Gavin Greig (ggreig) wrote,
Gavin Greig

Indiana Jones and the Template of Doom

My mum's on the warpath. And so began a trek to the most revered of historic sites, in search of an artefact that would win for ever an ancient war between two feuding parties.

The SWRI (think WI, which is a similar organisation for the rest of the UK) are holding an event later in the year, at which one of the categories of foodstuffs made by members that will be weighed in the balance is the delicious Forfar Bridie.

Oh dear. You see, there's a common misconception going around about Forfar Bridies. If you go practically anywhere else in Scotland and ask for a Forfar Bridie, you will receive a horse-shoe shaped meat product: a flaky pastry case filled with beef and onions, a bit like a Cornish pasty on its side (but much nicer and with a lower vegetable content), that fits comfortably on to a dinner-plate with plenty space left.

However, if you actually go to Forfar to buy a bridie you will find that the rest of Scotland, not to put too fine a point on it, has got it wrong. A proper Forfar bridie has shortcrust pastry, rather than flaky, and may be somewhat larger.

A number of years past, Mum and her friends entered an SWRI competition for "Forfar Bridies" with proper shortcrust bridies, only to see their efforts marked consistently below the inferior flaky pastry abominations that dominated the show.

Mum is determined that this will not occur again, and so I was commissioned to venture forth across the Silvery Tay to the hinterlands of Angus, in search of the true, the original, the ur-bridie, from the fabled township of Forfar, the template from which all bridies are derived, and to return skulking with it to my lair. There I would freeze it for later production as evidence. Mum's intent is that shortcrust bridies shall be recognised as the one true form of the Forfar Bridie, or the name "Forfar" will be dropped from the category.

I took a day off work for my mission, and with a picnic lunch prepared by msinvisfem we set off for Angus.

Despite the build-up I've given them, the bridies were easily acquired, and half a dozen now rest in my freezer; five small ones and a medium. Large bridies were not on sale. You can't handle a large, unless you want to feed a starving army of peasants for a week.

Proper Forfar bridies, from Forfar. A Medium and a small.

With a groaning sack full of half a dozen bridies, and packets of coconut biscuits, perkins and heckle biscuits, we left the shop and waited half an hour for the bus to Glamis castle (correct pronunciation: Glamz).

At the wrong stop.

Feeling like a fool, despite the service having been listed at the stop we'd chosen, a cab was arranged and we were chauffeur-driven to the entrance of the castle instead.

The main entrance at Glamis. There's at least two thirds of it you can't see.

We had a nice day for a visit to one of our more impressive castles, and msinvisfem compared it favourably with the castle at Disneyland. I'm not sure whether the Earl of Strathmore should regard this as a compliment or a blood insult.

Sadly the usual restriction of no photos inside applies, and you visit probably less than a third of the castle as part of it is derelict (though that's well hidden - the top three stories look fine from outside) and another part is still a private residence, but all the same it's well worth a visit if you have the chance.
Tags: food, history, scotland, travel

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