Scotland has always prided itself on the recipes that it has been able to produce from the rich sources of meat and fish that were available to the people. However, Scotland had a feudal society for centuries, so these plentiful supplies were more available to some than they were for others.
In terms of the types of livestock available, they could be split between farm animals and game. The game were the animals that were roaming around the countryside while the farm animals were those that were reared on farms around the country.
Scotland possesses some of the greatest wilderness areas in the British Isles. The disadvantage of these areas is that they often contained weak thin soils and were subject to cool and wet climates. In these bleak environments, very little survives, and the most popular form of agriculture has been sheep farming.
This is reflected in many local dishes, such as a lamb served as a separate roast. The Scotch pie is found all around the British Isles and contains mutton mixed with spices, and then served within a casing of hot water pastry. By using the older sheep, it was a food that could be eaten by the majority of the population.
The country also has a strong cattle industry, with some of the pedigrees being famous around the world. The Aberdeen Angus breed has been exported globally and it is the most popular form of cattle in the United States, with over 330,000 units being registered in 2017. They are so popular that there is a brand of restaurants called Aberdeen Angus Steakhouses that have opened and around the London area, and there were 30 outlets in 2001.
The popularity of cattle has produced a large and thriving dairy industry in Scotland. Huge amounts of milk, cream and cheese are produced daily and sold all around the United Kingdom. The Dunlop Cheese is from East Ayrshire and is famed for its sweet taste and soft texture.
Fish have always been a popular part of the Scottish diet, whether they have been taken from the sea, the rivers or the Lochs. The cod industry in Scotland has suffered from over fishing by foreign vessels and has resulted in the supplies of the fish dwindling. Recently, protective measures have seen in a recovery in the numbers of cod available.
The fish supper has always been popular in the country and is basically cod and chips that are deep-fried. Another popular fish is haddock, and one of the most famous varieties are the “Arbroath Smokies.” The haddock is landed in the port of Arbroath and then they are salted overnight and left to dry. The following day they are hung over a hardwood fire and left to smoke for just under an hour.
The most famous fish in Scotland is the Salmon and, like the cod, in recent times the country has suffered from the fish’s dwindling supplies. For years, salmon have been found in the county’s rivers and the fish has been popularly served both fresh and smoked.
The salmon is seen as a game fish and Scotland has many other types of game animals that have been consumed by those people who are able to afford them. Deer, grouse partridge and rabbit have flourished on Scotland’s estates and today much of this produce is available in the country’s restaurants.