JWU North Miami student Jacqueline Gonzalez-Cuba's culinary journey through Scotland continues with Jacqueline savoring haggis, cod and oh yes, a little whisky. Don't worry, she's 26 years old.
“The proper drinking of Scotch whisky is more than indulgence: it is a toast to civilization, a tribute to the continuity of culture, a manifesto of man's determination to use the resources of nature to refresh mind and body and enjoy to the full the senses with which he has been endowed.” David Daiches.
To visit Scotland is to eat Scotland. What this means is that you cannot leave without eating and drinking from the production of nature. Haggis is considered the national dish, made famous by the poet Robert Burns. Thus, the infamous Burn’s Supper usually consists of haggis, neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes mashed separately). So far I have eaten haggis twice; once as a croquette in a delicious sampler, fried, in a restaurant called The World Famous Frankenstein & Bier Keller, and the second, boiled, as part of a traditional dinner meal. Do not let the contents of haggis scare you away, I assure you that the flavor is quite exuberant.
Next we move on to whisky. Whisky is the production of adding malted barley to boiled water and letting it age in a cask. I had the pleasure of touring The Scotch Whisky Experience. Did you know that whisky is spelled without an “e” in it, and that only whisky produced in Scotland can be spelled that way? Part of the culture, as I’ve noticed, is when almost everything closes at 5pm, it’s customary to go “have a pint” at the local pub. For the older generation, a glass of single malt whisky will do just fine. Mark Twain once said, “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whisky is barely enough."
Another signature dish to have in Scotland is “Fish ‘N Chips”, which you can find pretty much anywhere. The fish usually consists of cod or haddock, seasoned with salt and pepper, battered, and then deep fried. The chips are actually french fries, not chips like we would think, which are called crisps. I must say, I’m not a fan, simply because I don’t eat seafood, but it does look appetizing.
If I sit down and think about it, some of my best times spent in Scotland have been at a pub or restaurant. The idea of coming together with friends to watch the Euro Cup games, or listen to a live band, or just to hang out, combined with a smooth whisky or salty dish tickling my palette, is a great way to de-stress. And as I mentioned, it truly feels like you’re eating from the land. Scotland, being a small country, you’re never far from the farmland. As you drive down the road, you see the cows and sheep to your left, and crops to your right. Food is so fresh and lacks many preservatives. I made a point of reading labels and noticed that most foods contained less than ten ingredients, and I knew what most of those were.
Follow Jacqueline Gonzalez-Cuba's scrumptious culinary exploration through Scotland. Read her JWU Student Blog.