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"Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food" Michael Pollan.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Quote for the Day

"Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food"
Michael Pollan

Monday, January 25, 2010


A Man's a Man for A' That
is my favorite Burns poem so I'm posting it!

Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that.
Our toils obscure an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The Man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an' a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man's a Man for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that:
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that:
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that;
But an honest man's abon his might,
Gude faith, he maunna fa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities an' a' that;
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.

About this song

This is a song by Robert Burns. It was written in 1795.One of Burns' greatest hits, A Man's a Man for A' That is a song that promotes both Burns' political and moral sensibilities. Published anonymously in The Glasgow Magazine for fear of recriminations or even arrest, it is thought the song is proof of Burns' support for the Revolution in France, and is often used as evidence of Burns holding 'socialist' ideals.What seems beyond doubt is that Burns was influenced by Thomas Paine's The Right's of Man, both of them dealing with idea of liberty, equality and universal human rights. With these themes to the fore it is interesting, and hopefully prophetic, that this was the song chosen to be sung at the opening of the first devolved Scottish Parliament

Interesting News Article Just in time for Burns Night

Banned Scottish Dish Allowed Back in US

Updated: Monday, 25 Jan 2010, 2:48 PM EST
Published : Monday, 25 Jan 2010, 2:44 PM EST


(MYFOX NATIONAL) – After being banned for 21 years, haggis will soon be allowed back into the United States.

According to Wikipedia haggis is a Scottish specialty dish that contains sheep's offal (heart, liver and lungs,) minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally simmered in the animal's stomach for approximately three hours.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expected to lift restrictions on the import of the dish, according to Reuters .

The news comes as Scots and fans of Robert Burns gather to toast the famous poet's life. Burns night , which is celebrated on Jan. 25, usually includes a toast of whiskey and a festive dinner with haggis as the main dish, presented with bagpipe fanfare and saluted with Burns poem "The Address To A Haggis."

U.S. authorities prohibited haggis over food safety fears that its main ingredient, sheep's lungs, could potentially be lethal.

The Guardian reported that during the ban some Scots would smuggle into the U.S. a haggis for their relatives. And butchers in the U.S. have tried to make their own versions of the pudding without using the vital ingredient: sheep.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Do you use a spurtle?

I received a spurtle for Christmas this year and must admit-I use it all the time. I make real oatmeal a few time a week and somehow feel like I am connecting with women from long ago when I stir my pot with a stout stick! The spurtle (or "spirtle") is a Scots kitchen tool that dates from at least the fifteenth century. It evolved from a flat, wooden, spatula-like utensil that was used for flipping oatcakes on a hot cookstone.

Over time, the implement changed shape and began being used specifically for stirring oatmeal and soups. The rod-like shape is designed for constant stirring which prevents the porridge from becoming lumpy.It looks like a fat wooden dowel, often with a contoured thistle shaped end to give the user a better grip. It is in common use throughout most of Scotland.

The Annual World Porridge Cooking contest is held in Scotland every years. Cooks compete for the "Golden Spurtle". This contest was won last year by a cook using Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats-readily available in the natural foods section of most grocery stores.It takes about 20 minutes to cook but the tasty result is well worth the effort

Oats For Your Health

Oatcakes are one of the oldest of all Celtic foods. Traditionally, they were cooked over the fire on a griddle, then hung on a hardening stand to dry and harden. Oats were soaked in the water overnight and a batch was reheated again the following day. Traditionally, oat porridge was served with a pinch of salt. Porridge was a mainstay in Scotland. Various forms of oatmeal can be found in many grocery stores and whole food markets in America. The most common form is rolled oats. Scottish oatmeal or Irish oatmeal is also available. Steel cut oats, which are also called pinhead oats, require soaking and considerable preparation for use. In America the Scotch- Irish brought their love of oats with them and oatmeal eventually became a commercially produced commodity. Quaker Oats was registered as the first trademarked breakfast cereal in 1877. The company’s trademark was registered with the U.S. Patent Office as "a figure of a man in 'Quaker garb,'" selected as a symbol of good quality and honest value.


For each serving use:
1 cup water
1/3 cup Scottish or Irish oatmeal
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Bring water to a boil, then add salt. Add oatmeal slowly to boiling water while stirring constantly. [Traditionally a special wooden stick, called a spurtle is used.]

2. Half cover pot, turn heat to low. Stir occasionally until porridge thickens at 30 minutes. Add more salt if you wish. Usually eaten with cream or milk and sugar to taste.

2 cups Scottish or Irish oatmeal
1 cup sifted flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. water
2 Tbsp. butter

1. Mix oatmeal with flour, baking soda and salt. Make a hole in the mixture.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons water, add butter, bring mixture to a boil and then pour into the hole in the flour mixture. Mix together quickly. Knead lightly to create a stiff dough.
3. Roll out on floured surface. Cut into 3” rounds.
4. Cook both sides on heated griddle or bake on a lightly greased tray at 350 ยบ F for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 15 oatcakes.