The diet of Buchan farmservants in the 1920s; dishes and the...

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Title - The diet of Buchan farmservants in the 1920s; dishes and the...
Contributors - Charles Fiddes Reid
Reporters - Alan J. Bruford

Summary - The diet of Buchan farmservants in the 1920s; dishes and their names.

Charles Reid recalls the dinners [i.e. midday meals] provided for Buchan farmservants. 'Yaval broth' was second-day broth (yaval oats are a second successive crop of oats). Mr Reid describes stovies and soup-tatties (potato soup). There might also be a rice or semolina pudding. There was always milk and as many oatcakes as the men could eat. In Buchan tatties are 'chappit' (mashed). The fisherfolk used to dry cod and ling on the rocks. This salty 'hard fish' was flaked into mashed potatoes, and the result, called 'hairy Willies', made the workers thirsty all afternoon. Tatties and mince was a great luxury on Saturdays. Supper might be 'gutta percha divots [turfs]', that is saps (stale bread with hot milk). Alternatively it might be porridge, possibly with the luxury of a boiled egg. Knotty tams was brose made with milk. It was a very heavy meal, especially for a Wednesday night when the men visited their girlfriends and danced. Mr Reid quotes from the song ['The Barnyards o Delgaty'] describing this lumpy brose.

In Mr Reid's childhood, the usual evening meal was still based on neeps [turnips] or curly kail, chappit with cream. As a luxury they might be boiled with a marrowbone. The bree [cooking water] was the basis for broth. [Break in tape.] Mr Reid recalls being surprised to find that in Fife and Perth 'kail' meant brose of any kind. He tells a story about a farmer serving a diseased hen to his workers. However, farmservants did get enough calories. Mr Reid describes how fresh herring were prepared, as Boothby recommended.

Track Duration (h:m:s) - 00:12:18
Date Recorded - 1980.11.18
Date of Content - 1910 to 1925
Language - English, Scots
Genre - Story, Information
Collection - School of Scottish Studies

Track ID - 49082
Original Tape ID - SA1980.102
Original Track ID - SA1980.102
Audio Quality - Good
Audio Format - R2R

Recording Location:
  County - Midlothian
  Parish - Edinburgh
  Village - Edinburgh

Item Notes - For 'yaval', see The Scottish National Dictionary (available online [[]], accessed 3 June 2009) s.v. 'aval' noun. Robert Boothby was a North-East MP from the 1920s-1950s and an advocate of the virtues of herring as a food.

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