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A Tale Of Two Roads

Hullo from Scotland!

It’s a bright, sunny day in Glasgow.  People are drinking pints at outdoor tables and I’m one of them.  I’ve got my book, some salt & vinegar peanuts, and a few hours before I meet Scott for dinner.

It’s hard to behave myself at dinner in this country.  The food is good.  So good that I shouted inappropiate things at a venison pie the other day, and now Scott gets nervous when I eat in public.

I can’t help it!  Have you had a venison pie?  Please.  I’d steal one from a baby.

Tomorrow we’re heading out to the countryside and up the west coast.

Our last foray into the countryside was exciting– in an “isn’t it exciting that we’re lost and might have to sleep in that abandoned barn” type of way.

We started out from Edinburg, heading for Loch Lomond.

I don’t know about you, but I was under the impression that there is ONE HIGH ROAD and ONE LOW ROAD that lead to Loch Lomond.  You know, like in the song:  “O ye’ll tak’ the high road, and Ah’ll tak’ the low road, And Ah’ll be in Scotlan’ afore ye. . .”


There are, like, 289 roads near Loch Lomond.  We took approximately 73 of them, in the wrong order, because:

  • we did not have a map;
  • I was supposed to be reading the signs but I am easily distracted by sheep;
  • there were sheep everywhere;
  • some of the sheep had baby sheeps; and
  • it is a life goal of mine to touch a baby sheep.

So I missed some signs.  Specifically, I missed the signs for the 73 roads that go to Loch Lomond.

After passing the same whiskey distillery three times, we asked for directions.  An hour later, an old man told us to drive toward a town that sounded like “Sandra Bullock.”  This seemed to make sense to Scott.  He listened carefully, nodded at the man, and drove the rest of the way without incident.

To sum up: this map–which we didn’t have at the time–doesn’t even BEGIN to represent the road situation.

It was more like this:

We got there just in time to rent a boat.  Scott rowed us out into the water, and it was vast and blue and perfect (pictures to come later). My only suggestion is they could stand to put some sheep babies on some of the little islands out there.  That would really take Loch Lomond to the next level.

In short, we’re having a blast.  I can’t thank you guys enough for the recommendations–for every last comment and email, including the invaluable guide to Glasgow that I got from Rock Salt’s Carol Anne.  Scotland is a wonderful country.

The recipe below is no venison pie, but it comes in handy on busy nights.  It’s an easy, extremely quick cheese sauce that we like to put over broccoli, or cauliflower, or tortilla chips.  And when you pour it over pasta, you get a quick, no-bake mac ‘n’ cheese.

Scott’s Quick White Cheddar Sauce


3 tbsp. butter

3 tbsp. flour

a dash of nutmeg

salt & pepper (preferably white pepper but black is fine)

1 1/2 c. whole milk

1 1/4 c. sharp white cheddar, grated


In a saucepan, melt the butter.  Turn off the heat and stir in the flour, the nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.  I used 1/2 tsp. salt and over 1/8 tsp. white pepper, but the amounts will vary depending on the sharpness of your cheese–mine was sharp, so I didn’t need that much salt.)

Turn the heat back on to low.  Add the milk in three parts of 1/2 c. each, stirring each until blended.   Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and smooths out, about 5 minutes.

Add the cheese and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and serve immediately.  The sauce will get a little clumpy when it cools down, so just reheat it and stir it up again later if you need to.

Yield: 2 cups.

Serving ideas:  Serve over vegetables (like broccoli), or with chips, or use it as a pasta sauce.  When you pour it over pasta, it’s like a no-bake mac ‘n’cheese.  My mom likes dipping apples in it like fondu.


The word from home is that Thunder is carrying on as usual at my parents’ house: snoozing and eating treats.

Mostly snoozing.

43 Comments Post a comment
  1. Woop I was just saying today how LUCKY you’ve been with the weather. This is as hot as it ever gets, and it’s glorious! I’m so pleased you’re having a good time. I will forevermore think of Helensburgh as Sandra Bullock.

    May 24, 2012
  2. Hilarious story! I would be distracted by the sheep too. I’ve got some Scottish roots, it would be awesome to visit the area where my family came from. Are you going to castles?

    May 24, 2012
    • You know, I hope to go to castles. We’re heading to Oban tomorrow and there’s a castle there, but I think it’s in ruins. We didn’t go into Edinburg castle (it would have cost 40 some dollars) but we saw it from the outside. It was stunning. I really want to picnick near a castle before we go. Do you know where in particular your roots are in Scotland?

      May 25, 2012
  3. I must say that one of the many wonderful things about being in the UK is that whole having a pint at lunch thing. On the basis of that alone I’ve considered emigrating…

    May 24, 2012
    • As someone who is doing that right this instant (I just ordered a half pint of cider), I wholeheartedly agree!

      I lived in France for a few years, and I worked. People there would share a bottle of wine at lunch, and it was EXTREMELY hard I work afterward. The crazy thing was that when I was an intern, I got government-sponsored meal tickets to subsidize my lunches, and that cut down on the cost of the lunchtime wine. Amazing! What a place.

      May 25, 2012
  4. This post made me laugh, particularly your skillfully drawn map.

    When we were there, I found the sheep distracting, but the little rock fence thingies were very distracting, too. They appeared to be made to keep things like sheep in one field, but all of a sudden, they would crumble into nothingness. Maybe the sheep have hidden electric fences? Maybe they know right from wrong these days? Perhaps if they see even one rock, they know not to step over the line?

    Hope the rest of your trip is wonderful and crazy, too.

    May 24, 2012
    • It’s funny that Lu say that, because I was marveling at what looked to be dry stone walls the other day and how they’re just everywhere, and in the U.S. they’re just such a landscaping luxury.

      I do not think the sheep have gotten any smarter. If they were smart, they would know that I MEAN NO HARM; I JUST WANT TO HUG THEM. Gah.

      May 25, 2012
  5. giftsofserendipity #

    Ach Lassie you’re a treasure.
    Watch out though you may not be allowed to leave with your fabulous transformative map drawing/naming sklls you may be detained as a national treasure and rechristened Macaroni.

    Ps: I grew up in a sheep district and we referred to them as woolly rocks…I’m sure you can see why…happy holiday!

    May 24, 2012
    • Aw, thanks! And especially for giving me he new vocabulary of “wooly rocks.” Now, when Scott gets sick of grain “look, a sheep!!!” for the millionth time, I can switch to “look! A wooly rock!!” and start over.

      Ps- you grew up in a sheep district? So there were always a lot of sheep around? Are they easy to touch or are they go to run away from me for the next week?

      May 25, 2012
  6. You naughty girl you, stealing pies from babies. Also naughty Scott for that cheese sauce. GAH! Put your sheep blinders on next time you drive. I hear they sell those at tourist shops out there…

    May 24, 2012
    • Yes, but in my defense, should babies really be eating venison pie? I mean, really. They should probably stick to the cheerios and leave the serious eating to the adults. Which is why I volunteered to take the venison pies, as part of my effort to prevent toddlers from choking on large pieces of expensive meat.

      How does that sound? Passable?

      May 25, 2012
      • Like a ding dang PSA. That’s what it sounds like. I have my hand over my heart in patriotic deference. I hope there’s some sort of flag flying behind you when you do it.

        May 26, 2012
  7. Adam N. #

    Hilarious as always! I’m waiting for the pictures of venison pie, mmm

    May 24, 2012
    • Agh! It was on our first night here, in Edinburgh, just at a local pub that we did not expect to be awesome. It was, indeed, AWESOME. We had smoked venison, too, at a nice place in Glasgow. THAT I have pictures of.

      Do you guys get much wild boar down there in Texas? I know some people who’ve gone down there to hunt it so I wondered. Did you ever have the wild boar ragu at Lupa on Thompson St? So good.

      May 25, 2012
  8. Your cartography skills are amazing.

    May 24, 2012
    • So I guess we can agree, then, that what I lack in navigational ability, I make up for in after-the-fact depictions! Score!

      May 25, 2012
  9. Enjoy Scotland – Explore & Adventure!

    May 24, 2012
    • Thank you! I’ll try to take the name of your website to heart and do just that!

      May 25, 2012
  10. Amy #

    Oh my gosh, please promise me you’ll pet a baby sheep before you leave…and take a picture! And then sheep-nap him and send him to me. Thanks and enjoy the rest of your trip! 🙂

    May 24, 2012
    • Amy, I’ve been promised that we’ll pull over if we spot a farmer or a guy who looks like he might be in charge of some sheep. Scott thinks that just asking someone if we can wrangle, and then hug, one of their baby sheep is the best way to go. That way, there are no misunderstandings and no one gets arrested (leaving aside, of course, the fact that I’ll try to send the sheep to you.)

      May 25, 2012
      • Amy #

        That sounds like a great plan. Lemme know how it goes 🙂

        May 27, 2012
  11. Glad you’re loving Scotland. Those baby sheep really are a blessing (or a curse). And, I should have mentioned that you’d need a GPS. My bad. We were *very* lucky to borrow one from a British co-worker, so we only got lost 72 times (not 73 like you). I have to say that that recipe looks strangely familiar – like my mom’s medium white sauce. Which we like to make into “Goldenrod Toast”. Make a batch of medium white sauce (with salt & pepper, minus nutmeg), and then chop up a bunch of hard boiled eggs. Mix the eggs in, and serve over cut up toast. Seriously? The best down-home, comfort food, Easter breakfast ever. EVER.

    May 24, 2012
    • What?? That serving idea sounds phenomenal. When we get gone, I’m going to try it and then just edit the post so that’s the suggested way to do it! Ok, so tell me: you cut up some toast and thre hard boiled egg pieces in he sauce, and served that warm over the toast pieces? Good grief, that sounds awesome. Where did your mom learn how to do that?

      Scott HATES when cars talk to him, for better or worse- so we’re sans GPS. Which leaves plenty of quit time to look at sheep until he’s like “where in the ?!&@$! ARE we??”

      May 25, 2012
      • Sorry that I missed the reply. Certainly, my mother is an evil genius. It’s really the only explanation… The Medium white sauce is from the Settlement Cookbook. One of those old-timey cookbooks that assumes you already know how to truss a chicken (duh!). Use that cookbook for 2 things: look up how long to cook fish and make medium white sauce for Goldenrod toast… Your method is perfect — I usually pull out a few of the yolks, just to avoid the cholesterol (I am basically just eating a rue mixed with milk after all…) But you need some for flavor & color. Be generous with the salt and pepper…

        June 8, 2012
  12. Sounds like you’re having a great time! Arrived in Glasgow yesterday and was astounded by the heat! I left 12 degrees and arrived to 26- I am not prepared for such weather! Have you seen the beautiful university campus yet? Free tours at 2 on thurs, fri and sat I learnt today.

    May 24, 2012
    • I just went to the Kelvingrove museum, and walked through the park, which was lovely. I’m excited that I’ll meet you later and get to hear all about the university grounds!

      May 25, 2012
      • Just put my postcard of the Kelingrove museum above my desk & thought of you! Hope that you’re enjoying the rest of your trip.

        May 28, 2012
  13. Glad you’ve got the weather! Enjoy it while ya can 🙂 I love the drawn map…I won’t say what it looks like…

    May 24, 2012
    • Oh my God. After your comment and the comment of “unmitigated me”, I now see what I’ve done. HA!! At no point did that occur to me (and I son’t know what that says about me. Yikes.)

      Well, I think we can all agree that I knocked that map out of the park.

      May 25, 2012
  14. Sandra R #

    I knew you would love it! Our son fell into Loch Lomond, it was cold, he was about 6. The best part was the picture. I LOVED the sheep. More different kinds of sheep than I had ever thought of. I wanted to bring all of them home. More sheep than people. And the first time I went to Scotland, on my honeymoon, I insisted on the United Kingdom because in my youth and provincial ignorance I refused to go where I did not speak the language. The first time my husband asked for directions I was slack-jawed dumbfounded. Not a word. I could not understand a word. Lovely to listen to, not so much for following directions to. Enjoy! Buy a sweater!!!

    May 24, 2012
  15. a #

    I’m actually quite surprised that I could find something that looked like it would sound like Sandra Bullock on the map. I’ve heard Scottish people talk…and I’ve never understood a word. Sounds like a fantastic trip. Too bad about all that quarantine nonsense – I think Thunder would have enjoyed the sheep too.

    May 24, 2012
    • Man, Thunder would have loved those sheep. She probably would have chased them until they positively FREAKED out. Not sure they would have had a Thunder-sized life vest for our boating advebture, but u guessthat’s just something we have to invest in one of these days.

      Yes, so the town turned out to be “BULLOCH” and I guess he said something that started with an “s” just before, because we were like, “um, that just can’t be right, can it??”. It was pretty awesome.

      May 25, 2012
      • Ooooooooh – it’s Balloch. Dunno what the S word was. I’m going to try and find somewhere that you cen legitimately touch sheep, I didn’t realise they were so exotic…

        May 25, 2012
  16. Thanks for the drawing of Loch Lomond. You just reminded me I need to make an appointment for a bikini wax.

    May 25, 2012
    • I love the comments section always, but this is one of those times it brings me great, great joy. You are hilarious. I knew that map was a little too easy for me to draw.

      May 25, 2012
  17. I’m shocked. I always heard the food in the UK was horrid. Now I have one more reason to dream about going there—stealing pies from baby sheep.

    May 25, 2012
  18. After looking at the first map, are you sure you’re not in New Jersey?

    May 25, 2012
  19. I love the map you drew! It made me laugh.

    May 28, 2012
  20. I am so happy I came to see you! I did so for two reasons:
    1 – because Movita seems to love you, so logic told me I would also love you.
    2 – because I have a Frenchie and I feel like you have to be a special breed of person to allow something as simultaneously adorable and disgusting as a Frenchie into your life.

    And I am glad I came because you’re funny. I shall return.

    May 29, 2012
  21. I wonder what the town of Sandra Bullock is like. I’m assuming the town had a different name, and then they re-named it after Speed 2: Cruise Control was released…

    May 30, 2012
  22. Even before I finished reading the paragraph with the song bit in it, my girlfriend, whose family line runs deep in Scottland, began singing that very song you referenced.

    And she’s still. singing. it.

    I’m thinking she likes world “bonny” and the way her r’s roll.

    Hope you’re having fun over there!!!

    June 3, 2012
  23. Amber Fayre #

    Come baaaaaack! I miss you so much. I click obsessively on the link everyday. I need a Thunder fix. I need an Eggton fix. What in the heck am I going to make for dinner now?

    June 8, 2012
    • I miss you too!!! I am writing right this instant. Thunder is rolling around on the floor with my mom’s dog (who I’m taking care of for a month). I have two HUGE boxes of vegetables in the refrigerator and I just made the most amazing ice cream that doesn’t require an ice cream maker. I think I’m going to put it in the next post. Thank you for the incredibly kind comment, Amber. I’ll run and try to finish this now so we’re back in touch. 🙂

      June 8, 2012

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