This is a post about how bad the food in Scotland actually is, which baffles me since there’s just so much potential there. Let’s just preface this post with a statement: I love Scotland. Honestly I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the time I have spent in Scotland, especially the highlands and the Isle of Skye which I maintain is one of my favourite places in Europe. Recently I spent around 4 weeks touring the country; sleeping in the back of a van and making my way around the place from Edinburgh all the way up through the highlands and its Northern Isles then back down again through Glasgow and the many Lochs. I love the desolate ruggedness of the highlands and the mystery and brooding silence of the lochs. In short, Scotland is fantastic.. However there’s just one glaring and obvious problem with Scotland… The Food.
While they don’t eat bats or blend up frogs, food in Scotland is generally so bad that I’m actually really surprised that scurvy isn’t more of a problem. Now I’m no up-tight health freak, I love food as much as the next guy especially a good greasy burger but you know what I also love to eat..?? Salads.. green things, apples, spinach, peas… perhaps a few grapes, maybe a little pumpkin or broccoli..
That’s not too much to ask is it?
As far as I can tell the average Scottish diet revolves around starting with something horribly unhealthy and then deep frying it for at least 2 hours before adding chips and finally washing everything down with more alcohol than Genghis Khan could point a battle-axe at.
Walk into any Scottish food court or local eatery area and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled onto the set for the next season of The Biggest Loser. McDonalds, fish and chips, Burger King, pizza, fish and chips, pizza, chips, wedges, fish and chips, KFC… god dammit! Where’s the fresh food? Where’s the local produce? The edible colours of Scotland laid out in front of me in a bouquet of aromas, colours and textures…??!?
I JUST DON’T GET IT!!
Scotland has an abundance of amazing produce. Deer strut the countryside bold as you like, the rivers are full of salmon, there’s good quality beef and enough lobster to make Jehovah cry.. and that’s before even going into the fresh local veggies and berries that are abundant, in the countryside, particularly in the lowlands. This sort of thing could so easily be sold all over the place at local markets like they do so well in London
Yet, the Scott’s eat a diet that is so full of salt, fat, calories, sugar and alcohol that it’s no wonder that heart disease is as about as common as rain in Scotland.
To get the best taste of the food in Scotland take a quick stroll through the streets of Glasgow can be an enlightening culinary experience. Fish and Chip shops (chippies) dot the cityscape boasting almost as many square feet as Glasgow’s Pubs (and that’s impressive). But don’t let the name fool you; these ‘fine centres of Scottish cuisine’ offer their patrons far more than just your run-of-the-mill fish and chips…
My Food in Scotland Deep-Fried Guide: My top 3 deep-fried Scottish delicacies
1) Mars Bars: So this one started as a novelty item in shops but has been so successful that it’s actually stuck around.. wow, take the most unhealthy thing ever, then deep fry it. Weirdly Mars released this statement about the trend when it first appeared: “deep-frying one of our products would go against our commitment to promoting healthy, active lifestyles.” Which means that apparently Mars Inc have some bizarre misconception that by eating a Mars Bar you’re partaking in an active and healthy lifestyle… riiiiiggghhhttt..
2) Pizza: Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, along comes deep fried pizza; and.. it’s not even a nice pizza! It’s generally just reheated supermarket frozen pizza that’s been battered and stuck in a vat of boiling oil. Sounds more like some form of medieval siege defence than something you voluntarily pay for, then consume.
3) Butter: Yep that’s right, BUTTER! Sick of your average, every day serving of pure fat? Well why not deep fry it instead? What could possibly go wrong.. I’ve eaten some weird shit in my time but these ‘coronary balls’ might take the cake.. or rather, the defibrillator.
I think the moral of the story here is that apparently if it’s not fried, battered or served with chips, it’s basically not on the Scottish menu.. Which just blows my mind; given just how easily good quality local produce could make its way from the crisp streams and fields of the countryside into the mouths of the population.
Anyway as long as you don’t have a heart condition (yet) you may as well experiment while you’re in the country, well that was my logic anyway.. Where else are you going to have the chance to eat 6 million calories in a single meal?
“Three Deep fried butterballs please!!”
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