Recipes from Scotland 1680s to 1940s


The first Scottish cookery book?

John Reid came from a family of professional gardeners at Niddry Castle in Kirkliston. Later he was employed as a gardener in Perthshire and East Lothian.

Reid's 'The Scots Gard'ner' was written especially 'for the climate of Scotland' and was the first Scottish gardening manual.

As well as instruction on garden design, planting, and the problems of gardening in Scotland, Reid gives advice on 'How to use the fruits of the garden'.

For this it is considered the first Scottish cookery book.

His advice on cooking went beyond hiding vegetables in the broth.

Reid's suggestion for potatoes — then grown by the wealthy as a novelty — was to treat them like parsnips: '… boyl and peal, chop and bruise them well, powre on butter, and set them on a coal, and if you please strew a little cinamon [cinnamon] upon them'.

Title page of book and frontispiece with flower illustration

John Reid, 'The Scots Gard'ner', Edinburgh, 1721. [Library reference: Hall.197.d]