I can’t say that I’ve ever eaten Scottish food. Actually, aside from haggis, I can’t say that I even really know what Scottish food is (I mean, there’s lots of sausage and potatoes, right?). So when I heard that there was going to be an Outlander-inspired cookbook, I was intrigued.
Well, I was pleasantly surprised by Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook (Delacorte Press, June 14, 2016). Written by Theresa Carle-Sanders with a foreword by Diana Gabaldon herself(!), the cookbook is charmingly put together, pairing different dishes with their mentions in Gabaldon’s novels. There are 17 chapters, each one containing recipes for different meals or types of food. Browse through “Chapter 9: Game,” to learn how to make Venison Stew with Tomatoe-Fruits, or check out “Chapter 14: Breads and Baking,” to finally learn what a bannock is. Every recipe also includes a quote or two, showing us exactly where it was featured in Gabaldon’s epic series. And it’s not just Scottish food either. Just as Jamie and Claire end up traveling around the world, so does this cookbook, giving us everything from modern pizza to Gabaldon’s own cheese enchilada recipe.
I have to admit that although I’ve read the entire Outlander series, I never realized just how much food was tucked away in the pages of each book. But after leafing through Outlander Kitchen, I instantly started to remember certain scenes: the mashed potatoes Claire makes for the gang at Lallybroch in Dragonfly in Amber. The bread with honey that Jamie likes to eat in the mornings at their cabin in the mountains. And all of this just goes to show how important food is when it comes to establishing a world or placing the reader within a certain time period or culture.
After finishing Outlander Kitchen, I most definitely have a larger appreciation for Scottish food, but also for how many meals Gabaldon has managed to squeeze into her novels. Since I’m currently obsessed with season 2 of the popular Starz series, now is the perfect time to try out some of the recipes while I wait for the next episode to air. Or maybe I’ll just binge watch the entire show and try out different recipes as I go — the possibilities are endless now.
On that note, here are four of the absolute best Outlander episodes to-date and the four meals from the Outlander Kitchen Cookbook that would perfectly complement them:
“Sassenach,” Episode 1×01
Synopsis: Claire is a happily married World War II nurse who suddenly gets transported back to 18th century Scotland. There she struggles to survive, finding herself caught up in the rising tensions between the English and the Scots. Oh, and she meets a super hot redhead named Jamie who likes to stare soulfully into her eyes. Frank who, amiright?
Pairs With: “Black Jack Randall’s Dark Chocolate Lavender Fudge,” page 258.
Why It Works: It’s in the pilot that Claire first meets Black Jack Randall, the English soldier who will grow to become her greatest enemy. He’s also the spitting image of her husband, which definitely makes things awkward. Black Jack’s lavender perfume plays a big part in the book and becomes a scent that turns Jamie’s stomach every time (and for VERY good reasons). So we should eat this fudge while we still can, before the taste of it starts to turn all of our stomachs later on in the season.
“The Wedding,” Episode 1×07
Quick Synopsis: Jaime and Claire are forced to get married, only it turns out that they really don’t mind it at all, especially once they hit the bedroom. But first they have to survive the general awkwardness of the wedding day and night, the highhanded jealousy of Dougal McKenzie, and their own mutual fears.
Pairs With: “Bacon, Asparagus, and Wild Mushroom Omelette,” page 45.
Why It Works: After a crazy romantic and sexy night like these two have, breakfast is most definitely essential to getting their strength back. This omelet has protein, lots of veggies, and it’s not so messy that they can’t eat it in bed.
“The Devil’s Mark,” Episode 1×11
Synopsis: Thanks to the teenage Laoghaire, Claire and Geillis are put on trial for witchcraft. They almost burn, but Jamie saves Claire at the last minute and finally finds out the truth about where she came from. Instead of condemning her, he brings her to the standing stones, ready to send her back to her world. But who is he kidding –- why would anyone chose hot showers over getting to make out with Jamie every day? Claire is clearly no fool and she decides to stay.
Pairs With: “Laoghaire’s Whiskey Sour,” page 304
Why It Works: If there’s ever a time for a stiff drink, it’s right after being accused of witchcraft. Since Laoghaire starts all the trouble, it might as well be her whiskey that gives us all a little comfort after watching Claire get condemned as a witch.
“Through A Glass, Darkly,” Episode 2×01
Synopsis: Claire wakes up back in the 1940s after leaving Jamie behind in the past. *SOBS* She resumes her life with Frank (*MORE SOBS*), but can’t help remembering that first day in France with Jamie.
Pairs With: “Steamed Mussels with Butter,” page 159
Why It Works: This buttery dish is one of the first things Claire eats in France, which we’re sure is bound to bring up a lot of memories for the lost-in-time nurse. I’m sure all my tears won’t interfere with the flavors either, while I sob-eat this and rewatch the start of season 2.
In case you missed our live interview with Outlander author Diana Gabaldon, watch the video NOW!