Recipes from Scotland 1680s to 1940s

Soups and broths

A meal in a bowl

Nutritious, comforting and warming broths were made from simple, cheap ingredients often left over from previous meals.

There was probably little meat in the cauldron swinging from the rafters in Katharine Jane Ellice's watercolour of a Highland cottage.

For ordinary people, there might be pieces of meat or fowl in the broth in good times, but only scraps or vegetables when times were hard.

In rural areas, even the poorest cottages usually had a kale patch outside. Whatever was available would be added to the pot.

The liquid would be seasoned and thickened with grains or oatmeal to provide a simple meal in a bowl served with oat bread or bannocks.

Painting of cottage

Water-colour drawing of the interior of a highland cottage by Katherine Jane Ellice, around 1860. [Library reference: MS.15174, no.70]

Soups and broths