Food, glorious Buchan food

My grandad used to make his own potted head.
My grandad used to make his own potted head.

A conversation about those foods your mum and granny used to make in days gone by got me thinking about what was served up on a weekly basis back in the day.

Having spent a lot of my time at my granny's house (where Donalds in St. Andrew Street is now), I can recall many a happy time when all the family sat round the table, discussing their day and enjoying the slap-up meal in front of them.

The smell of vinegar wafted through the house as my granny made soused herring.

The smell of vinegar wafted through the house as my granny made soused herring.

By today's standard, it may not have looked much, but back then it was something to look forward to.

My granny, like many of her generation, had her 'days' for specific foodstuffs. With the usual roast having been served up on a Sunday, Monday meant the leftovers were turned into stovies. These were made with sausages, beef, pork...whatever, but always tasted devine.

There usually followed soup of some kind in the middle of the week, a quick-fix towards the end of the week (eggs, chips and beans perhaps?) and fish somewhere in between.

Having two butchers in nearby proximity, the harbour within walking distance, a convenience store nearby and a bakery up the road, food was plentiful in my granny's house.

Stovies were served up on a Monday using whatever was left over from Sunday lunch.

Stovies were served up on a Monday using whatever was left over from Sunday lunch.

As far as fish was concerned we had the delights of sa't herring, hairy tatties, soused herring and kippers regularly. It was rare for my grandad to make a trip down to the harbour and not return with a 'fry' from a friendly fisherman - sometimes he even returned with parton claws or fish roe (rawn), which we enoyed smothered in vinegar and pepper.

Broth was a staple at my granny's house with a wonderful mealie dumpling boiled in the pan at the same time. It had to have plenty of onions though! I remember it being created with a white cloth (muslin or even a handkerchief (clean, of course), wrapped up and popped into the boiling liquid.

I often had the honour of 'unwrapping' the finished product as we all waited eagerly for a portion. Broth just didn't taste the same without a mealie duff to accompany it.

With the butcher just across the road in Rose Street, my grandad was a dab hand at making potted head. He would acquire half a head and then boil it up (we tasted this at all stages).It was then put through a mincer with some bread, poured into dishes and left to set with a thick lair of jelly on the top. I must admit, it was absolutely delicious with some brown sauce on top.

My grandad had a love of tripe - something which wasn't shared by the rest of us!

My grandad had a love of tripe - something which wasn't shared by the rest of us!

One thing my grandad enjoyed, but none of us shared his enthusiasm for - was tripe. Again, I used to be dispensed to the butcher to buy some for him, along with lard for the home-made chips, which were always a welcome addition to any supper dish.

With Ferguson the baker just along the road, a trip to the bingo for my mum meant coming back to my granny's with hot pies and cookies (butteries), the back o' nine on a Friday night when everyone seemed to congregate to enjoy the late-night snack. No wonder I'm the size I am!

My dad was from a farming background, and I always remember him making brose in the morning. As a little girl, I was fascinated by this and when he mentioned peasemeal brose I asked if I could try some. After weeks of attempting to get the ingredients, I finally had a bowl in front of me. It was green for a start and, I'm afraid, not very appetising. My dad ate it up but I can say it was the one and only time I ever tried it.

I'm sure there are much more dishes that I could have highlighted. These are just a few, but they certainly evoked fond memories and have sparked many a conversation.