Restoring Balintore Castle has entailed much transiting between Scotland and England, and having freshly arrived at the castle from a period south of the border, cultural differences are thrown into sharp relief.
Buying petrol today, I saw something that you would simply never see in England, a hot counter virtually monopolised by Scotch pies. Same form factor, just differing fillings ranging from "steak and gravy", through "chicken curry", "chicken and gravy" to one of my favourites "macaroni cheese". A macaroni cheese Scotch pie is triple starch: the pastry, the pasta and the sauce - yums!
|hot counter monopolised by Scotch pies|
When my friend Andrew visits for a day's castle restoration work, he will often bring two steak Scotch pies and two apple Scotch pies. I love the fact that the pudding has the same form factor as the main course, and together they form a quick, easy and delicious lunch when one does not want to be tied down with food preparation.
I don't think my English friends will be able to believe their eyes at this pie display!
As a child I loved fruit and vegetables of all varieties (and still do) but I found meat
and fish rather difficult. A mince Scotch pie was right at the limit of what I could manage
- in consequence these got served up quite a lot during my childhood. My thresh-hold for
fish was even lower - here a fishcake was at the limit of acceptability.
As an adult I have no such reservations with food and although I am still "wary" of fish this is a theoretical "in the head" thing and practice never backs this up. And it has to be said, if you go to the right small shop in the locality of the castle the quality of the Scotch pies (particularly a good steak one) can be superb - far better than I recall from childhood.