Okay so I was rereading Lynsay's historical "Sweet Revenge". She used the word "Sassenah" several times. Now I have seen this word in other books when they have a Scottish setting. I tried to do a little research of my own. The only thing I can find is that it was used to describe the English by the Scottish.
But is it another descriptive term for the English
(like calling them Anglican) or does it have negative connotations? Does anyone know where it derives from?
J4-Sorry if it is a boring topic but I am huge fan of Scottish history.
Sassenach is generally regarded as meaning an English person but was originally a term used by Highland Scots for anyone who originated below what is known as the Highland line. This would have included non Gaelic speaking lowland Scots as well as the English.
The word itself seems to derive from the same etymological root as the word Saxon - as in Anglo-Saxon - and would really be a descriptive term rather than an abusive one. Then again, it all depends on how it's said.
mr spice.....you are so smart!
all kidding aside, that is cool to know.....
maybe we should add a translation thread.....
and MR. SPICE can translate or pronounce correctly as the case may be!!
Thank you Mr. Spice.
G3 I really like that idea. A lot times it helps me truly understand the meaning in dialogue when I have translations like that.
hey what is Marmite?
The definition I came across was:a metal or earthenware cooking pot with a cover, usually large and often having legs.
But then Again...
Marmite is a spread for toast. It is actually a yeast product, but tastes like thick beef bouillon spread on toast. It is definitely something you have to grow up with to like. I did not grow up with it, Mr. Spice did.
Marmite is... delicious.
In the UK Marmite is a dark brown, almost black, spread that is eaten on toast or on a slice of buttered bread. It's actually made from a yeast extract and has a very strong bouillon like taste, although it is entirely vegetable in it's content.
The thing with Marmite is that you either love it or hate it and as it has such a strong, distinctive taste there is no middle ground on the matter. This is so well known in the UK that the company who make it use variations of the 'love it or hate it' theme as part of their advertising slogan.
I'd probably say that anyone who wasn't brought up eating it from childhood would find it almost inedible.
Vegemite, from Australia, is said to be similar although never having eaten it I can't confirm the similarity.
Marmite's website is here;
And before anyone asks, yes, I can get Marmite in Canada.
a roommate of mine use to eat Marmite, I tried it and didn't like it myself it is definitely an acquired taste!
No offense, our dear Mr. Spice, but from the descriptions of English foods in some books, it seems like you would have to grow up to like most of them!
Yes, I know that is probably true of everywhere...but I'm not generally a finicky eater, and both English and Scottish foods (is it called haggis?) do not always sound very appealing. What do I know, though? My dear younger son mananged to get me to eat sushi made with eel recently...but the eel was cooked! I will at least taste most things (even your marmite) but I don't always eat them again (like eel...I can say that I've had it.)
There are traditional southern US foods that I won't eat, either...like oysters or chitlens. Sometimes you can know too much about a food... I love seafood, but the only thing I want out of an oyster is a pearl! I can remember my grandma cooking chitlens for my grandpa, and you knew what was cooking by the smell as soon as you opened the door.
My grandma was a fabulous cook. If she couldn't make it taste good, it wasn't meant to be eaten.
having lived in autralia, we have had "Vegemite" its very thick like peanutbutter, but it is a choc/hazelnut spread. They eat it on everything.
its not something i could eat a lot of, but its not totally nasty either.
more an aquired taste...i guess like marmite!
English food is lovely! But then I'm English on my father's side of the family.
I think every culture has really unappetizing foodstuffs. In Spain they scrape the fatty pustules out of pigs' intestines and deep fry them. They call pig fat "white meat!"
My favourite food story concerns a friend of mine who went on and on about how disgusting blood pudding is and how she'd never eat anything like that. Well, we were eating authentic French coq au vin which is actually thickened with chicken blood! She really enjoyed the coq au vin until we told her what was in it.
English cuisine does have a reputation for being boring. That seems to be something of a hangover from the 1960's when it definitely was unadventurous and bland but I don't think you can say the same about it today.
In the intervening years the nation has assimilated many external cultural influences into it's kitchens and we now have, along with much of the western world, a very global outlook when it comes to eating.
And blood pudding? Yes, I will eat it and I do like it, especially if it is freshly made.
Dave - who will eat almost anything.
Aside from blood pudding... I would try just about anything. The word "blood" throws me off a little. Of course if I don't know what's in it, it can't hurt me right? Marmite sounds interesting. I would like to try just once Haggis.
My father side of the family has some interesting ethinic foods. I just ate Lox and Giltefish for the first time. I figure if I am willing to eat that, I could handle anything else. I am not huge seafood fan but I have tried Octpus once. Not the best thing I have ever eaten. But hey different strokes different folks, right
J4-Adventurous only when it comes to food.
Blood pudding is called black pudding in the UK so I guess we're squeamish about it too.
Do you eat head cheese too, Dave?
I've never quite worked up the nerve, not so much because of what's in it as because everytime I see that term, it comes out as toe cheese in my brain. I think I might need a little rewiring work done.
It's known as brawn in the UK - which doesn't sound nearly as horrible as head cheese. Since the advent of mad cow disease I tend to be a lot more choosy about what I will and won't eat and so head cheese is definitely off the menu for me.
I am like you....I have lived in 5 different countries, and visited at least 4 more others...(maybe more)
So ,I have learned to at least try anything...I pretty much will eat anything also.
The most intresting was Japan, and Sweden
Japan have big tanks on the bank of the oceanand they keep their fish and such in them, you walk over pick out what you want, they catch and clean it. (and cook it if you want!) but because of that I am spoiled when it comes to sushi! (can't get any fresher!)
Sweden, I was able to try al sorts of meat, their restaurants will hold special licences to serve certain meats, (I tried, kangaroo(oldly enough they don't eat it in Australia though, they prefer horse!)
and really really fresh reindeer. That was incrdible!
G3 -> the ironic thing, is I got married to a man who is so picky, he can't believe half the stuff i eat! but i am turning him....his mother still can't believe i got him to try fish, she never could! she says it must be love!
I have heard of the head cheese before but I am not sure what it is? Do I wanna know?
Jill, probably not since it's basically all of the meat from the head of an animal (with organs removed) boiled up, gelatin added and then pressed into shape. There are variations of this all over the world and in Scotland it's known as potted heid.
I think the most disgusting thing I have ever tried was pretty much congealed bacon grease. My husband is able to go to Germany with his boss every two years for a wire conferance that is held over there. I was able to tag along the first time (can't anymore, three kids to watch!) and we stopped in a local village to try some local wine. Very nice older woman invited us in her house and served it with some crackers and a kind of spread. It smelled odd but I didn't want to be rude so I spread some on my cracker and...ugh! It was very difficult to force myself to finish it and not spit it out. Afterwards Tom, my husband's boss, told us that it was grease of some kind, probably bacon or some kind of meat. Not something I would go back for seconds of.
I don't mind eating fat if it's fried and crispy but when it's soft like that bacon grease spread, nuh uh!
When I was in Montreal last year we stayed in hotel and practically lived in the bar/restaurant and the bartender gave us a complimentary foie gras shot. Yes, a drink! The flavour was actually quite nice but it was sort of like drinking a shot of very soft, not quite melted, butter. Way, way too rich! Foie gras is like that whatever way you eat it really but it seemed worse drinking it, somehow.
Hmmm... all that sounds tasty. I think it's better we don't know what foods are made of.
Kim, I'm wondering if what you were eating is beef or pork dripping. As a child I can remember eating a kind of fat spread containing residual strands of meat. I can barely remember it but I'm sure it was something made from rendering down the unusable parts of the carcass. I would imagine it's fallen out of favour now as I'm sure eating what was mostly pure animal fat can't have been very healthy.
I don't think the reason people don't eat it anymore is because of health reasons!
I think using the food drippings/grease was probably a custom from when food was scarce and noone wanted to waste anything that was remotely edible. I consider myself extremely lucky that I am in a position that I only have to eat what I want to.
Mr. Spice & everyone...
In this month's issue of Renaissance magazine, they have a quiz on Scottish food. It's in the "Forsoothly Spoken" column. There were 10 multiple choice questions for the following foods:
2. Arbroath Smokie
4. Black Bun
8. Cawdel of Muskels
I got seven out of ten correct, but it did have multiple choice answers which always helps. In the answers, it gave the history of the food or where they think the names and dishes originated. It was interesting.
I didn't put the answers, in case anyone wants to take a guess.
You have me beat on four of them, Wren. I have no idea what Black Buns, Ipocras, Crowdie or Colcannon are.
The word crowdie rings a bell somewhere in the lost property area of my memory but I'm afraid the light won't switch on to let me see what it is.
Hi, Mr. Spice...
Black Bun is fruitcake...one of the world's oldest recipes. It differs by having a thin crust on both top and bottom that holds the thick, dark sweet loaf-shaped currant-and-raisin filling in place, and is traditionally eaten on Twelfth Night. Nowadays, it is often consumed on Hogmanay (Dec. 31) and New Year's Day.
Ipocras is spiced wine (sometimes spelled hippocras)and is usually made with red wine mixed with sugar/honey/or spices.
Crowdie is fresh cheese...a white cheese sometimes flavored with herbs, spices or garlic. Not to be confused with Cranachan, a dessert sometimes known as "crowdie cream." (today made of whole cream, berries, oatmeal, and whiskey, although Crowdie cheese was originally used)
Colcannon is boiled vegetables, similar to the British dish "bubble and squeak." It says this is a boiled mixture of cabbage, kale or other greens and root vegetaables, often turnips, carrots, and potatoes, combined with butter, salt and pepper and served hot.
The above information comes from Renaissance Magazine, Volume 13, #1, Issue #59, www.renaissancemagazine.com
The only one I got of these four was Ipocras...but I had the advantage of four choices. However, I did know all of the other dishes in the quiz, in part from reading historicals. I also enjoy the above magazine because it has a lot of interesting articles. I know you like to read almost everything!
hmm... I think I maybe know 2 or 3 out of those. I have heard of Haggis, Black Bun, and Crowdie. But the rest I have no idea. Those are really good mind stumpers.
Hey do you know how long a "fortnight" is how much a "stone" is?
the space of fourteen nights and days; two weeks.
Aha! So here we go again with the wonderful variations of language within the UK.
What you describe as Black Bun sounds very much like the traditional English Christmas cake recipe, which is a dark, heavy and spicy fruitcake with a distinctive crusty surface. Where I'm from this is eaten with a piece of cheese, preferably something like Cheshire cheese - much to the shock and disgust of the rest of the nation. "Cheese? With Cake?" they'll cry. But if they only knew how it tasted...
Colcannon sounds like re-fried leftovers (which is what bubble & squeak is) and is probably one of those 'waste not, want not' meals that were so common in earlier times.
The mix of turnips and potatoes together is known in Scotland as 'neeps & tatties' - although what the Brits generally call turnip isn't the small white turnip, it's actually what I know as swede - or rutabaga as it's known over here.
Actually, I think the black bun sounds more like your malt loaf than christmas cake, it's the thin crust that makes me think so. I've used several of these in books, colcannon and crowdie for certain.
Lynsay, I believe your right. That's probably how I recognized the terms. I think I read about them in one of your anthologies with Hannah H. and you gave a brief definition then
The reason I was able to get seven correct was because of the Scottish books I have read by Hannah Howell, and Lynsay's historicals...and probably other Scottish historicals along the way. Plus I had the advantage of it being multiple choice to trigger my memory.
I always wondered what "bubble & squeak" was, so now I know.
Okay back again with another pestering question. I was watching a BBC movie and one of the characters said he had "a bowl of scouse with a bottle of HP on the side" Not sure what that is? Does anyone know?
J4-Sorry to be annoying, but inquiring minds want to know.
Jill, you'll have to try and give me more context - and perhaps what it was you were watching.
Scouse isn't food, it's the nickname of people who come from Liverpool. HP is HP sauce, steak sauce as it's known over here, which in the UK is used the same way as ketchup is North America - some people even have both on their chips (fries).
So, given the above, I'm as confused as you - or possible even more so.
The movie was called "Lillies" about a working class family in 1920s Liverpool England. The character was explaing that his father went into a pub on the waterfront and "asked for the biggest bowl of scouse with a bottle of HP on the side."
TThis is a good one - I had to look it up but i do have an answer - and I also now know why Liverpudlians came to be known as scousers.
It's a shortened form of lobscouse - a kind of lamb stew mixed with hard biscuit and eaten by sailors. As Liverpool is a large port city, it was probably a popular dish with visiting ship's crews.
Apparently it originates in Scandinavia, where it's known as lapskaus in the Norwegian language.
Thanks Dave. Cleared up some confusion for me.
I was reading BMIYC and I am across something I was unsure about. What is are "toques"? I am assuming it some sort of clothing based on the content of the sentence but unsure as to what type.
as in hat? was it on his/her head? in Canada a winter hat is called a toque. not sure as I haven't read the book yet but that would be my guess
A toque is a kind of hat and which would probably be called a watchcap in the U.S.
I feel like an idiot but I didn't know what a watch cap was either. But I did asked what it was and my friend said they are beanies. Those I do know. Okay makes much more sense.
Thanks Jodi and Dave.
While on the subject of Canada. I was trying to learn more about this country and I am little hazy on the details. Is Canada still under the British government?
When I was in Canada I though I saw a parliment building, maybe my aunt was wrong? but then there were gift shops with Prince William, The Queen, Prince Charles etc etc on plates and any thing you could think of (I was in Victoria). I'm a bacon cheeseburger and fries type of girl myself but I loved the month I was in Ecuador with my sister's family, everything was fresh and well not like it is in America (rice with almost every meal got a little old though)but my Ecuadorian sister loved what we have up here! haha. Sorry I didn't answer any questions just felt like ramblin about some food :)
We are only just learning about Canada around here...but we have taken it on as part of our homeschool studies, studying the geography, history, and culture of North America. Jodi is helping us with that, and sent us a lot of information and Canadian things for our studies including a small flag! Also, the boys are learning French...I shall try with my southern drawl LOL, partly due to their family heritage on their dad's side. I went with French and Spanish, because I think they are most useful...so I hope by the time they graduate they will have at least some fluency in each.
Canada has it's own government...Parliament made up of a Senate and House of Commons, and it's a democracy. Instead of a President, they have a Prime Minister. However, though not governed by the British government, Canada still has ties to the Queen and the British monarchy.
We will have to defer to the Spices and our Canadian sisters for more information, and to see if the above is correct.
Also, maybe Acal can give us information on Australia.
Does Australia still have ties to the British monarchy? What kind of government do you have?
Thank you for the information. I know that the queen is still representated on their money but that could mean anything.
Yes Acal I would like to learn about your country too.
For information on any country in the world I would recommend asking the CIA. Seriously, I mean it. The CIA have a public website that has lots of very useful geopolitical information on every country in the world. It's actually called the CIA World Factbook and the homepage is here:
Use the dropdown box to select the country of your choice and then use the menus refine the information.
Isn't that great. And there's you thinking they're all just a bunch of meanies wearing shades & dark suits.
Thanks Mr. Spice. That is very useful information.
Just hope they do not include people on the list.
Thank Dave. The information was very good and it answered my question.
To answer your question wren, Australia's government is a Constitutional Monarchy like the UK and Denmark, It means its a cross between Republic and Monarchy, theres a Prime Minister and Queen, King. Where as countries like France have a President and Prime Minister.