1. Peter Hopkins says

    Hoping to make it along to the talk later on in Edinburgh!

    Don’t worry about the weather here, it’s pouring rain right now but will likely be gorgeous sunshine in an hour (than, naturally, pouring rain again by the evening).

  2. johnharshman says

    The baked beans and tomato seem out of place (more English breakfast). Where’s the smoked haddock, my favorite part? How did you like the blood pudding? And I also like haggis, but for breakfast?

  3. laurentweppe says

    You won’t have tried scottish cuisine until you’ve tried the fried mars fritter: take a mars, dip it in crepe batter, then dip the batter soaked mars in boiling oil.

    If it kills you with instant diabetes, it will be God punishing you for adopting a cat. If you survive the ordeal you’ll have earned the right to voice your opinion on Scotland’s independence’s debate.

  4. says

    Oh, and johnharshman
    I have a t-shirt with an advert for a Scottish haggis maker (?) that is actually emblazoned “HAGGIS: IT’S NOT JUST FOR BREAKFAST ANY MORE!” which puts the lie to that!

  5. says

    Are you sure it is breakfast? It looks like a lunch to me. For someone working very, very hard. It clogs arteries even from the picture.

  6. tbtabby says

    Perhaps you were eating a modern haggis made with grade-A meat, as opposed to the classic haggis, which is made with the appropriately-pronounced offal.

  7. She who runs with scissors says

    Where’s the Square Sausage? It’s not a not a Full Scottish without a Square Sausage.

  8. David Marjanović says

    Went to Edinburgh recently. Saw both haggis and black pudding on breakfast menus.

    Do the beans count as a vegetable?


  9. She who runs with scissors says

    * Sorry for the hic-hic-hiccup there*
    Your breakfast is repeating on me!

  10. Nick Gotts says

    So, your gorillaroid tendencies* surfaced again, PZ?

    *I’ll leave PZ to explain the reference if he cares to!

  11. says

    To my surprise, I thought the haggis was actually very tasty.

    The most flavoursome bits and pieces of an animal with groats. How on earth could it not be tasty?

  12. madtom1999 says

    The best Scottish breakfast I hear of was on the small isles (Eigg, Muck,Rhum and Canna) where guests where obliged to have a tot on waking with head on pillow, a tot with head up, a tot while sitting, a tot while washing and a tot while shaving and then another before leaving the room and heading downstairs for something to eat.
    That’s about a pint of whisky before your start!

  13. tbp1 says

    The B&B we stayed in in Edinburgh many years ago did a Full Scottish even bigger than that. My wife and I would share one between us and not finish it. Didn’t need much lunch, either. Or dinner, for that matter.

    I love a good haggis (and no, that’s not an oxymoron). It’s just a kind of sausage, when you get right down to it. I don’t know why people are so put off by it if they eat other kinds of sausage. Have you had deep-fried haggis yet? Personally I think that’s overkill, even though I love deep-fried things.

  14. Ewan R says

    I was brought up in the belief that there are only two true Scottish breakfasts.


    Neither of these appear on your plate and therefore I reject your claim that you had a Scottish breakfast.

    Although as you’re in Edinburgh at least 50% of my family would claim that the Scottishness of the whole affair is merely a technicality and not true in any meaningful sense anyway.

  15. She who runs with scissors says

    And then there is a famous Glasgow hangover cure aka the “orange breakfast”; a bag of Cheesy Wotsits washed down with a can of Irnbru.

  16. Moggie says

    You know, I don’t like seeing so much grease so close to a Macbook. All those mucky fingerprints, eurgh.

  17. 33lp says

    Forgive my ignorance, but on that plate, which is the haggis? I recognize only toast, egg, beans and ham. The rest of that is a mystery to me.

  18. says

    Seems slightly lacking in the Lorne sausage and fried dumpling department, but the again your in Edinburgh so that is probably the reason. They try to pretend that they are a bit refined on the East Coast.

  19. robro says

    I’m pretty sure that plate doesn’t qualify as a heart healthy meal. However, I’ve heard that even the grand master of the heart healthy diet eats a big bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups once a year.

  20. alexmcdonald says

    @30 llp
    It’s the sausage looking thing. The round black thing is black (blood) pudding. It could be the haggis, but it looks a bit too dark & together. Haggis, when not in its native small football size skin often appears in other guises, since even the Scots don’t eat a whole one to themselves.

    The sacrilege is the brown toast. That is just so wrong. It should be blotting paper toasted white.

  21. gmacs says

    Moggie, when I was there, I was told I should try “vegetarian haggis”. How the hell can it rightly be called haggis if it’s vegetarian?

  22. Bernard Bumner says

    Vegetarian haggis is surprisingly good. Although I prefer the version with lungs.

  23. falstaff says

    Still in Scotland? I figure you would have flown back and went to Ferguson and stood with all those folks protesting the murder of Michael Brown. What a let down.

  24. nick260682 says

    Hmm, looks like more of an English breakfast to me with a token tattie scone on the side so they could call it Scottish.

    And your haggis (as pointed out by other commenters) looks more like a black pudding. Which are effing delicious.

  25. opposablethumbs says

    Edinburgh rock, lucky tatties and soor plooms … I’m not saying you should actually eat any, but they last forever (or at the least have a very long half-life) and would make a great visual aid if you ever wanted to talk about how Scotland is leading Europe not only in heart-attacks but also in tooth decay. (and tbh Edinburgh rock’s not bad in small quantities – especially the ginger flavour).

    The deep-fried Mars bar started life as a myth, was developed as a tourist attraction and has now, fsm save us, become a kind of reality.

    Mind and bring all your arteries safe home again, eh.

  26. Tigger_the_Wing, asking "Where's the justice?" says

    What I see, clockwise from top:

    Two pieces of toast, with a scrape of butter
    One fried egg
    One potato scone
    Two mushrooms
    A tablespoon of baked beans
    One, possibly two, rasher(s)
    One sausage
    Half a tomato, fried
    Slice of black pudding.

    Obviously, the haggis must already be in PZ’s stomach (there are a few crumbs in the noticeable gap to the side of the toast).

    In any case, a damn funny meal for a vegetarian, imo. =^_^=

  27. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    I had a Scottish breakfast

    Not quite an Ulster fry, which has been called “a heart attack on a plate”.
    There isn’t any haggis in your picture though.
    Of course haggis is tasty. It contains offal- the most strongly flavoured meat- barley and herbs. It’s traditionally eaten with the bland mashed swede for the contrast in flavour and texture.

  28. Al Dente says

    It’s traditionally eaten with the bland mashed swede

    The vikings stopped raiding Britain over a thousand years ago. It’s time to stop taking revenge.

  29. Usernames are smart says

    That’s about a pint of whisky before your start!
    — madtom1999 (#22)

    Isn’t that an Irish tradition?!

    …I keed! ;)

  30. Stacy says


    Are vegetarians allowed in Scotland?

    I suppose so, as long as they sit at the back and don’t say anything…along with the teetotalers….

    (I kid. I haven’t been to Scotland in decades, but when I was there the first time, my aunt pointed out a couple walking down the street and told me they were “teetotalers.” It was evidently remarkable enough to mention. To a seventeen year old kid. From the U.S.)

    (And PZ, you were lucky. I recall having beans on toast for breakfast…)

  31. markr1957 says

    Where’s the fried bread and the square sausage? I hope everything was fried in lard, as it should have been :D

  32. Rob Grigjanis says

    I recall having beans on toast for breakfast

    Hmm, mouth watering…

    And then jam butties fried in beef dripping.

  33. Ichthyic says

    I figure you would have flown back and went to Ferguson and stood with all those folks protesting the murder of Michael Brown. What a let down.

    not too late for you. I think you should fly there and ask the cops to shoot you with a rubber bullet.

  34. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Ya know what? Some of these comments make me wish I’d never told anyone (and a lot of you) about my own heart attack at 36. It’s obvious how many people would *delight* in ruining one good meal I talked about with “funny” pokes at how I “blew my diet,” whether I’d “had a heart attack yet” (yes), how I “shouldn’t get my cholesterol checked today.”

    Because obviously people with heart disease have to spend the rest of their goddamned lives justifying every little bit of pleasure they get from a nice meal. And they get to listen to *all of you who feel like opening your mouths* “jokingly” call us to account for not being Good Heart Patients.

    Seriously guys. Fuck you.

  35. Menyambal says

    I am agreeing with Josh @52. It’s an occasion and an adventure. Just let the man enjoy. And keep the quasi-medical out of it — some of us are not amused. Me, for instance, I need protein for breakfast, so I’d love that, and that is the least of my problems.

    It reminds me of the breakfast that I ate in Cambridge. Bits of it may be Scottish, but it would pass in most of Britain.

  36. 2kittehs says

    I’m glad the haggis was tasty. Only time I tried it, I was very disappointed – it was like basic mincemeat smothered in pepper. Couldn’t eat it, I have zero tolerance for hot stuff.

    Did you try roast beef and Yorkshire pudding while you were there, PZ? I’d say “food of the gods” but that seems inapt! Wonderful, delicious dish, anyway.

  37. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    It looks like not only a tattie scone (that’s the potato scone) but a fried one at that. It’s usually dry fried initially but for breakfasts is often reheated by frying with a bit of fat.

  38. Menyambal says

    Dang it. Now it’s breakfast time here, and I got nothin’ but a can of corn. I would eat all of that in the picture, there, even the mushrooms and the alleged haggis.

  39. A Hermit says

    That’s whisky my friend. /pedant

    Damn spellcheck keeps reverting to the USian dictionary…

  40. says

    A Hermit #60

    I’m guessing you’re using Firefox or a Firefox-clone, as that’s a known bug.

    If you find Firefox’s dictionaries directory (In Windows Vista and earlier, that’s C/Program Files/Mozilla Firefox/dictionaries. I can’t speak for later Windows or other O/S) you should find two files: en-US.aff and en-US.dic. Delete both. That’ll solve your problem until the next update, when you’ll have to do it again.

  41. guthriestewart says

    PZ already knows about IrnBru, he tried it a few years ago when in Scotland and giving a talk to Glasgow Sceptics.

    As for a true Scottish breakfast, that has varied somewhat depending on social class and poverty. POrridge has always been popular, the problem is whether to add salt or sugar.
    The whole tomato, baked beans etc thing in the photograph at the top of the page is a modern invention, and probably needs a few more decades before it is anything like “traditional”. In Balmoral in 1900 Queen Victoria etc were eating a great deal of meat, sausages, fish etc at breakfast, but not haggis and black pudding. Sir Walter Scott nearly a century earlier would have something like porridge, cream, oatcakes, butter, marmalade jam etc with some beef or other related stuff, and some bread. Eggs and bacon are also recorded as being eaten at breakfast by folk in Edinburgh, with bannocks and related foodstuffs.
    (INformation from “Broths to Bannocks – cooking in Scotland 1690 to the present day” by Catherine Brown)

    It is increasingly hard to find good, tasty haggis. The loss of good local butchers is the leading cause of it, and my dad couldn’t find any decent haggises in supermarkets last year, so we didn’t have any. There are however still some independent butchers in Edinburgh who do their own, so if you have time to search you might find a decent one.
    You can also tell an old fashioned fish and chip shop, because they do battered haggis, black pudding, and also red and white puddings.
    I’m also disappointed that nobody has mentioned the deep fried pizza, which does actually exist and is eaten by many people. As you can guess, it is a pizza folded in half and deep fried.

  42. bassmanpete says

    opposablethumbs, I haven’t had Edinburgh rock since I was a kid in the ’50s but the ginger flavour was definitely my favourite.

  43. Al Dente says

    guthriestewart #62

    POrridge has always been popular, the problem is whether to add salt or sugar.

    No True Scotsman™ puts sugar in their porridge.

  44. says


    I’m also disappointed that nobody has mentioned the deep fried pizza, which does actually exist and is eaten by many people. As you can guess, it is a pizza folded in half and deep fried.

    I live in the Southern US, where deep frying is extremely common. Oreos, Snickers, and even sticks of butter are deep fried. I have *never* heard of deep fried pizza. While I’m not a huge fried food eater, I’m curious to know what fried pizza tastes like.

  45. guthriestewart says

    Al Dente – exactly. Although as a true Scotsman, I do. They might also have put honey in it, back in the day.
    Tony – yup, you can get various confectionaries deep fried here as well, but I have no intention of trying a deep fried pizza, too much oil and stuff in it. Have you seen the rate of heart disease in Scotland? It’s a bit high, for obvious reasons. A diet which was fine when you were burning 4,000calories a day doing manual labour isn’t fine when you sit about instead.

  46. Al Dente says

    guthriestewart #67

    Although as a true Scotsman, I do.

    You are No True Scotsman! I know the fallacy.

  47. David Eriksen says

    I’m a bit late to this party but that’s because I was in the Highlands at the time and didn’t really have access to the internet. PZ’s plate looks almost identical to what was offered at the B&B where I was staying in Edinburgh (you weren’t on Queens Street were you?).

    Re: Deep Fried Pizza
    I got to try some of that in Inverness a few days ago and it was surprisingly good. We got a slice for free since the group of us were surprised to learn that it was a thing. One of my co-travelers got deep fried haggis from the same shop and loved it.