This article appears as part of the Food Matters newsletter.

Aside from the occasional Sunday school visit or Christmas service, I can’t claim to have been brought up in a particularly religious household.

But still, to this day I can guarantee that wedged into a bookshelf of my childhood home sits a small book held in the same reverence by our family as any holy tome.

It’s green in colour, with white polka dots, now somewhat ratty around the edges in its aged state and stained with the various spills of coffee, rogue butter icing or sauces that have bubbled too ferociously from their pots over the years.

Within its pages, you’ll find no scriptures or psalms.

Instead, there are recipes, handwritten in my late grandmother's notoriously difficult-to-decipher script or ripped straight from the magazines she would browse while glued to the spot by the landline phone.

Fresh Scottish pancakes that proved her talent as a natural baker, chocolate muffins from Nigella Lawson to appease my brother's rampant sweet tooth or retro sticky chicken served with tinned pineapple chunks, demonstrating an attempt to move on from the meat and two veg that were typical of island diets in her generation.

She is dearly missed every day, but through this one sacred notebook deferred to while planning many a meal since her passing, she is never truly far from our table.

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I was glad to be reminded of this intrinsic link between the food we eat and our history, both on a personal and national scale, while speaking with the team behind the Scottish Food Heritage Symposium held in Paisley yesterday.

There, an incredible range of guest speakers including food writers, folklorists and local producers gathered to highlight the need for stronger investment in research into Scotland’s food heritage.

So often reduced to simply haggis, neeps and tatties or whisky, the event offered a fascinating insight into the country’s rich culinary past with tales of surprising ingredients and influences from other cultures that have shaped the way we eat today.

The Herald:
Peter Gilchrist of Tenement Kitchen said: “I think, particularly in the West of Scotland, we have very short memories and that’s because working-class history and stories haven’t been preserved as well.

“If you go back a couple of generations, past those who lived through world wars and had access to mince, potatoes or onions, you start to see that there was a lot more variety available.

“Cookbooks are a great insight into that and my earliest goes back to 1810 when people were preparing amazing lobster or lemon sole and amazing sauces.

“Part of our job now is for researchers to come together and see where the leads are so that we can really start to go beyond our great-grandparents and the economic hardship they faced.”

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You can find the full interview with Dr Lindsay Middleton and Peter Gilchrist here.

After doing so, I hope you too might feel inspired to revisit those special family recipes that will be passed down to generations to come over the weekend.

They won't have a patch one on my gran's, but I think it's time to tackle those pancakes.