Guts and Gristle

Just so you know, the last entry was intended as a Harmless Bit of Fun. It was not a malicious attack on Scotland and/or the Scottish way of life, as my anonymous correspondents seem to believe. Crikey, people! Nowhere do I suggest that this is the only food available in Scottish supermarkets. Nor am I saying Scotland has the Worst Food In The World. Every country has its share of crap food, it’s just that Scotland’s crap food is the most endearingly entertaining I’ve ever encountered.

Let me reassure any would-be tourists, we actually have plenty of tasty things for you to eat. I have sung the praises of Scottish cuisine in previous entries. There’s an abundance of brilliant tucker in this country. Where to begin? The haggis, the oatcakes, the Cream o Galloway Ice Cream, the fish, the cheese, the Tea Cakes, the liquid goodies from Demijohn, the summer berries, phwoaaaaaaaar!

However this is not a food blog and people don’t come here for gourmet news. They want deep-fried gristle, guts and gore! Here’s one comment:

“I think your opening sentence is misleading, it suggests that all Scottish supermarkets sell the poor excuse for food that you’ve listed which simply isn’t true. If you insist on shopping in Asda then of course you’re going to find low quality food, they cater for low quality people and low quality taste.”

I could edit the first sentence to say, “Today we explore some of the dazzling delights on offer in the vast majority of Scottish supermarkets”, but that sounds a bit clunky. Besides, pies in tins and Heinz Filler are not exclusive to Asda. I’ve seen ’em in Sainsburys, Tesco, Morrisons, Somerfield and even the wee Co-Op down the street. The only place you won’t find them would perhaps be Waitrose or Marks & Spencer, the domain of more discerning High Quality People with High Quality Taste. (For the record, we buy our groceries online at Tesco, then top up at Somerfield or M&S. I guess that makes us a bewildering mix of High-Medium-Low.)

sixteen for a pound

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! Iโ€™m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

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38 thoughts on “Guts and Gristle

  1. Don’t worry, I think it was just one person – everyone else seemed to enjoy the gut churning treat that was your pork/fat/meat in odd shapes post. I certainly did anyway!

  2. I liked your entry just fine ๐Ÿ™‚ Especially the bear shaped meat. This is something I must try at some point. Keep on rocking out Shauna, don’t mind those who don’t get your most excellent sense of humour!!

  3. Yes, it seems some folks are a wee bit too sensitive when it comes to what you may find in your regional supermarket. I would hate to give a shit about such a thing.

  4. Hello – I’m new here and your Scottish food observances took me back to a holiday I had in Scotland three years ago. I am a vegetarian and I really struggled to find something decent to eat. I’m sure it’s easy when you know where to go though.
    When I lived in the US a trip to New Orleans turned up some WONDERFUL gastronomic delights … such as a can of something I couldn’t understand but it looked like pigs brains in custard. Blerk! Came from a supermarket called Piggly Wigglies .. say no more.

  5. Ah greggs the bakers!

    When I used to live in Newcastle (england not NSW) I was amazed by the sheer number of them.Sometimes they were right next door to each other.

    I asked a Geordoe Amigo about this phenomena over a pint or nine in the Trent House, and was told.

    “Aye man, Greggs the bakers, we canna resist em. they’re like crack cocaine to us Geordies”

    Oh how I laughed little realising my imminent descent into Chicken and mushroom slice dependency.

    All food in the UK is pretty much rubbish unless you pay extra.

    Scotland doubly so.

    And no one can tell me I’m wrong as I’m a Glaswegian and we have the shortest life expectancy in the developed world.

  6. You dead set kidding – Scottish food is hilariously bad and their diest is shocking, fat dripping of Pizzas crud and gristle everywhere ( unofrtunately I like it) and also its worth pointing out that Australia exports doctors to Scotland to learn vascular and heart surgery – they get lots of experience and get to see cases in Scotland they will never see in Australia…two of my mates have trained there to get their vascular experience caused by the crap diets.. Who is kidding who in this

  7. I thought your piece (that is the thing you wrote and not your sandwich) was very good if a bit short on pictures of traybakes and wee buns.

    When I lived in Scotland I was excessively fond of the kind of pastries that have flourescent icing and are filled with sugared shaving cream. You can also get them everywhere in norn iron and even here in the poorer parts of London.

  8. crack smoking anonymous posters. I dug the animal shaped meat, but not as much as some of the brand names like “Goblin” and “Ye Olde Oak”.

  9. Some people who’ve never left home don’t understand what it is like to wander thru a supermarket in a strange land & find many oddities that are hilarious & weird.

  10. For the record Shauna, I thought your last entry was one of the funniest things I’ve read recently, more especially because I recognise most of the damn stuff as being real!

    And to ganching who was “excessively fond of the kind of pastries that have flourescent icing and are filled with sugared shaving cream” – lol, I know the kind you mean, I used to live off of these things until I decided it was time for my own lard-busting journey!

  11. No, I think I will have to disagree, Scotland has had a long tradition of mad, bad food. I remember reading a report or article on this. Scotland was always so poor that we SOLD they tasty stuff and ate what was left. Hence the traditional Scottish delicacies of stuffed herring heads, sheeps head soup, and lots of other things involving heads.

    Also, ANOTHER report said that the food is actually good if you are freezing your behind off in some outdoor serfdom, which was the case for a long while. Lots of lovely stodge to heat you up and keep you going. We have abandoned the serfdom, but not the diet.

    I was not totally aware of a supermarket hierarchy though.

    Scotland makes the best soup in the world.

  12. I loved it! I loved seeing the different foods or weirdness that we don’t have here. Hey we’ve got some weird thing here I am sure but we deffinently don’t have it shaped into a teddybear! lol

  13. I’m from the deep South (US), and I can hold forth about the crazy food in the cheap supermarkets in my beloved homeland. Of course it wouldn’t mean I don’t like Southern food–I make a mean cornbread–but it would take a Sumo wrestler sitting on my chest to force feed me some souse…that’s ground-up pig snouts. Or the murky, laboratory-looking jars of pickeled pigs’ feet next to the cash register of many a roadside gas station in any rural area. Tripe? No thankie. Ditto for head cheese (yep, brains). All the BEST cultures in the world have their cheap, soul-food equivalent. Just part of what makes travelling so much fun…

  14. I disagree with the other Kristen above….The northern part of the US doesn’t really have “cuisine” at all, much less weird disgusting cuisine……This only thing I can think of is Goetta, but that is a German food. Northern food is just a boring melting pot.

  15. I love weird food and should really remember to bring my camera the next time I go to Jungle Jim’s
    The place is massive and the last time I went they were building a monorail (if that gives you a size idea) In the dry goods it is separated into different country sections so you can step from Ireland to France and pick up different teas and prepacked sandwich filler meats that make people homesick all over the world. I love it. and there are many things that frighten me, like fish flavored ice creams, squid puffs, and in the meat section full cow skulls, and many, many mystery meats, along with lots of fish swimming around in tanks. Every culture definitely has some acquired tastes. yikes.

  16. Again I found myself laughing out loud in the workplace due to your hilarious observations, Shauny.. don’t let yourself get down over one person’s mean-spirited comment, there are obviously too many people who enjoy reading your view of the world to be concerned…

  17. I agree with Chukki, I love your posts on the weird Scottish Cuisine theme. It didn’t put me off Scotland – it made Scotland seem more interesting.

    Here in New Zealand I hosted a Scottish party last winter – we had bagpipes, whiskey, and the highlight of the evening: a tin of Grant’s haggis. Everyone politely said they liked the haggis; but after the party I found one plate, untouched and hidden under a chair!

  18. Squid puffs! Ace! Oh, Shauna, not only do I love the posts, but I love that photo too – it is perfect and I KNOW it would never occur to me to take it. I do like the man in the middle unable to decide if he wants a bridie or 16 economy burgers. He will wear a bunnet until he decides.

  19. Can’t believe you had to print a retraction! I loved your tinned meat blog. Wouldn’t touch the stuff but am fascinated by it all the same.

    Your’e blog is the best and everytime I log in and find you’ve posted a new one my heart lifts a little ‘cos I know you’ll bring a smile to my face.

    Keep ’em comin’

  20. aw tetchy comments =( personally, i was tickled pink by your peculiar meat products post and hope to see more.

    i grew up in papua new guinea but the only striking thing i can remember about the food was the vast amount of fauna found in the flora. i’m not sure how many caterpillars i accidentally crunched down with my broccoli, but i estimate a rough 234 534 860. we got many foreign products in the supermarket like marshmallow spread in a jar from either america or canada, and new zealand icecream. my mum (like yours, mine is a teacher) never let us eat either! too much sugar, you know…

    sugar ants, on the other hand, got into everything. we considered them a condiment after a while.

    i never tried any sausages when in germany. i ate lots of champignons at the markets because champignons are comprised of champignons, but wurst..? too many mysteries there.

    … and is it the Netherlands that has salted licorice?

    I suppose when it comes to alarming culinary treasures, we Australians have Vegemite. What other country has a ‘sandwich filler’ of that colour and constistency, eh?


  21. Absolutely nothing wrong with that post…

    Or Scotland. When I was up there last year I was taken by the fact that while a lot of people looked pale – it was “healthy” pale. That combined with the accent is a winning combination in my view!

    That and the fact you can actually get good fish and chips up in Scotland unlike in London ๐Ÿ™

    Mmmm, fish and chips……..

    Scott F ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. I have to concur with a previous correspondent – we have friends on Skye who we’ve stayed with on numerous occasions – the most ironic thing was watching the locally fished seafood being carted off to Spain – leaving little else but Bird’s Eye for the locals – unless you wanted to eat at a restaurant where all the good stuff (and the veggies) were to be had. Maybe things have got better now the toll bridge is no longer tolling.

    As to Asda etc – we shop locally and top up things like tinned beans and tomatoes at Netto or Aldi (pinnacle of the cheap shop experience) where I’ve bought excellent fruit and veg amongst the jumbo packs of biscuits and tinned meat products. The carper with the chip on their shoulder about low quality people and their low quality tastes should avert their eyes and move on to the “Taste the Difference” section of their more up-market grocers poste-haste. Strewth. I thought it was a funny photo-essay – not an in-depth critique of Scottish Retail.

    Viva las gristle!

  23. Amber, as ar as I remember salt licquorice is a Swedish/Danish thing.
    And long may it continue so, the weirdies.

    And I say that as someone who has a real love of the crazy bastards in Sweden and Denmark.

    You can’t have sweets that taste of

    toilet lollies.

  24. Clearly your sense of humour is far too keen for some “crack my face if I smile” types. No worries though … 99.9% were delighted with the tour through the market. You may have started a kewl trend! Your expose of exotic yummies reminds me of a story my better half tells about growing up in a British household. Her descriptions of “bacon fat sandwiches” for breakfast very nearly hardened my arteries! Her family hails from Birmingham, UK which may explain the delicacy …

  25. Amber, Amber, Amber. You’ve no idea what a giggle we get from exporting our shoe polish to the world labelled vegemite and watching foreigners eat it*.

    *Dear Pedant, this is a joke. It only tastes like shoe polish.

  26. At the risk of sounding unamused (which I’m not) I’d just like to point out, in Scotland’s defence, that TRADITIONAL Scottish dishes tend to be based round oatmeal, which is very good for you. So we have porridge (oatmeal), haggis (oatmeal and some unmentionable but not unhealthy bits of animals), cranachan (oatmeal and raspberries – ok, and cream). A bit unimaginative, ingredient-wise, granted. But good for the innards. As long as you don’t deep-fry any of it.

  27. Obviously, none of those naysayers are from the Philippines, where we flaunt our vilest delicacies and cackle with glee as the tourists try not to hurl. What’s the fun in having weird food if you can’t torture the foreigners with it, people! My American husband may not like dinuguan (Filipino equivalent of blood pudding) or our various takes on lower forms of sea-life, but it’s his loss, I say.

    Shauny, your post had me lauging aloud at my desk! It brought back memories of a wonderful semester in the UK (rifling through the shelves at Sainsbury’s) and especially a tour of gorgeous Scotland. The food could never have kept me away!

  28. I thought the previous entry was funny, but… I can see how it could be taken the wrong way. It’s true that most of the meaty delights aren’t Scottish as such. Personally, I’d have thought the major thing wrong with the Scottish diet is the high amount of sugar, rather than the tendency to deep-fry… (and I’m a native. And a veggie, and I haven’t starved).

    My boyfriend (English) and I once had a long and intense discussion about whether or not Scotland as a Nation has a chip on its shoulder. I started out thinking not, but the longer the discussion went on, the weaker my arguments became…

    What’s wrong with oatmeal, anyway, polx? I eat it every day! Yummy.

  29. To the anonymous poster who left that heartwarming comment: Nice one. So I guess if you’re poor, then you are automatically a “low quality person” who has “low quality taste.” I’m sure those “low quality” people would love to be eating higher quality food but can’t afford it.

    I wish more people would actually think before they start typing.

    To “what’s new”: I like your blog. I have added a link to yours from mine! Keep it up.

  30. kirsten, there is a chip! a deep-fried one ๐Ÿ˜›

    i saw a huuuge magpie today, sitting on top of road sign with a chip in its beak. just sittin’. that really made my day ๐Ÿ™‚

    hello people! i will post something tomorrow. hope yer all well!

  31. I’m quite happy for the tetchy commenter to stay out of Asda. Leaves all the more chicken tikka flavoured sandwich filler for me.
    Besides, I think protest just a wee bit too much. They probably have a sneaky wee Cheesy Pasta habit, and about 500 boxes of the stuff propping up their bed.

    Greggs – the Starbucks of Scotland?

  32. When I lived in Scotland, I would buy my lunch at the Greggs in that photo. Unless I had plenty of time and was feeling a bit flush, in which case I’d have a proper lunch at the *excellent* Japanese restaurant just round the corner.

  33. Is that right, 16 burgers for ยฃ1? Somewhere out there a student is thinking “score!” but for me, for now, I have to wonder what the heck those burgers are made of!

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