uni.liScotland I

Scotland I

1st Blog: Eating culture of Scotland

Moving into a foreign country means you have to immerse yourself into another culture with different manners and traditions. It is surprising how much you learn about your own culture and values when you are faced with another culture and different values. This essay tells about one specific cultural practise, I experience during the first month in Glasgow and outlines my strategies to familiarise with the unfamiliar. In addition, I analyse my reaction to draw a conclusion about my own merits.

 eating culture of Scotland

The eating habit that people from Glasgow and I also guess from Scotland practice were striking to me at first. Most of the Glaswegians seem to rely on ready-to-eat food containers, provided in the supermarket or take-away food from a fast-food restaurant of their choice. The supermarkets I went to in my neighbourhood in Glasgow mainly offer pre-cooked meals and processed food. Fruits, for example, are no longer in their original state. Most of the time, they are already peeled and chopped. The customer has almost no chance to get certain fruits and vegetables in their natural state. Nearly the same applies to meat. Most meat here is already cut in small pieces, marinated or processed into meatballs. Filets are seldom found. Again, everything packed in plastic. There is also no meat counter in the supermarket to get the meat portion of your choice and Butchers are too far away from the city centre. All in all, it is quite difficult to find basic ingredients and often impossible to detect food, which is not processed and wrapped in plastic.

Another interesting and somehow odd eating habit to me is about Scotland’s national soft drink: “Irn Bru”. Scottish people seem to adore their drink, and most of them consume “Irn-Bru” as if it is water. It does not matter what time of day; people drink their bright-orange liquid for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

 my reaction

Even though it seems to be normal in the city to eat prepared dishes and availability of those is enormous in the supermarkets, I still keep trying to cook my own meals and therefore reduce waste. I do not want to say that I completely renounce all prepared meals and processed fruits. Sometimes it is unavoidable. Rather, I have now found a good balance between ready-made and home-made, which I consider compatible. Above all, one must admit at this point that the packaged fruits taste much better than the regular ones. Which is strange, because of that the customer is encouraged to choose the product with more carbon emissions.

The new habit I could not keep up with was to buy mineral water. In the first three weeks, I tried carrying home bottled water, because I disliked the chlorine flavour of the tap water. However, it has proved that it was too time-consuming, unnecessary and created way too much waste. Now I drink the spring water from the tap, even though, still, I would not say I like it.


what it tells about my own culture

The observation I made and my reaction to it shows that I am not entirely familiar with the busy city

lifestyle of Glasgow, due to the fact that I grew up and lived most of my life in the countryside. I

have not thought that the surroundings at home had such an impact on my comprehension of food and

waste management. At home, it seems, people/shops attempt to reduce packaging waste, which doesn’t appear to be the case here. Maybe I haven’t found the right shops yet. Furthermore, I am used to people investing time in cooking and even growing their own fruits and vegetables. This of course is not possible in the city, due to the lack of available time and space. At this point, I realize that I cannot compare my country life in Vorarlberg with the city life of Glasgow. It is simply different. Maybe at home, we might also order

more take-away food if we had the options.

Katharina Bitschnau