The Great Norse Cod!

For almost 200 years, from the end of the eighth century until the reign of Alfred the Great, Danish and Norwegian pirates harassed and looted the British coast, (though mainly the Scottish bit,) at will!

And towards the end of that period the invaders, hungry for land, moved further and further inland on numerous wars of conquest and, ultimately, more sustained settlement.

The seaboard and island peoples of Scotland have long been seen as seamen, whether it be trading, invading or fighting off invasion from foreign lands! (including England!)

But, as a people in their daily commerce, they fished for a living and, as in all fishing communities, ate a great deal of their catch.

Most of it was simply cooked from word of mouth ‘recipes’ with a fair number of foreign intrusions both from the Scandinavian countries to the North and the French (the ‘Auld Alliance’, mainly of Scotland and France against England of course!) in the South!

But a fair number of the pillaging Vikings decided to stay and settle here and so there was always a need to do something more interesting with Cod and Potatoes!

Therefore the combination of Cod and Mustard is, not surprisingly, Norse in origin and is found in many other areas of Scotland with Norse ancestry.

Generally served with locally produced potatoes in any number of guises, Cod is still a welcome visitor to the supper table!

The eating quality of cod is best from June, right through the winter until the beginning of March.

It is not absolutely de rigeur to accompany the meal with a pint of heavy and a deep-fried Mars bar to follow, but in certain parts of Glasgow on a Saturday night it does happen!

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