Recipes from Scotland 1680s to 1940s

Meat, game and poultry

Venison for the servants

The Dunrobin Diet Book, recording meals served to the Earl of Sutherland and his household at Dunrobin Castle, was compiled between 1703 and 1712.

Most of the entries are for dinners and suppers.

When breakfast is mentioned there is usually no dinner menu, suggesting the family was away for the day. Dinner was their main meal — served in the early afternoon — and supper was a lighter evening meal.


Every day at dinner there were roast joints of beef, mutton, chicken or rabbit, probably cooked on spits over an open fire. There was also game in season, boiled meats, haggis and pigeons from the 'doo cot' [dovecot].

At supper there were delicacies such as 'roast plover' and the new fricassees and ragouts inspired by French cuisine, in which pieces of meat were cooked in a sauce.

The servants, too, ate well, but they usually had a single dish of venison or salmon, both of which were then cheap and plentiful.

Detail from handwritten page outlining plans for meals

Detail from a page of the Dunrobin Diet Book, 1703-1712. By permission of the Countess of Sutherland. [Library reference: Dep.313/555, f.10]
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Meat, game and poultry