Scottish Highland Games 2011: Part 2

Sweeney Todd Meat Pies and What Should Have Been Lunch

Bangers in a bun, with onions, please, strong hot coffee, fish and chips, other fried meats with chips, fresh scones with strawberries and ice cream, fruit smoothies and Scottish apples, and two meat pie shops, were all located at the nexus of the Game venues and the main gate. You had to pass by the food to get anywhere at all. Food is important to proper enjoyment of the games because otherwise you’ll drink on an empty stomach and begin feeling peckish just when your favorite border collie is competing for the prize in the sheepherder’s competition.

One of the two meat pie shops should have been named The Sweeney Todd Meat Pie shop, with the logo “More meat per pie, guaranteed!” That there was not is less a statement on my sense of humor than a testament to the level of seriousness inherent in all aspects of the Games, even in the volunteers that operated the meat pie shops. Still, I like the idea so much that next year I may sponsor a booth with meat pies and name it Sweeney Todd’s. It’s English, and old, and appropriate to a weekend filled with manly men in kilts, warrior clan music of drums, pipes, didgeridoo, and ancient Celtic brass horn, and whiskey tasting such that if there had been mystery meat in the meat pies no one would have cared.

Hot and hurried, they still were universally friendly, happy, and pleasant to talk with. The food was given in good measure and prices were reasonable. The food vendors included the Vista Masonic Lodge, the Vista Kiwanis Club, and North County Scots, who offered café mocha, smoothies, and Scottish applies.

Scottish apples are apparently making a comeback and include Lass o’Gowrie (Our Local Girl), a soft yellowish-red fruit, the Tower of Glamis, a tart green conical “cooker,” and my personal favorite, the Bloody Ploughman, the apple that grew out of the bones of the ploughman shot “scrumping” apples at Megginch Castle, Perthshire. Scots do not back away in the face of lawlessness.

Fish and chips could be had for breakfast and the fish was light and delicious and many bottles of malt liquor overshadowed the pump-tubs of ketchup and mustard on the condiment table.

Good, solid, honest men who looked like food was important to them played fiddles, judged competitions, piped, or sat in the shade. I saw no large men dancing though I could not visit the dance stage for most of the day and there is no reason a good solid Scotsman could not tap out a hornpipe or sword dance.

There was no lamb on the menu. The sheepherding competition was a mere hundred yards or so from the fifty-five-gallon-drum grills that were already heavily in use preparing grilled turkey and chicken legs. One or two could easily have been diverted to grilled lamb. If the wind shifted wrong the sheep in the herding pens might have smelled their brothers cooking and lit out for town such that not even the professional border collies could have corralled them back in. This is perhaps why there was no lamb on the menu.

Next year look for “Sweeney Todd’s Meat Pie and Grilled Lamb Chop.” (Pronounce the “ch” in “chop” like Chopin.)


Scottish apple information was obtained from two quite helpful websites:

Appletreeman’s Plants With Purpose,

Abundance Edinburgh,

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