Published in Shetland Life magazine in November 2016
During my stint as an electrician on Glaswegian building sites I was party to several conversations with colleagues who had an even shallower appreciation of food than I did. Debates included, “Why does milk hae a cow as a logo. Is there cows that live near the factory?” and “Pork canae come fae a pig - it’s bacon that comes fae a pig. And does ham come fae turkeys? Y’know, that turkey ham?”
I was able to fill my colleagues in with the basics, but my culinary knowledge didn’t extend much beyond that. I’m still a relative newcomer to the pleasures of food and the satisfaction of cooking. Until fairly recently my diet was poor at best - it’s probable that I had early-stage scurvy due to the absence of fresh fruit and veg for a decade or two.
As a bairn, I was always well fed on good wholesome fayre - nothing too fancy though, as I was a bit of a fusspot. Mince and tatties and tomato soup (and of course Sassermaet Clatch) were the order of the day. But I can’t recall ever actually cooking anything during my childhood. I was too spoilt to have to do ‘chores’ like that.
When I cut the apron strings in my late teens, I degenerated into a skint student who had neither knowledge nor interest in food. My culinary goal was to spend as little as possible on grub so my budget could stretch to more days in the pub. I lived on ‘economy burgers’ (the distant relatives of meat) and 10p cans of soup. It was a pitiful attempt at sustenance, but I had a great time in the pub.