They’re cheap, they go perfectly with some cheese and wine, and they are seemingly innocuous … but oakcakes have become the latest issue to crop up in the famously crumbly relationship between Scotland and England.

This Tuesday marks the seventh year of Oatcake Day. Several celebrities have backed the commemoration of one of the UK’s favourite delicacies – everyone from Ricky Gervais to Jimmy Carr to Derren Brown.

Unfortunately, it is not the famous Scottish oatcake that is being celebrated. Instead, the day is dedicated to the lesser-known Staffordshire version, a bubbly concoction more akin to a pancake.

Not to be rolled over, Scotland is fighting back. Shirley Spear, renowned Scottish chef and Sunday Herald food columnist, has a plan – and it’s by no means half-baked.

Spear is calling for an all-new Scottish Oatcake Day, and insists the oatcake is one of our nation’s oldest and most important food traditions.

“Our Scottish oatcakes are so much part of our food, heritage and culture, and we really ought to be celebrating it more widely. It’s a healthy option to eat and easy and inexpensive to make. It’s something that we should be getting people involved with from school age because it has a real nutritional value.

“Staffordshire oatcakes are nothing like the ones made in Scotland. It’s a completely different recipe with a different use of oatmeal. We are also growing oats in Scotland – it’s a fantastic climate here and we could do with doing it on a greater scale.”

Oatcakes have long been associated with Scotland, though other traditions have developed elsewhere in the UK. The flatbread snack has been documented as existing in Scotland since at least the 14th century.

The English writer Samuel Johnson infamously said oats were “a grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people”. Lord Elibank, a Scottish economist at the time offered a crumb of comfort, retorting: “Yes, and where else will you see such horses and such men?”

Spear says: “In Scotland, it’s long been regarded as the ‘mighty oat’. I think it’s because it’s something Scotland grew strong on. No soldier in ancient times would go into battle without his oatmeal. It kept him going in adverse conditions. It’s perfect as both an ingredient and a food item.”

Widely considered the "bread of Scotland", oatcakes are made by a number of successful food manufacturers including Nairn’s, Paterson’s, MacLean’s and Stockan’s. The cakes are typically made either on a griddle or by baking oatmeal on a tray.

Sumayya Usmani, food writer, broadcaster and columnist for the Sunday Herald, is another oats enthusiast. She says: “Everyone should have oatcakes in their store cupboard. It’s a wonderfully underrated, simple, healthy and frugal staple food. The beauty of it is there are so many varieties of oatcake in Scotland from different regions and for different times. I think it’s something that can go beautifully with cheese or stews and it’s also a great alternative to bread and toast for breakfast. It’s amazing how meaty they are, too – they fill you up and are really substantial.”

Other leading figures to support Spear’s idea include Scottish cookery writer Sue Lawrence and TV chef Mark Greenaway.

He says: “Oatcakes can be such a versatile and healthy snack, either by eating them with the Scottish classic stovies or indulging and making them part of a dessert. I believe they deserve to be celebrated, and are for much more than just serving as part of a cheese course.”

Food and drink is being heavily promoted this year as part of the Scottish Government’s History, Heritage and Archaeology initiative. Questioned on whether the Scottish Government would support an Oatcake Day, a spokesperson said: “We are rightly proud of the country’s oatcakes, part of Scotland’s internationally renowned food and drink sector, and we welcome any move to promote Scottish produce to a wider audience.”

See Shirley Spear's Flavours of Scotland column: Magazine