The Table of My Ancestors: Weeks 3 and 4 (Scotland)

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

For food in week 3, I chose to make what is perhaps the most well-known Scottish food: haggis. Now, I’ve eaten it before when I was growing up, and I didn’t like it one bit. But tastes change, and I’m trying to be adventurous during this whole journey, so I decided to give it another go. I found a recipe for haggis bon-bons (don’t worry, no chocolate was involved!) that simply required rolling the haggis into balls, coating them in a flour/egg/bread crumb mixture, and then deep-frying them. Less than an hour later, I had 24 crispy haggis bon-bons ready to go.

And I…did not like them. Neither did my husband. And the kids refused to try them…
But honestly? I was ok with them being a total flop. Because I realized maybe that’s kind of the point of this whole journey. Rediscovering my ancestry does not mean I have to be tied down to it. My past doesn’t need to be my present or even my future. It can simply be.

(I am happy to report that the dessert, which was a non-alcoholic tipsy laird featuring layers of vanilla cake soaked in boiled strawberry jam with orange juice (traditionally, whisky is added too), layered with strawberries, homemade custard, and homemade whipped cream went over much better! As did the second dessert I made, cranachan, which is  homemade whipped cream with folded in toasted oats and honey, layered with raspberry purée, then another cream mixture layer, and topped with toasted almonds and drizzled with honey.

The other dinner I made was rumbledethumps, which I had never heard of, but I liked the name! The recipe seemed like it was essentially a shepherd’s pie, and it turned out really good! I did omit the turnips and just used mashed potatoes, which worked better for us.

This month, I also came across a great store across the pond called The Scotland Shop. They make clothing, accessories, and home decor out of traditional Scottish tartan, the cloth that represents the different clans of Scotland. As I’ve mentioned, I have always felt connected to my Scottish ancestry, mostly because my family would often reminisce about “the old country” as a way to keep that connection alive. My mother was born in Edinburgh, and she moved to Canada with her sister, my grandparents, and great-grandparents in the 1960s. When I was a toddler, my grandparents fitted me for my very own kilt + vest in the Munro tartan — the colors and design of our family’s clan. I still have that outfit, and the photo of me wearing it hangs in our home. So this month, I decided to order an accessory in the Munro tartan that adult Elena can wear, as a nod to my heritage. It took several weeks to arrive from Edinburgh, but it’s perfect. And whenever I wear this tartan, I will remember I am Scottish and proud.