Monasteries first recorded making usgebeatha (usky), water of life, in 1494. But it was the Highland crofters, distilling their home-brew with surplus barley and their location’s unique water, who continued this tradition until the 1707 Union resulted in tighter regulations and taxes. A move strongly resisted by the ‘home-brew’ distillers.
Thin Oatcakes (small and round) with the Crofter’s Crowdie
A great treat for 19th century Highland crofters, who still kept a cow for milk, was to spread a thin, crisp oatcake with fresh butter. Then mix their crowdie cheese with fresh cream and pile it on the oatcake. A feast of flavours and textures: acid, sweet, salt, soft, crisp and crunchy.
About Catherine Brown
Catherine Brown is a food writer, author, teacher and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (Scot.). Noted for her food columns in The Herald (Glasgow) for over two decades, she was also a presenter, with Derek Cooper, of Scotland’s Larder. She can be visited at www.catherinebrownfoodwriter.com.