Young boy perplexed by a sheep's head on the table in a big pot.
The Scottish Word:

Powsowdie.

Hoi gran is it potted-heid or powsowdie yer making ahn dae ye still want me tae peel ahn shred the veg?

Are ye no supposed tae skin the thing or at least singeit the wool and hairs aff?

And are ye gonna keep the eebaws in it?

And kin I get the teeth when yer feenished?

Translation:

powsowdie: thick sheep’s head broth, a messy hotchpotch.

Hey granmama, is it potted head that you are making or powsowdie?

Are you not supposed to skin the thing or at least singe all the wool and hairs off?

And are you going to keep the eyeballs in?

And can I get the teeth when you’re finished?

ˈpʌuˈsʌudɪ

Sheep’s Head Broth.

Apparently this was the first Scottish dish encountered by the Wordsworths and Coleridge on their Scottish tour. Dorothy Wordsworth wrote that they “ate heartily of it”.

Ferguson the Scottish poet wrote that “A gude sheep’s Heid/Wha’s hide was singeit, never fleed.” (that is, not ‘flayed,’ in other words cooked whole).

Information on Powsowdie in depth and referenced here on this British Food in America Web site.

Potted head which my dad loved (still available from butchers today) and powsowdie come from the days when very little was wasted. Cooking hoofs, heads, tongues, ears and brains was very much the thing.

Now what most of us eat as meat are the ‘lovely’ parts of the animal (we are assured) ground into unrecognisable mush smothered with sugar rich flavourings and stuck in a soft insubstantial bun.

I am embarrassed that we are so disgusted nowadays when we are offered a recogniseable bit of an animal to eat. So much so that I agree with those who promote consuming very little meat or none.

Give respect to anything you kill to eat – make use of as many parts as possible and waste none.

For those who like to read about people who live that ‘waste not want not’ lifestyle and where they have indeed taken fresh pig’s head and trotters and made their own potted head. Then read: Brixton’s Bounty here.

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