• “The smartest historical sci-fi adventure-romance story ever written by a science Ph.D. with a background in scripting 'Scrooge McDuck' comics.”—Salon.com
  • A time-hopping, continent-spanning salmagundi of genres.”
    —ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
  • “These books have to be word-of-mouth books because they're too weird to describe to anybody.”
    —Jackie Cantor, Diana's first editor

More Tasty Fictional Food!

Well, there’s nothing absolutely fictional about bridies; they’re a perfectly legitimate item of Scottish cuisine {g}—but I’m Much Obliged to Theresa Carle-Sanders, professional chef and dabbler in historical foodstuffs, for her newest venture: Brianna’s Bridies, as described in DRUMS OF AUTUMN.

“Yon fellow wi’ the cast in one eye,” he said in a subdued bellow, indicating the gentleman in question by pointing with his chin. “What d’ye say to him, Brianna?”
“I’d say he looks like the Boston Strangler,” she muttered, then louder, shouting into her cousin’s ear, “He looks like an ox! No!”
“He’s strong, and he looks honest!”
Brianna thought the gentleman in question looked too stupid to be dishonest, but refrained from saying so, merely shaking her head emphatically.
Young Jamie shrugged philosophically and resumed his scrutiny of the would-be bondsmen, walking around those who took his particular interest and peering at them closely, in a way she might have thought exceedingly rude had a number of other potential employers not been doing likewise.
“Bridies! Hot bridies!” A high-pitched screech cut through the rumble and racket of the hall, and Brianna turned to see an old woman elbowing her way robustly through the crowd, a steaming tray hung round her neck and a wooden spatula in hand.
The heavenly scent of fresh hot dough and spiced meat cut through the other pungencies in the hall, noticeable as the old woman’s calling. It had been a long time since breakfast, and Brianna dug in her pocket, feeling saliva fill her mouth.

–DRUMS OF AUTUMN, 1997

Theresa’s done a wonderful rendition of bridies, with notes on a modern version (substituting vegetable shortening for the traditional suet, the latter being hard to locate in most grocery stores), including a vegetarian take for non-carnivores. Go here for pictures (including some from Theresa’s recent trip to the Highlands), cooking/baking instructions, and recipes!

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46 Responses »

  1. Bridies sound delicious. Most cultures have their own version of a meat pie: tourtieres (my favourite!), empanadas, calzones, bbq pork buns, Jamacian patties, pork pies, pasties, samosas, etc.
    Who doesn’t love a portable lunch?
    Thank you, Theresa, for tasting your way through Scotland to find the perfect ‘Brianna bridie’.
    Lynda

  2. What is suet? Is that something akin to lard? My Granny always had a bucket of lard on hand. And like the late Davie Beaton, she also claimed that dried sheep manure had medicinal properties.

  3. They are also called empanadas in Argentina, where I come from. The fillings are different in each region, but they all have a basic “structure” of ground meat, onions and spices.
    It is interesting to learn that they exist in other cultures too.

  4. Those look verry yummy!!! I have made Forfar Bridies before and they are delicious! Mine weren’t quite that fluffy looking :D I’ll definitely have to check out her recipe!! Thanks!

  5. Mmmm, my stomach is rumbling, I’m rereading Breath of Snow and Ashes, wish that Mrs. Bug lived at my house, and was out in my kitchen putting these together! I just printed the recipe, and will have to give it a try. I was inspired to Cinnamon toast this morning by our Mrs. Bug…delish!

  6. Hello!
    Nothing to do with bridies, though they sound awesome. Another “hot” topic…

    Just wondering, how are you doing out there in Arizona with the fires? I have family in New Mexico who have smoky skies but no flames. I hope Scotsdale is holding up OK!

    • Dear Amy–

      Thanks for asking! We’re OK here; Scottsdale is part of the Phoenix Metro area–a good 200 miles west of the fire zone. We aren’t even getting smoke, as the wind’s in the other direction. Do hope the wind drops soon, though. A little rain would be nice, but none in sight. (Normally doesn’t rain here until early-mid July.)

      –Diana

      • this of course would be precisely when I am visiting phoenix in July. where is the poison pen located from the sheraton and convention center?

      • Dear Lisa–

        The Poisoned Pen is in Scottsdale–it would be a 20-30 minute drive, depending on traffic. Go to http://www.poisonedpen.com for address and contact info.

        Hope to see you there on the 11th!

        –Diana

      • I’d love it! unfortunately, i won’t be there til the 15th. but if you’re gonna be stopping by between the 15-20th let me know! i’ll bring my books, all the way from the Mississippi gulf coast! AND the upper Peninsula of Michigan!

  7. Isn’t it dreadful of me to say it out loud, but I simply love it when the blog and comments are inert. I relish the idea that wonderful Diana is slaving away writing, writing, writing to feed our addiction.
    Warmest regards from Janet in wintery Brisbane, Australia (15 c) Brrrrr……

  8. we have something similar, and probably descended from these in Upper Michigan. it’s called a pastie. (pa-stee, not to be confused with the nipple adornment, pronounced pay-stee), usually made with venison, or hamburger, or whatever meat the polish, welsh, and finnish miners could find, rutabags, potatoes, carrots onions, salt, pepper and lard. they were frozen and carried to work. Presumably, by the time lunch rolled around they were thawed enough to heat up on the back of your shovel over the flame of your head lamp lantern…at home we serve them up with brown gravy and yes, ketchup. and of course most of us use butter instead of lard. The crust is a simple pie crust, rolled out, folded over and crimped. Then poke the crust with a fork to vent it, and bake. or freeze. they’re a staple in Northern Michigan, Wisconsin and stores that sell them are more prevalent than Starbucks, In fact, my home town of Marquette is the biggest town in the U.P. and I don’t think we have a Starbucks. **grin**

  9. Ah, Suet!! I’m one of those who Theresa said would know who we are! I LOVE the taset of a crust made with suet. Of course, I learned it when young because my mother made a “Suet Pie” that her grandmother-in-law(an immigrant before 1900 from the North of England) had taught her! Looks a like like this except that instead of a circle with the meat inside, we make it as a pot pie type dish. The meat and veggies with that wonderful Suet crust on top! I may have to try it this way.
    And I too would like to think of you writing and writing and writing till we get our next fix of Clair and Jamie!

  10. These look SO good!

    And my oldest copy of Drums looks *just* like that! Chunks of pages falling out all over the place…Husband was a love and bought me new copies of all of them one Christmas, but I can’t bring myself to get rid of my original beloved paperbacks. *sigh*

  11. Every culture has a small “hotpocket” type meal, that the farmer can carry into the field with him for his mid-day meal. They all look much alike, and are filled with what ever is to hand…”What Momma had left over from last night…lol.”

  12. Dr. Gabaldon:
    I have recently found your books and am on the second in the series. I am obssessed! Your talent is such that I can feel Jamie and Claire even when I’m not reading. I also want you to know that I often think while I’m reading that you must be well loved indeed to create the bond between the characters…that is to say, an imagination can only take one so far. Drawing on experiences brings it all vibrantly alive.
    Thank you for very entertaining and thoughtful evenings!

  13. Greetings Diana!

    Have you tried the Cornish Pasty shop on Dobson and Guadalupe (Mesa/Tempe border)? There are pictures on the wall of Cornish miners and you can have a seat at the bar (behind a glass of cider) and watch the pastys being made. Try the Oggie (traditional), Pepper Steak (with stilton cheese and leeks) and the Salmon (exquisite).
    I moved East last year and oh, how I miss those pastys!

    Hope you enjoy and thank you for your wonderful tale!

    - Jen Whelan

  14. An Outlander Cookbook! I can see it!
    and I can taste it! Oyster Stew, Bridies, Bannocks oh yes!
    If no one wants to write it I will

    -Maria Rea

  15. So cool. A few weeks ago i looked up bridies on myrecipes.com&really didnt see anything that reminded me of Briannas bridie.i never thought to look on dianas website. Thanks so much!

  16. Her copy of Drums of Autumn (in the picture) looks just my beat up, old, much read book! Actually all my paperback copies look like that :)