Scottish Cooking and Cookbooks
Except, perhaps, for haggis, traditional Scottish food will be comfortingly familiar to Americans of Scottish descent because so many Scottish recipes have been adapted or transformed into common American fare - consider a hearty barley-vegetable soup (Scotch broth), pot pies (Scotch pies), or what our family calls hamburger hash (stovied tatties, to the Scots).
(For a great resource on Scottish-American cooking, see Kay Shaw Nelson's cookbook, The Art of Scottish-American Cooking - dozens of scrumptous recipes, historical notes on foods the Scots introduced to the US, histories of Scots-American food companies and inventions, eg. Campbell Soup, much, much more.)
Being none too rich and careful of their resources, Scots cooking relies on basic ingredients cooked up to warm the innards and provide strength and energy - what we consider a good "meat and potatoes" diet (though often easy on the meat).
While the lowlanders relied on mutton (and sheep innards are the basis of haggis, a sort of sausage made with sheep offal and oatmeal), the Highlanders always preferred beef and running cattle (and appropriating other clans' cattle) was their way of life. To them we owe the succulent pleasure of Angus beef.
Interestingly, the Scots do not care for pork (the Highlanders despised pigs), even though their Irish ancestors were big pork eaters, so you won't find pork mentioned much in Scottish cookbooks.
Living in a land of isles, lochs and burns, fish and seafood have been Scottish staples from time immemorial - if you want to know what to do with salmon, crab, scallops, and all the rest, the Scots can tell you.
The Scottish people have a strong sweet tooth (as do most Americans) and are famed for shortbread, scones, and other wonderful treats, many relying on honey (heather honey) and berries for their sweet flavor. The "Black Bun" is an extremely rich fruit cake named for its dark color.
Vegetables grown and eaten in Scotland include potatoes, turnips, carrots, cabbage, peas and cauliflower -- all suitable for their climate. Fruits are mostly berries - raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, currants, and more.
Wheat flour is used now, of course, but the traditional oatmeal and barley are still basic to most Scots recipes (and barley is the necessary ingredient for the beverage of choice!). Bannocks are traditional oat and barley cakes baked on a griddle. The Scots make and eat a lot of cheese, particularly a soft white cheese called "crowdie" that sounds similar to cottage cheese.
Scottish cooking, with its emphasis on delicious, easy-to-prepare, and economical meals, is not only fun for the cook, but a sure-fire family pleaser. Additionally, the extensive use of fish, seafood, oatmeal and fresh fruit and vegetables make it healthy as well. The Scots use broth, much more than fat, to simmer food -- the word "fried" occurs rarely. Scottish-Americans can easily incorporate Scottish cooking into their family lifestyles and pass it along to future generations.
Here are some Scottish cookbooks to get you started:
Scottish Traditional Recipes: A Celebration of the Food and Cooking of Scotland
By Carol Wilson and Christopher Trotter
Traditional recipes shown in step-by-step directions - over 300 color photos
Maw Broon's Cookbook
By Waverley Books
Based off Scotland's most beloved cartoon family, the nation's favorite, most popular traditional recipes and a true slice of Scottish culture
The Art of Scottish-American Cooking
By Kay Nelson
Wonderful history of Scottish-American contributions to the American culinary experiment, over 200 recipes
Scottish Teatime Recipes
By Johanna Mathie
One of a delightful series of "little" books with charming illustrations and delicious recipes