Appeal to uncover ‘Treasured Tastes’

Seven-year-old Darcey Burnham is pictured in the kitchen with Shirley Spear.
Seven-year-old Darcey Burnham is pictured in the kitchen with Shirley Spear.

Local residents are being urged to share their food memories following a nationwide appeal by chef Shirley Spear and VisitScotland.

The appeal hopes to unearth Scotland’s most treasured tastes.

Whether it is a plate of Granny Mary’s mince and tatties devoured after a game of hide and seek in her Banchory garden; or a comforting bowl of Uncle Jim’s Scotch Broth following a long walk along Aberdeen Beach - the national tourism organisation wants to highlight the places and people behind the country’s favourite family meals and recipes handed-down through the generations.

An estimated £42.4m is spent on food and drink every year by visitors from Great Britain staying overnight in Aberdeen City and Shire, figures have revealed. Among its plethora of culinary offerings, the region is renowned for local favourites including the Aberdeen Rowie, or Buttery, as well as local delicacies including Cullen Skink and Finnan Haddie.

As a lasting legacy of the Year of Food and Drink 2015, a number of the memories will be compiled into a unique one-off recipe book entitled - You’ll have had yer tea? - Treasured tastes of Scotland. The book, due to be published later in year, will take readers on a culinary journey from the shores of Shetland all the way down to the rolling hills of the Scottish Borders.

As well as showcasing traditional food and drink, the book will shine a light on the personal stories behind family recipes, inspiring readers to revive great home-cooking as well as encouraging them to come and sample Scotland’s wonderful natural larder.

Shirley said: “It’s such a pleasure to be involved in this delightful project. I’ve long been an ambassador of family cooking. Some of my most cherished memories are of spending time with my Mum, baking jam tarts and fairy cakes, followed years later with teaching my own children how to cook simple, basic things at home and making the most of seasonal ingredients such as gooseberries and rhubarb from the garden and turning them into delicious treats. And now I hope to pass on stories about where our all our delicious ingredients come from to my grandchildren.”