Category Archives: Scotland

What’s ‘Intilt’?

I was away from home so a day late as usual with the Wednesday guest post –

Now that we’ve both been vaccinated, as have many friends and neighbors, we can begin to look back on how we’ve handled the last year. A big part was in cooking with ingredients that Wendy had sourced very imaginatively – potatoes, onions, mushrooms that in some cases literally ‘fell off a truck’.

I enjoy cooking and am always interested in new recipes – for some reason I get regular e-mails from the New York Times Cooking page and I love reading their linked examples. But it is always just a vicarious pleasure. I never make any of them because they always involve an ingredient or a utensil I don’t have!

So I start from the opposite direction.

I do a Google search on the ingredients we have and the methods I’m familiar with. So I have recently searched for ‘potatoes, onions, carrots, peas and mushrooms’ and then choose something that uses a process I’m comfortable with. I discovered Lebanese seven spice mixture and love adding a teaspoonful to almost everything I make.

I had already searched for specialized foods I remembered from Scotland such as sausage rolls and steak bridies and they turned out to be easy to make.

Meanwhile Wendy has become a dab hand at canning as an alternative to freezing and that has opened up lots of possibilities too. So we have lots of jars of homemade spaghetti sauce, curry sauce, veggie soup and even ‘ready to go’ fries (Chips for my Scottish friends) which are par-boiled in the canning process and just need to go in our air-fryer with a squirt of oil. I often reference a story I think I first heard from my good friend from Aberdeen, Colin Stuart whenever she is making something. Queen Victoria and Albert sailed down Loch Ness and he visited the galley. He asked the chef what was in the soup. “There’s tatties intilt and carrots intilt and ingins intilt”. Well, my good man “tell me what’s ‘intilt’?’. “There’s tatties intilt and carrots intilt and ingins intilt” and so it went on round and round.

Finally, as the growing season has arrived, and after extending our vegetable garden, we will be hoping for our own carrots, onions, corn, tomatoes, peppers etc. through the coming year.

Some dishes we’ve become fond of – Dall with beans; Stovies; Bridies; Sausage Rolls; Vegetable Soup; Salmon Patties (Fish Cakes); various curries; Crock Pot Stews – – –

One thing I haven’t found over here is tripe, which my Mum used to make and I would love to have a go at!

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Filed under between books, Big Stone Gap, crafting, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

Jock, since ever I saw your Face – –

Jack is very late this week – – –

One of the good friends I made fairly late in both our lives was the wonderful Jock Duncan. He had been a singer all his life and steeped in the traditions of his native Aberdeenshire, but didn’t record anything until he was seventy years old. His repertoire of ballads and songs were very authentic and rooted in the soil of his land, but he continued to learn new songs written in traditional style

Jock had moved to Pitlochry in Perthshire, where I was hosting a monthly radio show that went out live in the 1990s. Each time I’d finish by asking Jock to put the kettle on. So, many of my radio guests were conducted down the ten minutes to Jock’s house where his wife Frances would set out an impeccable tea with biscuits.

Wendy sometimes went with me and on one occasion I did the usual ‘kettle, tea’ sign off and we headed down to Jock and Frances’ house. What we didn’t know was they’d been visiting their son in Aberfeldy and heard me on the car radio. We arrived to find them as usual with everything ready, but only found out later they’d arrived a few minutes before us! That was what they were – always thinking of others and how to make them welcome.

I remember when Duncan Williamson was my radio guest, taking him to meet Jock and they immediately respected each other as important in the folk revival, despite their very different approaches to the ballads. As usual Duncan was talking while Jock was listening.

Later, when I started doing small group tours of Scotland for Americans I’d make a point of taking them to meet Jock and Frances and though they hardly understood a word Jock said they were always charmed by him and the welcome they received.

RIP Jock – 1925-2021


Filed under between books, folklore and ethnography, Life reflections, Scotland, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch