So here I am on a typically damp and dismal Scottish Saturday morning, with a pot of leek and tattie soup simmering away.
I’ve always loved cooking, but since moving back to the North of Scotland from the South of England four months ago I’ve been finding myself drawn back to the practical and economical dishes of my youth, traditional tastes of the past all suddenly clamouring for attention again in the creative culinary section of my middle-aged memory banks.
Mind you, living with my parents for the first ten weeks we were back in Scotland meant inevitably cooking only the sort of meals my dad can eat – he’s 83, with mobility issues after four strokes and memory issues with ongoing vascular demetia, so keeping to an easily-recognisable-to-him menu is an important part of his ongoing care. And at least he still has a good appetite and enjoys his food!
So I cooked (and we ate) a lot of soup – lentil, leek and tattie, Scotch broth – and variations on a theme of mince and tatties or stew and tatties, and stovies, often with fruit crumbles and custard or bread and butter pudding for afters – yum! And now we’re here in our own house, with a big enough kitchen to cook in comfortably, I’m continuing in the same vein a lot of the time, sticking to the heart-warming farmhouse cooking I grew up with.
It makes me smile to be hearing my paternal grandmother’s satisfied voice so loud and clear in my head ‘Aye, that’s fine soup – gings roon yer hert like a hairy wurrum’ (Goes round your heart like a hairy worm). She was a typical North-East-Coast farmer’s wife, and much of my knowledge of traditional cooking and baking has come from spending quality time with her as I was growing up.
Although sadly she’s long gone, it speaks volumes to her quiet, steady influence on me that not only do I still use today the culinary skills developed years ago by her side, but also I’ve taught my children those same skills, and now my grown-up children are teaching my grandchildren in their turn. Too many people are unable to cook from scratch these days, and I’m proud that generations of my family can make a meal out of traditional ingredients, then, now and on into the future… 🙂