Saturday, March 01, 2008

"Smells Like Cullen Skink"

We walked into one of our regular lunch haunts, when we are in Wick, and I said without thinking about it, "Hmm, smells like cullen skink." Now it is just over 4 years since I had made my first tentative taste of cullen skink in Ullapool. I was a tourist with my mind and mouth tripping over the strange words and tastes and sounds of this place. Having that phrase fall out of my mouth startled me after the fact because it made me realize how even those smells that had only recently been so exotic had become normal.

Cullen skink--in case the words are new to you--is a smoked fish soup. It has a cream base, but it still is fairly light yet rich. The exact proportions or choice of fish vary from cook to cook, but it is always a great way to take the chill out of you on a cold day. My Concise Scots Dictionary does not offer much help in the way of explaining the name. Cullen is apparently derived from the name of a village in Banf, and skink has a variety of meanings none of which seem to fit with fish soup. It does tell me that Culllen skink, a fish soup, dates from the late 16th century.

If foodies or linguists want to enlighten me about this culinary delight, I'd be delighted.

I am still feeliong shingle-y, so until I recover my posts may be a bit on the thin side.


At 2:19 PM, Blogger Hayden said...

sorry to hear you're not yet back to full strength - but I've never read a "thin" post here yet!

What a wonderful name - new to me!

At 8:47 AM, Blogger landgirl said...

Oh, ho, a new food for you to try. I wonder if you could make cullen skink with blue gill?

I'm feeling better today. I hope every day to get a wee bit stronger.


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