I have some nice news to share. I’ve known about it for months but finally I can share it here. Each year, the Scottish Book Trust run something called Book Week Scotland, with hundreds of literary events up and down the country over a week at the end of November. The last few years, the SBT have published a book, or this year an eBook, on a particular theme for Book Week Scotland. This year’s is called Nourish and I have a piece in it. It’s out on Monday 27th November, available from the Scottish Book Trust’s website. It should also be downloadable from your local library’s eBook downloading service, if you live in Scotland. Have a read.
The story of the steak bridie begins, as most things do with me, with going to watch Hibs. The Hibees were away to Dunfermline Athletic a year or so ago and in the lead-up to the game, folks on the Hibs messageboards were mainly excited for the chance to sample some mysterious creation called a steak bridie, which I hadn’t before encountered. Their manufacturer, the Fife bakery Stephens, runs the food kiosks at Dunfermline. Being a curious sort, I pitched up at East End Park and joined the (long) queue nearly an hour before the game started. Two bridies were promptly purchased and swiftly consumed. They were utterly glorious. My next visit to East End Park again saw me get bridies.
Since then Hibs have been promoted so trips to East End Park aren’t on the menu any more. Instead whenever I go to Fife I make a point of going to a branch of Stephens and getting a bridie or two. That was what I did one day in May, when I went to Kirkcaldy, leading to the events described below:
I jumped off the bus at Kirkcaldy and straight into the bakers to get a couple of steak bridies. Even in the rain, I wasn’t caring as I did the Scottish version of al fresco dining – eating hastily on the hoof – biting into the first bridie, savouring every fibre, every molecule of the meaty pastry perfection. I paused for breath and that small second was all it took for a seagull to swoop straight in and swipe the bridie right out of my hand. It was so deft I barely saw it happen and the next thing I knew there was the said gull across the street, tearing into the remains of my bridie. I heard a boy go “Whoa!” in awe at what had just unfolded. I was just dazed, stunned, and for a moment I could have burst into tears since I had been looking forward to steak bridies all the way from Glasgow, no, for days. Instead, I merely offered a few choice expletives, laughed, then walked on like a good sensible adult. But I guarded the second one with my life and scranned it almost in one, watching left and right as I did so just to make sure.
(From the Scottish Book Trust website – http://scottishbooktrust.com/writing/nourish/story/bridie)
The threat of avian attack hasn’t deterred me, though. I’ve even had a bridie in Kirkcaldy since, and survived a marginally happier and fatter man.
The Nourish book is excellent, by the way, with pieces from published authors like Liz Niven and Mary Contini as well as other folks from around the country. I’ve had the distinct pleasure to meet a few of them and you should read their stories. The ones about vegan sausages, tongues, chickens and brambles, plus the onion rant, are particularly good. I’ve read it a couple of times now, the first on my iPad and the second in the very limited edition printed book copy that sits beside me now. When I read it the second time and reached my page, it hit me how amazing it was to be selected for the book, especially as part of a diverse and talented bunch of scriveners. Some of the stories are very funny, others quite poignant. I very much encourage you to download a copy, skipping page 65 should you wish. For those who are blind or visually impaired, there is even an audio version, produced by RNIB Scotland. If anyone wants a cure for insomnia, my voice has been committed to record as part of it. If you are in a cafe at an Historic Scotland property or in various eateries around the country this week, you might come across it on a rather flashy menu card. In whatever form, please do read it and enjoy.