Having recently discovered a quaint little book of accounts for a Scottish household from 1737 to 39, I will compile a partial report of the daily foods served on an upper class table from Jan., 1737 through 1739.
Eggs in some form (in the shell, buttered, with spinach, omelets, etc.) were found almost daily for dinner or supper.
Haggis was rarely found except when it was for the servants of the household rather than for the family’s dinner. It (sometimes spelled hags) was specified to be for the servants 68 times compared to 3 times when it was for the family.
Spinach and eggs was served several times a week, seemingly most of the year, which means spinach was grown almost year round.
Cows were killed more often than oxen, cows were milked on the farm, cheese is mentioned for the family only twice for dinner and three times at supper, sometimes in the form of cheese cakes. Like haggis, cheese was mentioned mostly for the servants. Butchering at home, and meat bought in quarters and sides (half a cow) account for the meat served.
Sheep was the standard meat throughout the year and hoge referred to a fat sheep, as in mutton of the hoge. Kids and buckies (shellfish), pigs, calves, lambs, etc. were found, and eggs appear daily, bought by the dozen, some months amounting to 60 dozen or so. Eggs and poultry may have been among the items used by tenants to pay rent to the lord. Ducklings were served in June and July, muscovy in September indicating seasonality. A dovecot was found on most if not all manor properties.
Plovers and wood-pigeon, ptarmigans, blackbirds, snipe, and unnamed birds were found in the spring. Game served most often as it was to be found, the most common being:
Hares: Oct., Nov., Dec., Jan., Feb., total: 30
Woodcock: Oct., Nov., Dec., Jan., Feb., total: 163
Partridges: Sept., Oct., Nov., Dec., Jan., Feb., total 51
Wild duck: Nov., Dec., Jan., Feb., total: 24
Teal: Oct., Dec., total 4
Snipe: Oct., Nov., total 3
Moorfowl: Nov., Dec., Jan., total 7
Blackbirds: Nov., total 6
Fish and shellfish were common, including: pike cooked a number of ways, perch (often fried), eels (8, collared and broiled), trout, salmon, herring, haddock, cod, codshead, whitings, flounders, dabs, sole, skate (11), turbit, mackerel, sparlings or smelts, oysters (13, most often scalloped, once pickled, also oyster sauce served with chicken), cockles, mussels (2), lobster (4), buckies, crabs (partons), and dulse and tangle (edible seaweed).
Fruits and vegetables were served in season as well as some were put up for winter use as evidenced by such things as there were tarts in Feb. of apples and gooseberries. Foreign grown lemons and oranges were found along with native grown apples and pears, as were dried fruits for puddings (currants, raisins, citron, orange peel, almonds). Summer months brought peas, beans, artichokes, cucumbers, asparagus, mushrooms, lettuce, carrots, celery, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, nettles, cabbage, kale, various herbs, skirret, potatoes, and scorzonera (spelled scorch-anarrow, a carrot-shaped root similar to salsify). Dads and blads are found on the menus and probably referred to some type of curly greens cooked with whatever meat scraps were available.
Offal (organ meats, feet, etc.) were commonly found in Scotland and elsewhere, and in the menus including: giblets, sweet breads, heads, ears, calves feet, hog cheeks, tongue, lure (udder), heart, liver, (heart and lungs, chiefly used in haggis), cow’s draught (stomach and intestines), etc. Heart , liver, and lungs were called pluck.
Spice purchases in the accounts included black pepper, nutmegs, cinnamon, black spice, mace, and cloves. Mustard, vinegar, salad oil, loaf sugar, and pickles are to be found as well. The barter system was firmly in place, and the kitchen garden contained several herbs for the kitchen.
Daily menus were divided up by the main (mid-day) meal called dinner, and the lighter evening meal called supper. Eggs figured daily in the suppers as do lighter items such as meat pies and puddings which were probably more apt to be savory than sweet. Let’s examine the daily fare for the first month (Jan. 1737), variances in the next 5 months of 1737, and finally a tally for the three year period for some of the items to determine the frequency in which they were served.
Jan 3, 1737: Sheephead broth, fowls in broth, boiled beef, roast mutton, roast fowl, goose giblets, roast mutton, minced pie and herrings, eggs in the shell.
Jan. 4: boyled mutton joints, roast ducks, roast tongue and udder, boiled fish, roast mutton, salad magundy (salad) and cold beefe, eggs buttered on toasts.
Jan. 5: fish, boiled beef with cabbage, roast hare, broiled mutton, roast fowl, broiled fish, roast woodcock.
Jan. 6: sheep head broth, rost mutton, roast capon, fish.
Jan. 7: Fish and Gravy, roast duck, mince pie, fish, roast partridge, small birds, cold beef, Eggs in the shell.
Sat. Jan. 8: fish with crab sauce, roast mutton and fowls, roast partridge, minced pie and crab, cold fowl and cold duck, cold partridge and apple tart, egg in the shell.
Sun. Jan. 9: Hare soop, hares in it, boiled beef, roast goose, fish with egg sauce, scalloped oysters, mince pie, fowls boiled with oyster sauce, roast partridge, spinach and eggs, cold goose.
Jan. 10: giblet broth, boiled mutton, hare and cold goose, mince pie and roast partridges, broiled mutton, roast woodcocks, roast partridges, cold goose and eggs, broiled haddock.
Jan. 11: sheep head broth, roast mutton, roast fowl, roast woodcock, roast partridges, potatoes, eggs in the shell, cold shoulder of mutton.
Jan. 12: Barley broth, boiled ham, boiled fowl, roast fowl, broiled mutton, “oysters and spinage and eggs”.
Jan. 13: hares in soup, mutton, roast fowl, “eggs potatoes and cold ham”.
Jan. 14: sheep head broth, roast fowl, roast partridges, potatoes and eggs in the shell.
Sat. Jan. 15: barley broth, roast hare, fish, roast fowl, puddings, eggs and sweetbreads.
Sun. Jan. 16: Dinner skink and tripe, roast mutton, roast fowl, partridges with celery, fish and apple fritters, roast mutton, pork griskines, eggs buttered, and apples and cream.
Jan. 17: pease soup, roast beef, roast pork, fish tarts and pudding, fowl with oyster sauce, roast mutton, fish tarts and spinach and eggs.
Jan. 18: skink and tripe, boiled geese, roast mutton, tarts and boiled herrings, beef collops, broiled mutton, tripe fricasseed, scalloped oysters, eggs in the shell, tarts, sour cakes fried.
Jan. 19: cockie leekie with fowl in it, roast fowl, minced fowl, hogs cheek cold, eggs in the shell, broiled haddock.
Jan. 20: Barley broth, roast mutton, two fish broiled and a tart, fowl for broth, supper ham eggs a tart and neats [calf] feet”.
Sat. Jan. 21: broth and fish, roast beef, sparlings (smelts) fried, roast mutton, puddings eggs and smoked beef.
Sun. Jan. 22: sheephead broth, fish with eggs, roast beef, roast turkey, tongue and lure [udder], roast partridges, cold turkey, broiled mutton, hogs cheek and eggs buttered.
Jan. 24: cockie leekie fowl in it, boiled beef, roast fowl, omelet of eggs and fish, roast pork, caperata of turkey, roast mutton, small birds and eggs in shell, fowls for broth…
Jan. 25: “dads and blads fouls in it”, cold fowl and broiled fish, boiled fowl, broiled mutton, eggs in the shell, cold ham, sliced.
Jan. 26: giblet broth with fowls in it, roast beef, roast woodcocks, roast partridges, omelet of oysters, wildfowl stewed, potatoes sour cakes and eggs.
Jan. 27: “dads and blads”, fowls boiled in broth, boiled mutton, roast goose, mutton, roast fowl, stewed pears and eggs in shell.
Jan. 28: sheep head broth, boiled beef, roast fowl, supper eggs sour cakes and cold goose.
Sat. Jan. 29: cockie leekie fowl in it, boiled pork, hare collops and pease pudding, roast turkey, roast mutton, stewed partridge, tarts and omelet, broiled fish, cold turkey tarts, hogs cheek and eggs, smoked beef and butter.
Sun. Jan. 30: hares in soup, boiled beef, roast fowl, roast partridge, sauceagis (sausages) and hogs cheek (jowl), fish boiled with egg sauce, caperata of turkey, small birds, eggs on toasts, cold sliced beef, sour cakes fried.
Jan. 31: “dads and blads”, roast fowl, broiled fish, supper eggs in the shell, roast snipes, hogs cheek, cold fowl.
Feb. 1: barley broth fowl in it, roast fowl with egg sauce, apple cake, eggs in the shell, hogs cheek, pickled oysters, smoked beef.
Beginning with February, I will exclude mentioning the basic items such as fried, boiled, roasted, and broiled mutton, beef, pork, lamb, etc. as well as the ever present spinach and eggs, etc., but at the end I will total the number of times foods appeared over the course of the three years the book records.
Through February the meals were similar with moor fowl, “tarmikines” (ptarmigan) calves head hashed, “a custard and spinage and eggs”, roast plover, celery soup with duck in it, “a salad and collops” (sliced meat), bread pudding, eggs buttered and sausage, tripe and potatoes, potato pie and hard fish, mutton in pie, whitings stewed, salmon, roast capon, apple and gooseberry tarts, sago pudding, fried flounders, roast rabbits, almond pudding, apple fritters, hard fish and pease pudding, tansy baked, fried sparlings, baked apples, apple pudding, and stewed prawns.
March differed by the addition of: veal toasts, broiled whitings, stewed flounder , broiled trout, fish boiled with mustard sauce, chine of salmon, sliced boars head, pickled salmon, custard, beef collops, cold salmon, herb soup with fowl in it, black and white puddings, boiled tongue, calves foot jelly, broccoli and collared pigeon, salad with herring, and pancakes.
April: “mutton broyld for brackfast”, “calves head and salmond”, brockla (broccoli), roast pigeon, fried fish (type not specified), skate with egg sauce, soup meager, skate and herring, potted pigeon, hogs feet, fricasseed chicken, lobster, pigeon pie, mutton hash, green kale, pike, veal’s pluck, buttered crabs, skate with mustard sauce, sweetbreads and kidneys, cold skate, “neats feet and asparagus”, haggis, mutton in hodge podge, and rice pudding.
May: green broth, herb soup, asparagus, trout, “fish and hagg[i]s”, sausages fried, “asparagus and a salad” appeared several times per week, obviously asparagus and salad greens were in season, green kale, “cold lamb and spinage”, “cold lamb and sallad”, lamb fricasseed, pancakes, rice pudding, lambs head stoved, and roast tongue with wine sauce.
June: green kale, lobster, peas, duckling, roasted green goose, green pease, (peas, beans, salad greens, and artichokes are mentioned several times during June), fried sole, beans, gooseberry fool, syllabub, cheesecakes, artichokes, “haggs and pease”, fried soles and eggs, sago milk, pickled pork, minced collops, perches, and “pease a salad and perchis (perch)”.
July: beans and peas, artichokes, mutton steaks, fried flounder, green kale, beans and bacon, (beans and bacon, French beans, peas, cauliflower, etc. are seen several times indicating they are in season), “mutton with colly flouer” [cauliflower], “eggs and peas”, “eggs and beans pork”, hard fish and eggs, “beans and eggs”, fried chickens (fried chicken is seen more than once along with broiled chicken, indicating the chickens could be spared from egg-laying for a meal), “eggs and cheese”, pan kale, “colly flower and pease”, French beans [fresh green beans] and a tart of eggs, mushrooms, kidney collops, stewed lettuce, broiled perch, salad, etc.
August: peas, perch, steaks, French beans, pea soup, beans and bacon, plum pudding, salad, beans and bacon, pan kale, ducklings, roast chicken and pigeons, fried flounder, artichokes (several times during August), moorfowl (several times), tongue and lure, herrings, apple tart, venison soup, venison collops (several times), venison roast and in a pie, stewed venison, partridges (several times), French beans (several times), boiled venison, stewed fish, tripe fricasseed, apples and cream, stewed skate, plovers, pigeon pie, cabbage broth, collared eels, quails, pudding with fruit, apple tart.
September: fried flounder, cabbage kale, sausages and pudding, pike, partridges with oyster sauce, peas, artichokes, French beans, potatoes, turkeys, pickles, capon, jellies, stewed pears, pancakes, apples and cream, apple fritters, plum[b] pudding.
October: stewed pears, apple fritters, hard fish, pancakes, fried apples, wild fowls, cauliflower, beans, dads and blads, haggis and pudding, potato pie, baked apples, apple tart, rice soup with chicken in it, broiled eels, celery, potatoes, kidney collops, pike, pike, fish broiled, spare-rib, apples and cream, beef steak, capons multiple times, barley broth, celery soup, ducks in the soup, fish eggs and giblet pie, cabbage broth, tongues and lure, young peas, etc.
The number of times various dishes appear in the menus:
Soup: Sorts: veal, celery, rice, fowl, hare, duck, herb, rice and chicken, pigeon, herb and fowl, celery with duck in it, soup megur (without meat), green, venison, pea, unspecified soop, and herb soup with goat in it. Most often served were herb and hare.
Broth (soup): Sorts: sheeps head, mutton, rice with fowl, green, fowl, barley, barley and fowl, veal, chicken, giblet, beef, cabbage, nettle, and lamb. Most often served were sheeps head, mutton, fowl, and barley.
Eggs: Sorts: fish and eggs, spinach and eggs, eggs and peas, eggs in the shell, buttered, eggs and artichokes, peas and eggs, bacon and eggs, eggs and beans, eggs and sausage, hog cheeks and eggs, etc. Most often served: eggs in the shell and spinach and eggs.
Pancakes: served 54 times. No information on accompaniments such as syrup given. Sour cakes were found, those being made from oatmeal dough that was allowed to ferment before being cooked.
Pye (pies): Mentioned 79 times. Sorts: pigeon, geese, fowl, ducks (Muscovy), woodcock, hare, veal, potato (doubtful it was sweet potato), potato and hard fish, minced, skirret, beef, mutton steak, giblet, parton (crab), apple, goose, chicken, venison, partridge, goat, and hens. The only sweet or fruit pie mentioned was apple and it was served twice during the three year period.
Pudding: bread, apple, marrow, almond, rice, neats foot, sago, carrot, peas, plumb, black, and white, each appears multiple times.
Salad spelled sallad: 58 times. Of those, 6 were specified sallad magundy (salmagundi, a salad which contained meat and cheese with the vegetables, similar to a chef’s salad).
Fried food: chicken, skirret, sausages, trout, flounder, sole, fish, mutton, sparlings (smelts), apples, and liver. Liver sauce is also found a couple of times served with chickens.
Pears: Stewed pears are listed 15 times, and there are mentions of pears with no further information on how they were served.
Tarts: fish, unspecified, gooseberry, apple, potato, and peas, the total served, 69. Those listed most often were unspecified as to sort and apple.
Cake: Apple cake was listed twice.
Fritters: Mentioned 27 times, unspecified type, cold beef (once), and the most often served were apple.
Roast: 100. Sorts: Mutton, goose, beef, partridges, wild ducks, snipes, fowl, duck, turkey, tongue, chicken, pork, veal, capon, plover, pigeon, woodcocks, moorfowl, pigs (since it was listed differently than pork, this may have been suckling pigs), hare, pike, unnamed fish.
Beverages: were not listed in the menus, however, some mention is found in the accounts of milk, buttermilk, sago milk (perhaps a custard), milk is the main ingredient in syllabub which was listed. Tea was drunk as evidenced by the purchase and repair of a tea kettle, but coffee does not appear at all.
Breakfast: was not included in the menus, but can be found in dictionaries from the 1500’s. Porridge was probably served most often.
Source: Murray, William, Sir. Ochtertyre House Booke of Accomps, 1737-1739. Published 1907.