Off to Scotland with Mum

22 Jul 2009, Posted by Jennifer Iannolo in food

The first time I traveled to Scotland with my mother was in 2004, when the Culinary Media Network was a mere blog-type thing called “Gastronomic Meditations,” and my newsletter had about 4 subscribers. It was my first time there, and we were able to visit the house in which she was born — many, many moons ago. Don’t tell her I said that.

I wrote a few things about my discoveries then, so I thought I’d recap my first impressions (listed at the end of this post).

Next week Chef Mark and I are taking Mom back for a little retracing of the roots — this time on video. Incidentally, since she has thoroughly become an American despite the lingering Scottish lilt in her voice, I don’t call her Mum. She’d probably box my ears. Given the scare we had with her very serious heart attack last year, this trip is nothing short of a miracle, so I’m beyond grateful that we have the opportunity to do it at all.

2009 is a very special year for those of Scottish heritage, who have been invited to take part in Homecoming Scotland. For the entire year, the country has thrown open its doors to everyone of Scottish descent, so if there’s a trace of Bonnie Scotland in your blood, get your kilt over there lest you miss all the fun. Alas, we will arrive just after the largest clan gathering in history in Edinburgh; I would have been enraptured by big hulking men in kilts throwing telephone poles around, so it may be just as well.

Our journey will begin in Inverness, where my mother was born, and where our clan made its greatest impression (my ancestor, Duncan Forbes, built the monument at the Culloden battlefield). Then we will wind our way along the Whisky Coast, where we’ll visit some distilleries and sample a nip or two of Scotch. After that it’s down toward Glasgow for a visit with our pal Chef Tom Lewis of Monachyle Mhor — this part excites me terribly, because we’re going to make a clootie dumpling. That damnable recipe has eluded me for nearly a decade, and I *will* get it right. Though I am waiting for Mom to get after him while we’re in the kitchen if he doesn’t do something the way she remembers. This is going to be a hoot.

I’ll also be spending some time with my cousins in dear old Glaesgae, where they will speak to me in sing-songy tones I’ll barely understand, but we’ll laugh and drink and play music until the wee hours.

I’m hoping we have good internet access while we’re away so I can bring you along, but one never knows. “Access” is a relative term, I find. After our stint in Scotland we’ll be traveling on to Wales and the Costwolds, so this should be quite a fascinating trip. Lots more to come!

Ancient posts (2004):

Off to the Land of Haggis
A Trip to the Chippy
For the Love of Archibald