Feeding The Alien: The Scottish Way

Where I came from, we have numerous regional food. Each province has their own way to do rice. Each city has their own kind of soup, or broth, or stew. Every time my friend and I talked about travelling locally, we would have a dedicated time of the day to savour the rich variety of food in my planet. Culinary travelling… That’s how we call it. Somehow, though, the possibility of local speciality food in Britain never occurred to me when I first arrived here.

Of course as time went by, I learned that faraway there on the South West part of the island they have Cornish Pasties, or here in Norfolk we are quite famous for our Cromer Crab. But that’s about it.

British people are really good at making crisps, though. They’re very creative with these…

So, when I thought of travelling within the UK, culinary travelling has never crossed my mind. Yes, we do have gazillion castles, and ruins, and monasteries, and churches, and museums, and galleries, and everything that shouts history. But food… I remember one anecdote I heard before… “British people don’t have cuisine… They have food… ” Shame that I don’t really remember where I heard that.

The lack of finesse in culinary department was also depicted in Agatha Christie’s novel, where our beloved Belgian sleuth, Poirot had to deal with British food. That’s been the running joke, of course. I do love British food, and I think some of them are simply gorgeous. However coming from a culture that worship food, I can totally understand Poirot’s frustration

Therefore, after trying several fry-ups, and fish and chips, I have to admit that I didn’t have a lot of expectation about British food. And, all those rambling was just to justify my ignorance of Scottish food.

The ignorant me thought that Scottish food means Oatcakes



The first time I went to Scotland was just to go to a rock concert. In the B&B, I was offered “Full Scottish Breakfast”. I was excited then, but I realised that what I got there was basically fry ups which the English called “Full English Breakfast”. I am pretty sure if you go to Cardiff, they will call it “Full Welsh Breakfast”. So, I have decided for a while, so that I wouldn’t offend anyone, I might just call it “The Fryups”.

Since then, and until I went to Edinburgh last week, I never went to Scotland anymore. My knowledge about Scottish food was limited to whisky, and oat — both in oatmeal and oatcake. Ooooh, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE oatcakes. Scottish rough oatcakes, plain — just the best way to enjoy it. And whisky… well, I am not so good at handling my alcohol, so I have to be careful with that pokey stuff.

No, I haven’t drunk it yet. That drip of 25ml is the serving size
I did try local whisky in Edinburgh. My goodness, it felt like my face and throat melt on the first sip. I have to say though, the aftertaste was wonderful… In case you wanted to try it too, I tried: Highland Park 12 Year from Orkney. I tried it in Bar 50 in Edinburgh.

If you’re into a less pokey alcoholic drink, there’s also a local product called Hollyrood pale ale. Fruity and tasty, but if I have to choose, between both, I will pick the whisky.

This one has a better serving size…
But the best thing about Scottish food is what I just learned on my last visit to Edinburgh. And it is called: Haggis.

Okay… a lot of people would ask about what Haggis actually is, but then when I explain they would go, “eeew…. you eat that?” Seriously, why the hell not? It is probably one of the best thing I have every tried. When I had my first bite of Haggis, it was the moment I questioned everything in life, and wondered to myself: How could I live without knowing anything about this food?

Well, it was a bit hyperbolic. But I am being serious about how tasty it is.

No, I am not joking. This is a smaller portion.
I heard about Haggis for so many years from my grumpy darling, but only when I was in Edinburgh I got the chance to finally tasted it. It was not without struggle though. Most of Scottish food was served in a gigantic portion, which I could never be able to finish without hurting myself permanently. My opportunity came when I found a restaurant who served both Haggis, and children size fryup breakfast.

I asked the lady if I could swap the bacon with the haggis. Don’t… I know bacon is tasty, but trust me, there is world outside bacon. And the swap was worth every bite, okay? And with that, I owe a huge apology to Scotland for my ignorance about your food culture. Your Haggis has opened my eyes and satisfied my taste buds.

There you go… Scotland fed me, and it fed me well… I am a happy alien.

Starving the caveman….

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had quit smoking. It was a bit of a “bugger of a journey” but I managed it.

… For two months. Then I started smoking again.

I have no excuses, just reasons. Basically I had a big “stress event” and subsequently cracked open a pack of cigarettes that I had left over after quitting.

I knew that I was being reckless and I thought that I would stop after that packet. Guess what? I was wrong.

The addiction and compulsion kicked in scarily fast. Before I knew it I had finished the packet and bought some baccy. Then some more. The daily amount that I smoked ramped up quickly and I have ended up smoking a metric shit-ton of rollups per day.

What an idiot!

It’s taken me a while but something has clicked in my head and I’m going to have to try to quit

I was happy that my doctor allowed me to retry the course of anti-smoking pills. They are the only method that helped me to quit. I have already started them and set my quit date.

And so to the point of this post.

This will be the start of a sort of diary. I will be putting down what it’s like during the quitting process. Chances are it’ll be me moaning a lot about how it sucks but it might be interesting (and possibly helpful) to some who read it. I also expect some freaky weird dreams too (although if they are too freaky I may edit!)

I’m also hoping that it’ll help me too.
Why have I titled it “starving the caveman”?

It is because the pill apparently targets the “primitive” part of the brain – the “older” bit that used to (and does) deal with the more basic stuff and survival needs. And base urges.  That is opposed to the frontal lobe (or something) which deals more with logic and rational thinking.

… Basically the primitive part of the brain can be very persuasive and it’s demands of “I want” can drown out the “but it’s not good for you” response from the logical part of the brain.

I’m pretty sure that description isn’t technically accurate but it’s good enough for me.

The “caveman” is a persona that I have imagined to represent those “primitive” urges. In my mind he is tall, lanky, and brutish. He also carries a tree branch club. This persona will represent the “primitive” part of the brain and help me to visualise (and hopefully “conquer”) the feelings of withdrawal. Basically he is my addiction and my compulsion personified. The caveman is the bits of the brain that want the nicotine and as I stop smoking ill be starving the caveman of what he wants.

Dunno how twisted that logic is but it works for me.

My quit date is in a couple of days (although I could have up to 7 more days to quit) and I’m already trying to cut down to lessen the impact of cold turkey.

Fingers crossed!