[Sca-cooks] Scottish cuisine (and now, blood dishes)

Gretchen Beck grm at andrew.cmu.edu
Thu Nov 27 20:51:03 PST 2008

On Thu, 27 Nov 2008, Stefan li Rous wrote:

> Why do you say wine for Scotland? You can't grow grapes there, so it would 
> have to have been imported, particularly during the later Middle Ages.  Do we 
> have any idea how common it was to drink wine in Scotland?

FWIW, in the 16th C, wine is fairly common. A couple of things to note. In 
his Chronicle of Scotland (this is from the 16th C Scots 
Bellenden translation of the original Latin), Boece notes "richt hardy and 
reddy to all jeoperdyis bai9th in weir and peace, iin sich maner that na 
thing may be difficill to thaim, gif they leiffit temperatelie. Therefore 
the provident Beginnar of the warld hes nocht but gret resoun maid thair 
region nakit and bair of winis, knawing be his eterne wisdome, that winis, 
howbeit the samin ar richt necessat to all uthir peple, ar richt 
skaithfull to the nature of Albianis, for thay ar given to sic unnaturall 
voracite and desire of uncouth metis and drinkis, that they can nocht 
refrene thaimself fra immodereat excess" (Right hardy and ready to all 
jeopardies both in war and peace, in such manner that no thing may be 
difficult to them, if they live temperatly. Therefore, the provident 
Beginner of the world has not but great reason made their region naken and 
bare of wines, knowing by his stern wisdom that wines, although the same 
are right necessary to all other people, are right harmful to the nature 
of Albans, for they are given to such unnatural voracity and desire of 
uncouth meats and drinks, that they can not refrain themselves from 
immoderate excess")

How excess, you may ask -- well, in Dundee alone in 1580, the shipping 
records show imports of 200 tuns of wine from Bordeaux, 1 tun of wine 
from Rochelle, and 40 tuns of wine from unspecified places. This is the 
equivalent of 15536 gallons of wine, or some 64,000+ bottles of the size 
Dundee is not the only port importing wine in Scotland, and the 
population in the late 16th C is approximately 800,000, that's a fair 
quantity of wine for a vine barren country.

toodles, margaret

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