The Table of My Ancestors: Week 1 (Scotland)

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To read the post that started it all, click here!

To kick off my month of all things Scotland, I decided to recreate one of my favorite Scottish meals: steak pie. My Papa, who had been a chef at one of the castles back in Edinburgh, used to make this one for me a lot. I thought about him as I coated stew meat in flour, as I sliced the onions, as I brushed the pastry with an egg wash.

To this day, I firmly believe my Papa was the greatest man who ever lived. Silver haired with icy blue eyes, all of my early memories have him in them. The way I’d snuggle with him in his armchair. Him spinning me on the merry-go-round. His straight back as he stood at the stove, stirring and tasting and simmering. Food was one of the ways he showed love and oh, everything certainly tastes better when it’s cooked with love, doesn’t it?

To be honest, I chose to start my ancestral journey with Scotland because it’s the largest piece of myself — the one I feel most attuned to. And my Papa (as well as my Nana) are the reasons for that. They spoke of the old country often, and after fifty+ years in Canada, they never lost their thick Scottish brogue. I have long felt connected to the land of their birth (my mother’s birth, too; they didn’t immigrate until she was a young girl), so it seemed fitting to begin the story with them. With Scotland. With a Scottish steak pie which was, admittedly, too heavy-handed on the salt and a little soupier than I would have liked. (I can hear Papa’s voice now: Aye, dinnae mind!) Because it was cooked with love.

A few highlights:

Making the bouquet garni from fresh herbs
This is a great meal to serve with mashed tatties (potatoes) & boiled peas
The puff pastry might just be is the best part — look at that crispy top!



1 Comment
  • Marilyn Como
    September 4, 2021

    |When I was a child, our families were very close. Your Papa and Nana (Ann and Jimmy McIntee) my Mum and Dad (Patricia and Peter Fergus (my Mum was your Papa’s sister) Jean and Bill Eastway (my Mum’s aunt Jean and her husband Bill. Jean was a sister to your Papa’s mum Euphamia Munro). Your great grandparents Euphamia and James McIntee Sr. and Helen and George Wallace (Helen was my Dad’s sister), would get together once a month, for party night They took turns at each other’sthey house. As kids we were dragged along to spend time with our cousins and listen to them unwillinglingly sing their songs They all had their favorite song which they sang at all functions and we listened while they sang and smoked. When I think about it now, I realize that they were having a great time together. As a child I thought it was pretty lame.

    Your papa was a great cook. I had many meals that their house., My father was also a good cook (not in the chef league, but good). It is funny that both men were such good cooks and that neither Ann or my Mum cooked unless there was no other choice.

    I think in both cases their cooking was a way to share their love.

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