Those who know me recognize that I’m a bit fanatical about my Scottish blood (even though 23andMe says I have none—they’re wrong, wrong, wrong). This year is my Scottish Christmas. I ordered the new Jacqui Lawson Advent Calendar because it’s set in Edinburgh. When my grandkids were little, I got each family a wall-hanging advent calendar, with little pockets for each day and a collection of trinkets to match to the pockets. On the last day you put the Baby Jesus in his cradle or something like that. I doubt any of the families even still have those hangings—kids have grown beyond them.
But I told Jacob I’d ordered the computer calendar and asked if we could do it together. He agreed. The calendar arrived electronically and sat on my computer because it would be a sin to look at it before Dec. 1. About Thanksgiving, he said, “It’s almost time to do the calendar, Juju” which meant, to me, a bit of anticipation on his part. I was delighted. So far (three evenings) he’s come out to the cottage, so we could open it together.
The Dec. 1 scene was in a marvelous restaurant with a Tiffany-like dome where I have actually eaten—my favorite place in Edinburgh, probably my favorite restaurant in Scotland aside from some village pubs. I was thrilled, and Jacob seemed impressed.
Today a present from longtime friends arrived. They had told me to open it before Christmas, and I did—three wonderful Scottish ornaments for my tiny tree: a bagpipe, a thistle, and a shaggy Highland cow wearing plaid. I’ll ask Jacob to hang them on my table-top tree tonight.
The same friend acknowledged my thanks with some advice about Christmas food from Scotland—single malt Scotch is okay but avoid the haggis. I’ve actually voluntarily eaten haggis more than once—with neeps and tatties. But he got me thinking about Scottish food. I expected lots of trout, venison, lamb, and maybe kidneys on a grand British-style breakfast board. Never saw any of that, though I did try blood sausage. My favorite food, I think, was the Cumberland sausage, but it, like haggis, needed brown gravy.
And then there’s that three-ingredient fruitcake recipe that I got from a Scottish-themed website. But I’m saving that for a post on the Gourmet on a Hot Plate blog.