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Is it still scouse?

Chorizo and chocolate are lobbed into the melting pot. This cannot be right...

Published on June 2nd 2010.


Is it still scouse?
THE LIVERPOOL Food and Drink Festival today set the publicity campaign simmering nicely in time for September by challenging two chefs to create their own version of scouse - with leftover ingredients from their restaurants.

For the uninformed few, scouse is a delicious meat and potato stew. Despite its name, it is not so much indigenous to Liverpool as to Scandinavia - for the word ‘scouse’ comes from lobscouse.

Lobscouse is not an Olympic sport - or something else - but derives from lob's-course or lapskaus, Norwegian for “stew”. It refers to a dish commonly eaten by sailors throughout Northern Europe, which became popular in seaports such as Liverpool.

That's the commonly perceived view anyway – of God and Wikipedia.

Why mention that? Well because scouse causes argument and debate with no definitive recipe. The recipe, varying from house to house throughout the city, largely consisted of a cheap cut of lamb or mutton, beef or any combination of these, removed from the bone and browned in a large saucepan, to which are added chopped onions and carrots, stock, and as many potatoes as are possible. The sauce is not thickened, except by collapsing spuds. It is usually served with red cabbage, beetroot or simply bread and butter. An even more impoverished variety is 'blind scouse', which features no meat at all.

Unless you know different - and here, at Liverpool One on Wednesday, the this honourable dish appeared to be being interpreted as any stew “made from left-overs”.


By Luke Porter

Peter Kinsella of the Catalonian fusion restaurant and deli, Lunya, offered passers-by a Spanish variation, using chorizo, Spanish black pudding and plenty of potato and carrot to create a mildly-spicy stew, which one by-stander referred to as ‘Rafa’s scouse’ - though perhaps if so, a dish more accurately served would have been humble pie.

Peter said: “I prefer to have my food a lot spicier, but you have to accommodate for those who can’t tolerate it, I want to win this challenge after all.”

Bala Croman, of The Chocolate Cellar, offered a sweeter, completely irregular version of scouse, using melted white chocolate, champagne, strawberries and cream. There might not be any definitive recipe, but to say this was scouse would be completely surreal as the final offering was more of a rich milkshake.

The event, starting September 12, aims to raise the profile of this year’s Food and Drink Festival, and its chief sponsor, Love Food hate Waste. The festival begins in September as well as promoting a theme of ‘waste-not-want-not’, showing the public what can be done with scraps which are often discarded.

So, which of these dishes deserves the title of the new scouse? The jury’s out on this one, but can we not forget the old, less cheeky scouse please?

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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Peter KinsellaJune 2nd 2010.

Nothing is sacred any more is it? wait until you see what else we're working on over the year. Giant Gordal olives stuffed with Everton mints, a nice bitter twist ;-)

NadiaJune 2nd 2010.

In Russia we have stew which is speciality of Nadia and handed down from babushka while living in harsh northern wastes of Leningrad. I cook it for sailors also and to get best from seaman is best to squeeze beets hard before crushing them into large pot with special fish eye. I would like to meet restaurant owner like Peter Kinsella and teach him recipe from old country and many other secrets Nadia hold to breast.

Len GwistixJune 2nd 2010.

Neither have I Wapping, I think lobscouse is only ever used by people writing about people in Liverpool and "the way in what they all speak like lad" Peter Maloney and Fritz Spiegl (both very nice) contributed a lot to what I believe is largely a fiction about native liguistics. Although often entertaining at the time I seldom recognised many of the words and phrases both would put forward as being natural to Liverpudlians/politans (before anyone starts) Have I said all this before? Probably. But anyway My father and his brothers were probably as scouse as they come and I recall showing them the Learn Yerself Scouse book I got from Wilson's Bookshop in Church Alley (ahh fond memories) My Dad was laughing at the words and phrases although not in the way I expected, as he dismissed the majority of it as "a load of sh*te" He had never heard anyone use most of the alleged common words phrases and apart from the ill advised Keith Chegwin "comedy" The Whackers, neither he nor anyone I have ever met anyone that has ever heard the use ofthe word or refer to another person as whack or Wack. So on a similar thread and to return to your point....oh yes Lobby spuds, I doubt anybody has cooked a pan of lobscouse except on television and very few have cooked a pan of scouse, what they will have cooked is a pan of thick stew and employed the euphemism scouse.And another thing, while I am at it, traditional pasties made to the traditional cornish recipe that they try to flog us at stations, are tasteless rubbish. A gob full of sloppy swede (ooh Matron) I doubt anyone from Cornwall regularly eats such stuff. Give me one from Sayers any day. With CARROTS in it.

WappingJune 2nd 2010.

I was talking about scouse with my mum last year only a few days before she passed away aged nearly 80. She told me her aunt, who brought her up, used to say the scouse was ready when the potatoes went "all lobby", ie fell to mush. Mum had never heard the term lobscouse and although I have read of the word I've never heard it used.

AnonymousJune 2nd 2010.

Yes, you are right about Fritz Speigl and the "scouse" myth. He was an Austrian, a very amusing man, but in no way qualified to dissect the Liverpool dialect. His books were very embarrassing, even when reading them as a 14 year old

Len AgainJune 2nd 2010.

Ohh I got a bit tongue tied after I mentioned Chegwin, with my "met anyone" bit. Too much MSG and Guar Gum in my lobbed Scouse.

Paullette BureauJune 2nd 2010.

Nadia, did you once own a mobile cafe down at the docks? I am sure I heard that you regularly did Cock au vin in the back of a transit. I understand that you worked so hard all night serving the sailors that they nicknamed you 'Andropoff after one of your Presidents. I think the patrons who could afford a little extra fondly called you Marshall Zuckov? I know your batter is still the talk of Bootle.

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