Monday, November 30, 2009

Saint Andrew's Pots

The thirtieth of November is St Andrew's Day, Scotland's national day. This is usually celebrated quietly enough, with a supper. There would be haggis and other traditional dishes like herring in oatmeal. In all likelihood, a Scottish trifle, which is an extravagance borrowed from the French, would be on the menu. No supper would be complete without a piper and, as on Burns night, the haggis would be led into the hall by a piper. The main dish is simple peasant fare and none the worse for that. But it takes many pots to make it - as you can see. St Andrew, the apostle, was a fisherman and he is believed to have been crucified in Greece. Some years after AD300, for safekeeping, most of his bones were later moved to Scotland - because to King Constantine this was "at the ends of the earth". From there, some remains were taken to Amalfi in Italy but some fragments were returned to Scotland in 1879 and yet more recently in 1969. As a fisherman, Saint Andrew would certainly have been familiar with herring in oatmeal. So here's wishing everyone in the old country a very pleasant evening of food and poetry in the Year of Homecoming.