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The Burns Encyclopedia
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Land o' Cakes, The

Burns used this expression to describe Scotland in the opening line of his poem 'On the Late Captain Grose's Peregrinations Thro' Scotland':
"Hear, Land o' Cakes and brither Scots".

Robert Fergusson had already used the expression in his poem 'The King's Birthday in Edinburgh':

"Oh, soldiers! For your ain dear sakes
For Scotland's, alias, Land o' Cakes."

About the middle of the 14th Century Froissart visited Scotland, and in his Chronicles, described the staple diet of the Scots soldier: 'Under the flap of his saddle, each man carries a broad plate of metal; behind the saddle, a little bag of oatmeal. When they have eaten too much... sodden flesh, and their stomach appears weak and empty, they place their plate over the fire, mix with water their oatmeal, and when the plate is heated they put a little of the paste upon it, and make a thin cake, like a crackenel or biscuit, which they eat to warm their stomachs; it is therefore no wonder that they perform a longer day's march than other soldiers.'

This is the earliest recipe for, and tribute to, Scots oatcakes known to me.

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Robert Burns Store

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Complete Burns Songs

linn recordings of burns Linn Records have completed their landmark recording of all 368 Burns songs, available as individual CDs or a 12 volume presentation box set. We have full details. Click here...


Burns Music & Recordings
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Burns Chess Sets

Burns Chess SetsUnique collectors' pieces based on Burns' life and works. (The ideal gift for your Burns Supper guests!) Click here...

Scotweb Store

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