaning of Civilisation

Harvard University Press Cambridge, Mass, and London


Hood D M (ed)

Melrose, 1826

Melrose Historical Association


Hughes M L

Regional Food Preferences


Hunt P (comp by)

Eating and Drinking

PhD Thesis University of Surrey S U Ebury Press


Innes C

Scotland in the Middle Ages: Sketches of Early Scotch History and Social Progress

Edmonston and Douglas


James E O

Seasonal Feasts and Festivals

Thames and Hudson, London


Johnson S

A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland - with Remarks by the Rev. Donald McNicol of Lismore, Argyleshire

Stanhope Press, Glasgow (First published in 1774)


King J Nicholson I A

Grasslands of the Forest and Sub Alpine Zones (in) J.H. Burnett (ed) The Vegetation of Scotland History and Climate (in) E. Burke (ed) Economy and Society in Early Modern Europe Climate: Present, Past and Future (Vol 2: Climatic History and the Future)

Oliver and Boyd


Routledge and Kegan Paul


Methuen, London and New York


Larsen E

Food: Past, Present and Future

Frank Muller


Leslie J

The Historie of Scotland: Wrytten First in Latin by the most Reuerend and Worthy Jhone Leslie and Translated in Scottish by Father James Dalrymple 1596 On Food, its Varieties, Chemical Composition ‌ Preparation ‌ Adulteration and Co., being the substance of four Cantor Lectures, 1868 From Honey to Ashes: Introduction to a Science of Mythology: 2 (1966) (translated from the French by John and Doreen Weightman) The State of the Scottish Working Class in 1843. A Statistical and Spatial enquiry based

Wlm. Blackwood, Edinburgh and Scottish Text Society

1597 1888

Society of the Encouragement of the Arts, London


Jonathan Cape, London

1966 1973

Scottish Academic Press Edinburgh


Ladurie E LeRoy Lamb H H

Letheby H


Levitt I Smout C






Moray Press


John Wiley, New York London, Sydney, Toronto


on the data from the Poor Law Commission of 1844 Lochhead M

Lowenberg M E Todhunter E Wilson E D Savage J R Lubawski J L

The Scots Household in the Eighteenth Century: A Century of Scottish Domestic and Social Life Food and Man (second edition)

Mabey D (in assoc with Mabey R)

In Search of Food: Traditional Eating and Drinking in Britain

MacDonald and Jane’s London


MacKenzie D A

Scottish Folk-lore and Folk Life: Studies in Race, Culture and Tradition

Blackie and Son London and Glasgow


MacKenzie J

The History of Scotland


Mackie R L

Scotland: An account of her triumphs and Defeats, her manners, institutions and achievements in Art and Literature from earliest times to the death of Scott

T. Nelson, London, Edinburgh and New York George G Harrap and Co


MacKinnon J

Culture in Early Scotland

Williams and Norgate


MacKinnon J

The Social and Industrial History of Scotland from the Earliest Times to the Union The Social and Industrial History of Scotland: from the Union to the Present Time Much Entertainment: A Visual and Culinary Record of Johnson’s and Boswell’s Tour of Scotland in 1773

Blackie, Glasgow and Bombay 1980


Longmans, Green and Co. London and New York J M Dent


MacNish R

The Anatomy of Drunkenness

W R McPhun, Glasgow


MacPhail I M M

A History of Scotland for Schools: Book II - from 1702 to the Present Day The Oxford Book of Scottish Verse

Edward Arnold


Oxford University Press (first published in 1966)


Manley G

Climatic Fluctuations and Fuel Requirements

Scottish Geographical Magazine Vol 73, 1) Pages 19-28


Marshall R K

The Days of Duchess Anne: Life in the Household of the Duchess of Hamilton 1656 - 1716 Highland Opportunity: a Report (for Scottish Vigilantes Assoc.)

St. Martins Press New York


Scottish Vigilantes Association


Description of the Western Isles of Scotland

Glasgow (first published in 1703)


MacKinnon J MacLean V

MacQueen J Scott T

Martech Ltd Martin M







Mauss M

The Gift: Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies (translated by I Cunnison) The Scots

Cohen and West


Pelican, Harmondsworth


McLAren M

Scottish Hospitality (in) The Scottish Companion (ed) R Spence

Richard Paterson Edinburgh


McNeill F M

Recipes from Scotland

Albyn Press


McNeill F M

An Orkney Childhood (in) The Scottish Companion: R. Spence (ed)

Richard Paterson Edinburgh


McNeill F M

The Silver Bough: A Four Volume Study of the National and Local Festivals of Scotland. vol 1: Scottish Folk-lore and Folk Belief The Silver Bough: A Four Volume Study of the National and Local Festivals of Scotland. vol II: A Calendar of Scottish National Festivals: Candlemas to Harvest Home The Silver Bough: A Four Volume Study of the National and Local Festivals of Scotland. vol III: A Calendar of Scottish National Festivals: Halloween to Yule The Scots Kitchen: its lore and recipes. (written in 1929)

William MacLellan Glasgow


William MacLellan Glasgow


William MacLellan Glasgow


Granada, Herts


McLaren M

McNeil F M

McNeill F M

McNeill F M McNeill F M

The Scots Cellar (1956)

Granada, Herts


Medlik S

Profile of the Hotel and Catering Industry Lower Class Culture: a Generating Milieu of Gang Delinquency

Heineman, London


Journal of Social Issues Vol 14, pages 5 - 19


The Clearances (in) Daiches D (ed) 1981a (qv) Famine (in) Daiches D (ed) 1981a (qv)

Edward Arnold


Edward Arnold


Morgan E G

Scottish Literature (in) Vol 20: Encyclopedia Britannica

William Benson Chicago, London etc


Mossman R C

The Meteorology of Edinburgh

Transactions of Royal Society: Edinburgh: vol I


Murcott A (ed)

The Sociology of Food and Eating



Murison D

Edward Arnold


Newby H

The Scottish Language (in) D Daiches 1981a (qv) The Deferential Worker



Noble M

Marriage (in) Daiches D (ed) 1981a (qv)

Edward Arnold


Parry M L

Secular Climatic Change and Marginal Agriculture


Parry M L

Climatic Change and the Agricultural Frontier: A Research Strategy (in) Wigley T H; Ingram H J;

Transactions of the British Institute of Geographers Vol 64 pages 1 - 13 Cambridge University Press

Miller W Mitchison R Mitchison R







Falmer G; (eds) Climatic and History Studies in Past Climates and their Impact on Man. Paton D C

Drink and the Temperance Movement in Nineteenth Century Scotland

Ph D Thesis University of Edinburgh


Paton D C

Prohibition (in) Daiches D (ed) 1981a (qv) Alcohol, Culture and Society

Edward Arnold


Duke University Press North Carolina


Prebble J

The Highland Clearances (first published in 1963)

Penguin Books in association with Secker and Warburg


Raglan Lord

The Temple and the House

Routledge and Kegan Paul


Ramsay E B

Scottish Life and Character (26th Edtn) undated but references indicate that it was published around 1880

Gail and Ingles (undated)


Renner H D

The Origin of Food Habits

Faber and Faber


Rose M (ed)

Human Behaviour and Social Processes: An Interactionist Approach

Routledge and Kegan Paul, London


Ross A

Scottish Home Industries

Molindar Press, Glasgow reprinted 1974


Ross E A

Social Control: A Survey of the Foundations of Order (first published in 1929)

Case Western Reserve University Press, Cleveland and London


Ross J


Routledge and Kegan Paul


Salaman R N

The History and Social Influence of the Potato

Cambridge University Press


Samuelson J

The History of Drink: a review, Social, Scientific and Political

Trubner, London


Scottish Tourist Board

A Taste of Scotland: Local and Scottish Dishes

Scottish Tourist Board


Scott-Moncrieff R (ed)

Lady Grisell Baillie: Household Account Book 1692 - 1733

Scottish History Society


‘Shadow’ (Pseudonym)

Glasgow, 1858: Shadow’s Midnight Scenes and Social Photographs (introduction by J F McCafferty) A Book of Food

Thomas Murray and Son Glasgow reprinted by Glasgow University Press Longman Green


Social Indicators and Social Policy (in) Rose, A M: Human Behaviour and Social Processes: An Interactionist Approach We must revitalise Gastronomy

Routledge and Kegan Paul


Caterer and HotelKeeper 17 Feb


Patrick C H

Shand P M Shibutani T

Senderens A

1976 1944






Sievwright W

Brechin in Olden and Modern Times (i.e. 1830) Statistical Account of Scotland Drawn up from the Communications of Ministers of the Different Parishes (21 vols) (variously quoted by contributor as referenced in the text and not separately referenced here) Analysis of the Statistical Account of Scotland

Edwards, Brechin





1796 1831

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (with an Introductory Essay and Notes by J S Nicholson) Two Highland Inns

T Nelson, London Edinburgh, New York


Scottish Historical Review. October


William Collins


McCarrison Society (also from MS of unpublished book)


Stuart M W

A History of the Scottish People 1560 1830 A Better Diet for Scotland (a paper presented at the McCarrison Society Conference “Scotland’s Food - for Sickness or for Health?” Saturday 23rd October 1982. University of Edinburgh. Old Edinburgh Taverns

Robert Hale, London


Sutherland W

Social Questions in Scotland

Archibald Sinclair, Glasgow


Tames R

Our Daily Bread: Food and Standards of Living, The Fourteenth Century to the Present Day Food and Feeding





Whisky (in) Encyclopaedia Britannica (4th Edition) Food (in) D Daiches (ed) 1981a (qv)



Edward Arnold


Trevelyan G M

English Social History: Chaucer to Queen Victoria

Longman, Green and Co. London (third Impression 1945)


Valentine C A

Culture and Poverty: Critique and Counter Proposals

University of Chicago Press


Veblen T

George Allen and Unwin, London


Warrack A

The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions (first published in 1899) Chamber Scots Dictionary

W R Chambers Edinburgh

1911 1982

Warrack J

Domestic Life in Scotland 1488 - 1688

Methuen, London


Warren J

A Feast of Scotland

Hodder and Stoughton


Weinberg G

The Wine and the Will: Rabelais’ Bacchic Christianity

Wayne State University


Wentworth J A (ed)

Janie Ellice’s Recipes 1846 - 1859

McDonald James


Sinclair Sir J

Sinclair J Smith A

Smith A Smout T C Stephens M

Thompson H (Sir) Thompson T Tannahill R






Westwood P J

The Deltiology of Robert Burns

Creedon Publications


White L A

The Science of Culture

Farrar, Strauss and Co


Whyte H (ed)

Lady Castlehill’s Receipt Book: a selection of 18th Century Scottish Fare

Molendar Press, Glasgow


Wilson C A

Food and Drink in Britain: from the Stone Age to Recent Times

Constable, London


Wilson D

Alcohol and the Nation (A contribution to the Study of the Liquor Problem in the United Kingdom from 1800 to 1935

Nicholson and Watson London


Wimberly L C

Folklore in the English and Scottish Ballads (republished in 1959)

Frederick Ungar New York


Yellowlees W N

Ill Fares the Land (James MacKenzie Lecture, 1978)

Journal of Royal College of General Practitioners Vol 29 pages 7 - 21


Young D

The Scottish Student Today (in) The Scottish Companion (ed) R SPence

Richard Paterson Edinburgh


Zealand G W

Evidence for Food and Drink Consumption in Montrose from Burgh Court Civil Claims for petty Debts 1707 - 1820

Personal research



Index Index - To follow


Haggis and Other Stories  

A History of Scottish Food and Hospitality