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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Edible Archive...what's your story?

The Edible Archive is the Scottish Council on Archives' contribution to this year's Archives Awareness Campaign theme 'Culture and diversity - what's your story?' The Council has been collecting stories and recipes from Scotland, some dating back 300 years, and intends to publish an electronic cookbook based on the recipes collected.
'The food we eat is a reflection of who we are, where we’ve been, and where we live. The recipes we keep and use reveal aspects of our family and national history and culture. With your help, we aim to compile a collection of recipes spanning several centuries, ranging from the familiar to the bizarre.'
Some of the recipes were tried out on 26 November at Captain Taylor's Coffee House in Edinburgh as part of an event which involved demonstrations, talks and workshops. Participants could sample the delights of dishes such as locust bread and invalid fruit tart. If you are feeling adventurous and want to try some of the dishes for yourself, you can download a number of recipe cards from the SCA site.  I rather like the sound of Tweed Kettle, which I may try it out sometime - it's certainly more appealing than Sheep's head broth.

I'm fascinated by Scottish gastronomic heritage, but despite my Scottishness, I have very little experience of it myself. There are no treasured family recipes in my background; my mother is a wonderful woman with many admirable qualities, but, regrettably, they do not include culinary expertise (baking is a different matter, she's really good at that now, she just never got the hang of producing edible meals). It's not her fault, she learned everything she knew from her mother, and she was a REALLY bad cook. My dad used to say that you could sole your shoes with one of granny's pork chops - if only you could get a nail through it. He never said that in front of her, though, he was probably scared she might hit him with one of them.

You can contribute to the project too, and the What's your story? page tells how you can send in your own recipes if your family, unlike mine, has something worth passing on (sorry, Mum!)

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