Well, here we are back in the good old 51st state. We had a great time in Scotland, first in Dundee, Mairi’s birthplace, and then in a quiet-now-the-festival’s-finished Edinburgh.
Dundee was an experience for me, never having been before. Had a tour of the old haunts, primary school, the beautiful, burned-to-the-ground but now being restored Morgan Academy, and of course the chippy.
A delicacy to be savoured was the macaroni cheese pie, eaten hot or cold, with hot chips with salt and vinegar, and of course the red sauce. Fantastic, but very non-Atkins-friendly. This is good because the Atkins diet is frankly scary – but as is normal with these fad diets (sorry, ‘lifestyle changes’), people get very tetchy towards non-believers.
Broughty Ferry is along the Tay estuary, and is a great little coastal town – not much to do there, mind, but the peace and view makes up for it.
We stayed with some family friends of Mairis, who were very nice and hospitable. Beautiful house too. They kept urging us to sell up and move to Dundee or thereabouts. Detached stone 3 bedroom house for the cost of a taxi ride to Waterloo, or something.
Then to Edinburgh, which is always busy, but the edge had been taken off by the festival being over. Very relaxing. Went to a nice ‘contemporary Scottish’ restaturant, where I had haggis (of course), but haggis in filo pastry with red wine sauce. Lovely stuff. A bit slack on the veggie options though. I’m not veggie myself, but Mairi is, and it’s very frustrating for us when we’re trying to find a decent restaurant. The trouble is, IMHO, that really gastronautical places would rather die than limit what they could serve, because they’re very snobbish. This snobbery translates into a breathtaking lack of imagination. Roasted vegetables ahoy! French cuisine (once the best in the world, but now stagnating and complacent, apparently) is another case of, “if you don’t eat meat, you don’t love food” which is of course nonsense. Alternatively, you get veggie places which seem to lump all veggies into a kind of ‘knit your own yoghurt’ pigeonhole, with wholemeal pasta being offered. This consists of sawdust, flour and water mixed to a paste and extruded.