Richard Oliff: Are my childhood Scottish dishes now foreign?

Should Scottish food be considered foreign, asks Richard
Should Scottish food be considered foreign, asks Richard

Food and its preparation is unquestionably a matter of skill and taste.

Our home was always a place where simple, wholesome, yet very tasty recipes would come together quite beautifully under the control of the best chef in the world (a personal opinion you understand), my mum.

This was a woman who, like her mother and most of her generation, could cook three meals for six hungry mouths on a daily basis without the need of a fridge, fan assisted oven, freezer or a microwave.

Many of my mum’s cooking techniques had been inherited from her own mother, who’d brought them with her when she moved her entire family south of the border from Scotland.

Something happened last week which made me wonder about the perception others might have about the countries within the UK, perhaps highlighted even more since the referendum vote.

We would eat ‘Scotch bread’ and ‘Scotch pies’, two things I still enjoy, but have never considered as a ‘foreign’ food, unlike pizza, poppadoms, sauerkraut or sweet and sour chicken.

As we perused the aisles of a major supermarket I found myself confronted by a sign that certainly suggested to me haggis was considered to be as foreign as Łazanki z kapustą i grzybami. The overhead sign simply stated ‘Scottish – Polish’.

Perhaps this is a pointer to the future. Maybe we will soon see Welsh specialities alongside Czech cuisine, or mouth-watering Northern Irish ingredients and foods next to the latest tasty bites from Hungary. The use of the sign and the separation of British foods were certainly confusing, and also had the ability to make me laugh.