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The macaroni marriage

Posted on July 04, 2015 by

As the petition to save them is dismissed as a “social media experiment” and as Greggs announces it will persist in removing the macaroni pie from its line, I find that my hackles have reached hitherto unrealised heights.

Just who do these people – quislings and traitors to the cause of quality baked goods – think they are? Even the wonderful Nicola (may her name be praised) has expressed ambivalence as to their merits, preferring not to partake at a personal level.

I am no stranger to feelings of righteous indignation, but why does this issue drive me to print in a way that the recent rebuffs to Holyrood’s permanence and full fiscal autonomy did not? Allow me to explain.

Macaroni cheese is my signature dish. I make it much more frequently than I do that other staple of the Scottish dinner table: mince and tatties (and doughballs). The development of my culinary talents was stymied the day I married a lovely English girl but, while she has embraced the cause of Scottish independence and speaks Gaelic with a fluency I am unlikely ever to attain, she is reluctant to encroach upon my territory when it comes to the intermixture of Marshall’s, Cheddar and béchamel.

What she does though, when I deliberately over-provide, is to take the surplus and deposit it in a muffin tin lined with her pastry. The result: a dozen dainty and delicious macaroni pies. In this respect, ours is a marriage of exquisite convenience.

Aside from those accursed with a gluten or lactose intolerance, I struggle to see how anyone can fail to like a well-made macaroni cheese. Crafted with time, love and attention, it is the ultimate comfort food. And it’s cheap. My father’s sustained us through the miners’ strike, along with his chicken noodle soup (Recipe: crumble one chicken stock cube over boiling water. Add spaghetti).

My own sustained me through non-centrally-heated student days in the North East. And when some long-forgotten Scotsman dolloped a spoonful in a spare Scotch pie pastry case, the dish which had sustained Britons for centuries gained something it had previously lacked: portability.

This was not a display of Scottish ingenuity on the mundane level of the television or the MRI body scanner. No, it is an invention that deserves to be celebrated to the same degree as the sandwich or the boiled egg.

When Paul Tonner – originator of the Greggs petition – decries this particular delicacy as “pretty disgusting”, it strikes me to my pie-filled core. When Greggs decides on a careless whim to withdraw this cultural icon on economic grounds in favour of new, untested lines, it feels like a personal – and national – affront.

Yet, given the opportunity for calm reflection, I remember that I have never been a fan of the chain anyway. I resent its malign homogenising influence on our High Streets and its deleterious effect on our independent bakeries. I cast my mind back to gristly steak bakes and the greasy skin that formed on my teeth whenever I had one of their sausage rolls.

Maybe Mr Tonner’s ire is reserved specifically for the Greggs version of the macaroni pie, in which case I can perhaps forgive his intemperate language. To my mind it’s the best thing Greggs does, but it’s hardly the pinnacle of macaroni-pie prowess.

But then I’ve been spoilt. It’s no surprise that Ruth Davidson is a fan of the macaroni pie because, like me, she benefited from a Kingdom upbringing. I refer, of course, to that Kingdom worth preserving: Fife. God’s own county boasts a wealth of quality bakers – a Stephen’s steak bridie, a butterscotch slice from Stuart’s and a Fisher & Donaldson’s coffee tower should feature on everybody’s baked-goods bucket list.

Supposedly, we are what we eat. Thankfully, however, it would seem that diet does not influence one’s politics, or I might now be leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

Maybe it’s because Ruth hails from a slightly more genteel part of Fife. Back in the Buckhaven High School canteen, you could tell who came from her village by the fact they cut their chips. I continue to make a conscious effort to avoid doing so lest I metamorphose into a rabid Unionist.

It is tempting to think of Greggs’ stance as another example of cultural oppression wrapped up in platitudes of economic efficiency. Is this a crime akin to the Highland Clearances? Probably not. But when the cries to save our pies are blithely ignored by a UK bakery behemoth, it can’t help but remind us of the Scotland Bill shenanigans and the drawbacks of being in this inherently imbalanced Union.

If the Greggs decision prompts the people of Scotland to seek macaroni pie fulfilment in one of the many independent bakeries that have survived the colonialist invader’s incursion, that will be a satisfying result. If it also prompts them to realise that the United Kingdom itself is a one-sided marriage of inconvenience, so much the better.

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115 to “The macaroni marriage”

  1. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    So that’s the origin of the word “grievance”.

  2. Doug Daniel says:

    Loved this, what a great piece of writing.

    However, surely everyone knows the best macaroni pies come from Bruce’s of the Broch (Fraserburgh, for those who don’t know Aberdeenshire properly.)

    Can we have an article about the wonders of pork sausages from the Aboyne butcher? (Aberdeenshire has all the best produce.)

  3. Croompenstein says:

    Question is Wattie are the unionists standing cheering and hollering at the demise of the macaroni pie.. 🙂

  4. Murray McCallum says:

    This seems to be a potential win win.

    Independently minded, but varied, macaroni pies working together to achieve pie-max.


    Macaroni of Scotland, unite! You have nothing to lose but your casing.

  5. R-type Grunt says:

    The pies have it!

  6. tartanarse says:

    Wallaces of Dundee made the best pies and bridies in Scotland. Macaroni pies too.

    My vegetarian wife loves these.

    Not living in Scotland I do visit Greggs occasionally as it’s the closest thing I can get to a Scottish bakery but when in Scotland I try to visit independents as they are obviously better.

  7. RogueCoder says:

    “None other than Wattie Grieve!” Good pseudonym 🙂

  8. Dr Jim says:

    Concise and to the point
    In a Piecrust Yes!

  9. Conan_the_Librarian says:

    I’m pasta caring.

  10. Geoff Huijer says:

    You would have to pay me (a lot) to go in a Greggs.

    And I still wouldn’t buy anything…

  11. beachthistle says:

    I’ve never been a fan of Greggs.

    Not because of the quality of their products (of which their macaroni pies were in my view, ironically, their best, with a cheeky wee addition of (cheaper than cheese) mustard giving them an extra edge), but because I’d been told by a food-industry-insider chum that the way that Greggs had got rid of local competition (such as Crawfords in Edinburgh) at the beginning of their empire-building, was to cheat, on a huge ‘industrial’ scale, on the tax (probably VAT) rules for hot/heated-up food products.

    I.e. they (allegedly) found a way to sell the same products without charging the VAT or whatever the existing local bakers legally had to – hence immediately having a huge, unfair ‘price-war’ advantage.

    I was told, but can’t remember, the details of how they did it and managed to get away with it, but I have never forgotten the gist of it, and I have always seen them as a ruthlessly exploitative (of unhealthy Scottish diets as well as seemingly non-legal loopholes) parasitic company, with no scruples but at least with tasty macaroni pies.

    If/when macaroni pies get the chop, I’ll just be left with thinking of Dreggs as a very, ahem, “British” company again…

  12. HandandShrimp says:

    Gregg’s behaviour re the macaroni pie is little short of an outrage. However, Gregg’s were never more than a pretender to the throne. Auld’s of Irvine now that is a real bakery. Their chilli bake is a work of art and the traditional pie topped with tatties and beans a culinary joy. Furthermore when Auld’s sell you a fresh cream meringue it comes with a sugar high warning and diabetes safety pack. The yum yum is the size of a caber.

    Away with these foul tractors and bring me a pie of national sustenance

  13. Neil Anderson says:

    Having lived in the same cooncil scheme (it was never – and will never be – an ‘estate’, surely a term used only by ("Tractor" - Ed)s and ("Quizmaster" - Ed)s) for ever, I have to take exception at the idea that only those from well-heeled villages would cut their chips. I have been an inveterate chip cutter all my days and am proudly working class. Many have commented on my curious habit in both positive and negative fashion, but I will continue to reduce the size of over-large chips till the day I die! I am also a fan of the macaroni pie and purchased one at Greggs only yesterday. I do agree, however, that the over-bearing presence of this ubiquitous chain has seen the demise of many higher quality bakeries. City Bakery to name but one.

  14. bugsbunny says:

    I hate Greggs. They bought over the Oliver’s Sandwich shop, next to the Wallace Monument in Ayr’s High Street. You could order any sandwich with any spread and any toppings you wanting with potato crisps and coleslaw on the side. An Oliver twist was three HUGE slices of bread, white or brown with double helpings of any two fillings you wanted overflowed with salad.

    Gregg’s bought them over and shut the shop. Result? Crap wrapped sandwiches. Thanks for nothing Greggs, you shower of bast@rds.


  15. Cannie see by The Kandy Bar in Saltcoats, but Irvines in Beith runs it close.

  16. heedtracker says:

    Is this actually Bliar reaching out to his vile separatists, through our bellies?

    Belly’s gonna get ya Bliar.

  17. Scott Borthwick says:

    I’ve never really recovered from the demise of Crawford’s in 1996.

    Gregg’s is blech.

  18. Chitterinlicht says:

    Salivating as type

    Fisher and Donaldson coffee towers are one of the greatest things i have ever eaten

    I agree with @tartanarse says about Wallace’s fae Dundees pies. Yum
    Once had a lasagne pie in Aberdeen

    Used to be able to sneak down side lane in Linlithgow after pub shut and knock on back door of Oliphants the bakers and get fresh illegal pies to munch on the way home after 8 pints of Tartan Special

    Avoid Greggs always

    Great bit of writing

  19. Les Wilson says:

    Well written article, but more, it makes it obvious we do need moments of frivolity to keep us sane. Well done.

  20. Proud Cybernat says:

    “…intermixture of Marshall’s, Cheddar and béchamel.”

    But for true Scotaroni you add to the above mix a single clove of garlic (crushed), some finely chopped smoked bacon and a teaspoon of English mustard.


  21. Scott Borthwick says:


    Why did you have to go and mention Auld’s? Now I want a steak stoater and I’m stranded in Edinburgh.

  22. HandandShrimp says:

    Irvine’s I meant – not Auld’s Doh!

    I think Irvine’s have shops in Beith, Kilbirnie and Kilwinning. Cracking bakers.

  23. Martin says:

    Greggs, eh? How did their terrible fayre get so popular? I remember the good old days when I could buy proper donuts from Pars. Heck, even the “spaghetti pies” (recipe: 1 pie case, 1 tin of spaghetti in tomato sauce) my primary school made outshine the tosh Greggs sell. Maybe this will spark a resurgence of the traditional Scottish bakery. We can but hope.

    Re macaroni pies: Utterly brilliant. Cheesy delight and pie combined. What’s not to love?

  24. Murray McCallum says:

    Wonder if Wattie’s macaroni recipe was ever compromised or enhanced by the addition of sliced tomato on the top?

    A low carb abomination or a colourful/healthy addition?

  25. Paula says:

    Despite being on a low-fat diet, my heart still swells, except with patriotic joy, rather than cholesterol (hopefully). Sometimes I can’t believe how blessed we are to be Scottish- the best land, the best folk, and the best baked goods. English hipsters that want England to be the 51st state can shove their red velvet cake and “mac and cheese” right up their arse.

  26. DerekM says:

    great article Mr Grieve lol

    nah could it be that their macaroni pies are over cooked,stodgy and nobody buys them that they are removing them ?

    Frankly i like a macaroni pie but Greggs or at least the one near me pies are terrible,and after many years of pie munching i consider myself an expert on the subject.

    Yep it is sad many a good pie maker has been put out of business with these corporate giants,i could understand it if their pies were sublime but they are not and only get a 4/10 from me.

    But to give them some credit they do a mean sausage roll which gets an 8/10 from me and my stomach lol

  27. cearc says:

    Doug Daniel,

    ‘(Aberdeenshire has all the best produce.)’

    Bloody hell, man. Are you trying to reduce the independence movement to internecine battle?

  28. robert mcnaughton says:

    Wallaces in Dundee with their old style waitresses was an institution. The food was unmatched. I say that as someone who detoured there before a football match on many occasions.

  29. K1 says:

    Wallace’s pies from Dundee have to be my personal favourite too…I lived in Dundee all through my teens…great bakeries and butchers, I recall my introduction to beef olives…omg…mouthwateringly good…sigh…them were the times…(dinnae eat meat now ;-( )

    Great piece of writing, really enjoyed that…thank you.

  30. Itchybiscuit says:

    @Doug Daniel

    Hey there Dougie – I’m a Brocher! I can’t remember a Bruce bakery across the street from the old council offices. I used to play around there and my old Nana moved from ‘Braidsea’ to Frithside St – the sheltered housing opposite the old dairy and slightly up the hill from my Uncle Windsor’s barber shop. Got my first bike at ‘Fergusons’. 😉

  31. Philip Allan says:

    “Proud Cybernat says:
    4 July, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    …intermixture of Marshall’s, Cheddar and béchamel.

    But for true Scotaroni you add to the above mix a single clove of garlic (crushed), some finely chopped smoked bacon and a teaspoon of English mustard.”

    Don’t forget half an onion (finely chopped) and a few chopped mushrooms, and (a couple of minutes before taking off the heat) 1 – 2 roughly chopped tomatoes!

    Fresh grated cheese, and under the grille until the cheese is bubbling and going brown. Perfection!!!!

    HOWEVER you like yer macaroni, the pie is NOT the pukka way to enjoy it! I’ve no argument with ye, Greggs! If fowk want tae enjoy macaroni….Make it themselves! No need for a pie casing!!!!

  32. K1 says:

    Terrible fare got so popular cause all the good independent ones got squeezed out…have never eaten a thing from greggs…okay maybe a snowball…but that’s all! 😉

  33. jimnarlene says:

    Browns the bakers, makers of the “Killie” pie, also make delicious macaroni pies. Greggs could only dream of such culinary perfection.
    Their bread rolls are fantastic, containing actual bread and not air filled sugery nothingness.

  34. Helena Brown says:

    There is only one answer that I can see Wattie, is that you and your fair maiden start making macaroni pies and start selling them outside Greggs Shops from a hand cart. If they are a demanded product you should indeed make a fortune. Please remember who suggested this when you do. Strangely enough I have never eaten one, but then I have had to forsake Pastry for the good of my health, and weight.

  35. bugsbunny says:

    Talking about beef olives. I remember when I was a wee boy, my Mum, for the first time, splashed out on a beef olive, just for my Dad as a birthday treat. They were expensive and we had beef links for our saturday dinner. Mind you we had three sausages to his one beef olive, his was still more expensive. My Mum hit the roof when she found, what my dad called the “skin”, in the waste bin. He thought it was an inedible cover. When she pointed out it was the best steak, he put his head in his hands. Lol.


  36. Helena Brown says:

    P.s. Wattie, I suggest Cybernat/Union/Italian pies for the name, any combination which takes your fancy, you cannot use plain Macaroni Pies for these delights.

  37. Valerie says:

    A great cultural ‘piece’

    I am one of those tragic characters with the lactose and wheat intolerance, BUT, when I decide to chance my arm, a crusty old fashioned Morton’s roll is my poison.

  38. simoh says:

    @beachthistle totally agree

    Greggs policy is to open up new stores as near as possible to existing local bakers in towns all over the country and put them out of business. I’ve seen it happen all over the west of Scotland.

    There’s loads of research out there telling us that local businesses are better for the local economy. For every £1 given to a local business, in one study, 63p stays local compared to 40p when spent at chains and that’s before you start talking about wages and jobs.

    I never use Greggs and always go to local bakers if there’s still one around. Next time I’m in one I’ll try one of their macaroni pies as I’ve never had one!

  39. call me dave says:

    Macaroni pies… Greggs… not a place I go to or a thing I eat either but cooking your own macaroni great!

    I’m enjoy my tennis at Wimbleton on the free streaming computer channels which is ‘just tennis’ with a choice of ‘all the courts’.

    As I come in to my partners house I hear a scream from her about not enjoying tennis on the BBC which she says has been a parade of talking heads all morning and is now being topped off with a long list of the good and great Brits, guests of the ‘all England club’ in the royal box section. With suitable film of waving union jacks etc etc.
    “Why can’t they stick with the one match to the end” she says.

    I keep telling her it’s an organ of the state… she nods her head and gives me a long Paddington bear stare.
    My licence has not been paid for over two years at my house but she still coughs up… 🙁

    Still no tennis as I’ve been in now for 20 minutes now getting my computer switched on and now started watching tennis live streaming as I write this little epistle on Wings.

    Good old auntie BBC!

    She’s away, nursing her wrath, to the swimming with her grand-daughter!

    I’m in charge of the preparations for tea…macaroni cheese roasted peppers & mushrooms with oven chips.

    As I finish this off she says she has only seen about 45 mins of actual tennis since about 12:00hrs the rest has been fluff.

  40. Legerwood says:

    Proudcybernat @ 12.55

    Add a chopped leek as well as the chopped bacon. Delicious

    ( fry leek and bacon together then add to the cooked pasta then mix them altogether with the sauce).

  41. Gavin says:

    Stuart’s of Buckhaven. Great pies, especially their Atholl pies (steak) small but very tasty. Also love their Apple cream turnovers. Magic !

    Great article. Now I feeling hungry !

  42. Jimbo says:

    Liked the metaphor, Wattie.

    Re bakers: Probably the best baker’s shop in Scotland (IMO) is McNeill’s on Cumbernauld Road, Glasgow. Whenever I’m back home in the East End I always make a point in stopping by for their apple and/or rhubarb pies. Greggs could take lessons in baking from them.

  43. Shagpile says:

    My German girlfriend; also a veggie, loves macaroni pies… so much so that she found the recipie for the case and she makes them herself. They taste braw. A word she also uses from time to time. Wha’s like us? Perhaps my German other half…

  44. stonefree says:

    Sorry don’t like macaroni, so they can go in the bin, Of course at the demise of that pie , there is the Killie pie and variations thereof to fall back on

  45. Farnorthdavie says:

    Originally from Fife and brought up only 3 minutes from Stephen’s original bakery I can’t help but agree with WG’s assessment of their steak bridie, almost worth the 500 mile round trip itself (another vailed Fife reference there!).

    As for Greggs it was always full of slightly confused purchasers who had a far superior, and local, Stephen’s outlet available on the other side of the street; a wee bit like those who thought it would be better to buy the sh**e from Westminster than the quality local product on offer from Holyrood.

  46. Ken500 says:

    No longer a high demand. Cholesterol. Artery cloggers. Make your own.

    A pie factory worker would never eat any of the pies produced because of the ingredients. Except for those produced for M & S with different ingredients.

  47. Les Wilson says:

    Oh well obviously, pies say YES!

    Guess that is how we are thought of , in Westminster anyway. The pies have it! The pies have it!
    The pies will win!

  48. X_Sticks says:

    O/T – nothing whatsoever to do with macaroni pies

    Live Indpendence streaming the Hands off Holyrood march from Edinburgh ON NOW

    Hope to see Ronnnie & the Wings crew somewhere along the way 🙂

  49. thedogphilosopher says:

    You do realise you’re scaring away all the trolls with this nonsense? 🙂

  50. handclapping says:

    Eat your heart out George Robertson; it wasn’t devolution killed nationalism stone dead. It was macaroni pies 😀

  51. Rob James says:

    Aye Wattie, I remember when we used to have Deas the Bakers and Lightbody. Deas had the best buttered rolls I’ve ever tasted. Lightbody’s pineapple round was something else, and their pies and sausage rolls were the best.

    I didn’t realise they had knives and forks at Buckhaven High. The opposite could be said for Kirkland High. It wasnae the posher ones that had knives there.

    Those were the days

  52. James Westland says:

    Wallaces of Dundee. Reminds me they used to have the logo and sign “Land o’ Cakes” and an image of the Wallace Monument. Brilliant!

  53. Juteman says:

    A bean peh fae fae Nicholls o Dundee is a rare delicacy.

  54. Chris F says:

    I don’t understand. If you love pasta, why on earth would you want to encase it in pastry?

  55. Petra says:

    WARNING ……. especially for the male posters on this site. You may be put off macaroni pie for life.

    Do not watch if you’re sensitive by nature (male or female)

    Apologies for the (my) sick sense of humour.

  56. JLT says:


    You do realise you’re scaring away all the trolls with this nonsense?

    We’ll be scaring off the folk who are coming here looking for further information on Fallon’s statement and finding the topic of the day is bizarrely, ‘macaroni pies’.

    (puzzled frown) …Seriously! Absolutely bewildered that this is the topic of conversation today …especially in light of Fallon vomiting up some nonsense about the Crown Estates and Nuclear Weapons …and we blether about Macaroni Pies !?!?!

    Oh well, …see you all tomorrow.

  57. Carol says:

    Macaroni & cheese – add chopped onions and smokey bacon (lightly fried) and chopped (not tinned) tomatoes. Put in individual dishes and top with grated cheese (I like mozzarella) and sprinkle with smoked paprika for that extra kick and put under grill until bubbly. Yummy.

    Never shop in Greggs guy the way.

  58. Muscleguy says:

    I would just like it noted that gluten and lactose free pasta cheese is perfectly possible and equally delicious. Sadly GF macaroni itself is available in these parts only by online mail order at no small expense. So I have to make do with fusilli or cannelini. It’s a tossup, the sauce sticks well to the fusilli but it fills the cannelini. Lactose free milk is fine for Mrs Muscleguy and I’m fine with hard cheeses so one sauce for both pastas makes it fine.

    I do a good line in fresh buckwheat past too, but that is limited to flat pastas and spag. But that is not convenience food, requiring time and a pasta machine. The result is worth it though and same deal in terms of meat and cheese sauces for fresh pasta lasagne works. GF dried lasagne sheets are things of the devil, requiring pre cooking if they are not to be rock hard and they stick together when you do that. Fresh is therefore actually better. The budget doesn’t stretch to the attachments for the pasta machine for shaped pastas though. I’m still working on gluten free ravioli.

  59. baronesssamedi says:

    A Forfar bridie, from McLaren’s of Forfar, natch

  60. @beachthistle

    Greggs loophole was to say their pies etc although hot were in the process of cooling down to ambient room temp and were not made intentionally to be eaten hot.

    `If they are sold specifically for consumption whilst still hot (as a result of being freshly
    prepared, baked, cooked, reheated or kept warm) they will be standard-rated VAT`.

    `If they are sold warm simply because they happen to be freshly baked, are in the
    process of cooling down and are not intended to be eaten while hot; or cold or chilled
    at the time of purchase they can be zero-rated VAT`.

    Saving 20% on each pie etc sold.

  61. starlaw says:

    I know men who travelled from Livingston to Fife to get Pies and Bridies from Stephens, or Stuarts, Greggs stuff cant match the local bakeries Wallaces were World famous Flemings another household name as are others already mentioned in other posts.

  62. Alex Smith says:

    What’s a pie? Here in God’s own YES city – Dundee – we delight in the peh…preferably Wallace’s, but Nicolls in Byron Street are awesome too….

  63. Richardinho says:

    As an exile in London, one of the things that I miss most about Scotland is the food: Macaroni pies, tablet, plain white loafs with charred edges, stovies, bridies, and of course haggis. All the great things that the English are sadly too philistine to appreciate.

  64. Davy says:

    When I stayed down in Yorkshire for eight years the rules for friends from the Scotland coming to visit, was they did not get in unless they had butteries and mealie puddings with them.

    And when we went back up north for a visit the first thing I bought was a couple of macaroni pie’s and scoffed them on the spot.

    Let no-one tell you different, MACARONI PIE’S ARE FOOD OF THE GOD’S.

    PS, stuff Greggs.

  65. Bob Sinclair says:

    Point of Order
    Greggs is not a Bakers, it’s a Re-heaters.

  66. bjsalba says:

    I am fortunate that I live out of the Greggs area. I therefore still have a good choice of bakeries.

    Should they set up here I will know to avoid them.

  67. Fred says:

    @ Jimbo, must concur anent McNeil’s apple & rhubarb pies but as a pie fan & a macarini fan I must confess to never having eaten a macaroni pie! 🙂

  68. Andy-B says:

    Thanks for your thoughts Wattie on the macaroni pie, not a fan I’m afraid, though I did enjoy the Scotch pies with potato and beans on top remember them?

  69. Mike_H says:

    Macaroni pies of any brand are infinitely better than the porky pies I’m choking on from the media.

  70. almannysbunnet says:

    As someone who comes from a the East Coast MacAroni clan I am happy to see the end of Gregg’s pale imitation of the great delecacy. I prefer the local “bum burner”, macaroni and jalapeno pie, with skoosh of slapyamama on top. Greggs say they stopped selling them because of low demand. It’s because your pies are crap ya muppets! Worse than low fat rowies FFS!

  71. andy smith says:

    Could ye go a pie?..aye
    Could ye go twa?…naw

  72. Cactus says:

    Hmm, your article has stimulated the Scottish taste-buds Wattie, next thing we’ll be needing a new page called ‘Readers Recipes‘?

    But I guess that’s what the Off-topic & Quarantine pages have been used for.. 🙂

    ‘Mon the food,

  73. Tony Steedman says:

    As a proud Langtonian and Fifer please permit me to sing the praises of Carlton Bakeries fudge doughnuts. An absolute must before a Raith Rovers home match !

  74. Karen says:

    Herb doughballs and veggie mince – macaroni pies are ace but I don’t care which baker they come from. Pineapple eclairs are my favourites, from a baker in Perth – can’t remember if they come from Greggs

  75. Graeme Brown says:

    I can also report that the ("Quizmaster" - Ed)s at Greggs have not only de listed the macaroni pie they have de listed POTATO SCONES.
    What ever unholy alliance has taken over the lard factory certainly is not from God’s own country.

  76. gus1940 says:

    Scott Borthwick

    Re Crawfords – does anybody remember their fantastic Border Tarts – lots of custard and juicy sultanas.

    Any baker who could get hold of the recipe and produce them would be on to a good thing.

  77. BornOptimist says:

    Who say WoS doesn’t do culture like Bella Caledonia? Never again. Macaroni Pies is culture at its most edible.

  78. Tom McAlister says:

    One tends to get scunnart with pies, macaroni or otherwise when surrounded with them at work.
    As for the VAT question, some of you in previous comments got it spot on.
    As for myself, I was mightily pished aff a while back with the extra work of running round all the “hot” cabinets and counters disconnecting 300 -500w heat lamps…..and replacing them with 100w or lower wattage lamps; to comply with the erm “tax dodging”. I suppose that makes me an accomplice. Ach, maybe there will be knock on the door and the jail sometime in the future. But I won’t loose any sleep over that….. corporates tend to get away with being circumspectual with their tax returns.
    ….. and as for Greggs being aggressive with the competition, buying them out and bumping them off. Aye, tell me about it. I’m ex Bakers Oven.

  79. Macart says:

    That’s a belter. 😀

    Love the post Walter.

  80. donald anderson says:

    Labour motto.

    “There’ll be pie in the skywhen ye die”.

  81. Charles Kearney says:

    And just who the Hell does the Glaikit looking Paul Tonner think he is launching ‘Social Media Experiments’ on an unsuspecting Scottish Public? A simple post of the fact that he finds them pretty disgusting would have been more than sufficient! but, you can see the Arrogance spitting out of the Pratt, and his rush to inform the BBC of how Puckishly Smucking Fart been, is a measure of the Man—which I sincerely hope will see him studiously ignored henceforth!

  82. donald anderson says:

    The IWW, “Wobblies/International Workers of the World”, concentrated much of their efforts on organizing the migratory and casual laborers of the lumber and construction camps. In between jobs these migrants would gather in the Skid Rows of Chicago, Portland, Seattle and other cities they used as a “base of operations.” There on the street corners was the inevitable Salvation Army band anxious to save lost Wobbly souls.
    But the Wobblies were more interested in filling their stomachs than in saving their souls, and they ridiculed the Salvation Army hymns with biting parodies aimed at what came to be known as “pie in the sky” preaching….

    The most successful of these parodies was Joe Hill’s masterpiece, “The Preacher and the Slave,” more widely known as “Pie in the Sky” — a devastating take-off on the hymn “Sweet Bye and Bye.”

    Edith Fowke and Joe Glazer, Songs of Work and Protest, New York, NY, 1973, p. 157.

    First published in the Jul 6, 1911 edition of the Industrial Worker “Little Red Songbook” as “Long Haired Preachers,”, credited to F. B. Brechler (subsequently credited to Joe Hill in Mar 6, 1913 fifth edition) The Bosses had Joe Hill shot. Never unerserstiamte the depth of the ruling classes anywhere.

    Long-haired preachers come out every night,
    Try to tell you what’s wrong and what’s right;
    But when asked how ’bout something to eat
    They will answer with voices so sweet:
    You will eat, bye and bye,
    In that glorious land above the sky;
    Work and pray, live on hay,
    You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.
    The starvation army they play,
    They sing and they clap and they pray
    ‘Till they get all your coin on the drum
    Then they’ll tell you when you’re on the bum:
    Holy Rollers and jumpers come out,
    They holler, they jump and they shout.
    Give your money to Jesus they say,
    He will cure all diseases today.
    If you fight hard for children and wife —
    Try to get something good in this life —
    You’re a sinner and bad man, they tell,
    When you die you will sure go to hell.

    Workingmen of all countries, unite,
    Side by side we for freedom will fight;
    When the world and its wealth we have gained
    To the grafters we’ll sing this refrain:

    You will eat, bye and bye,
    When you’ve learned how to cook and to fry.
    Chop some wood, ’twill do you good,
    And you’ll eat in the sweet bye and bye.

  83. daddyo says:

    Gavin says:
    4 July, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Stuart’s of Buckhaven

    and the rolls of the Gods.

    PS Ruthie D you shame us all that went to Buckhaven High School

  84. Fred says:

    “Up wi the tank straddlers o Buckhaven” then?

  85. big jock says:

    It’s simple what has happened. Like all Scottish companies that grow in England. They forget their roots and become a UK company.

    That usually means they have a central buying policy. In effect they are not interested in their Scottish customers. The head offices soon move to England. Their identity is lost.

    This works for insurance companies, banks,car dealers,shops. The Union deprives Scotland of head offices and manufacturing.

    How annoying is it when they constantly talk about jobs coming to the UK. When there is no such thing. 90% of international companies only manufacture and franchise in England.

    Hence there are 50 million people in England and 5 million in Scotland. We are frozen out of the world in the UK.

  86. Jamie Arriere says:

    Pies? PIES? You want PIES!! World Champion PIES!!!

    Murrays of Perth, South Street – simply the best. You can’t disagree with a fat Bay City Roller

  87. Simon Curran says:

    Gregg are yet another example of the triumph of the bland and mediocre. I’m not really sure how they’ve done it, I’d always much rather support local bakers. Remember holidaying near St Andrews a few years back and there was a tremendous bakery there though the name escapes me.

  88. Brian Doonthetoon says:

    Hi Wattie.

    A finely written piece. I mean of literature, rather than a doorstep of bread, butter and jam, designed for a bairn’s temporary sustenance.

    Onnyhoo, industrially pre-formed macaroni pies have never been on my list of ‘must have’, as I am quite fond of my own macaroni cheese concoction.

    Hoosoanever, a number of commenters mentioned “Wahlluses” in connection with Dundee. There were two: “The Auld Dundee Pie Shop”, in Castle Street (D. Wallace), which did the most wonderfully greasy onion bridies, and ‘Wallace Land O’ Cakes’ (J. Wallace), whose outlet was in Crichton Street.

    Apparently, there had been some hiatus in the Wallace family in decades past, resulting in the two distinct bakery dynasties.

    In the 1970s, I worked in Claude Alexander in the Overgate, and we had an area manager who always timed his visits to our Dundee shop for a Wednesday, around lunchtime, so the most junior member of staff could be sent down to Wallace’s in Castle Street, for an onion bridie.

    Which brings me to this wee poem my uncle taught me…

    Big, fat, muckle bridie.?
    Sittin’ there, yi look right tidy.?
    Bough’ oot o’ Davey Wahlusses,?
    Fit tae be eaten beh keengs in palaces.
    ?No half sae dear as yon caviar,?
    Eaten wie a pint, in onny bar.?
    ©Uncle Jim, 1958.?

    Lastly, when we started making pro-indy badges last year, this was one of the designs we came up with. The pie featured is a Scott Brothers steak and gravy, a steal at £1.40, from their shop in the Nethergate, between Whitehall Street and Union Street.
    There is no air gap between the lid and the filling; they are stapped fuh’ o’ meat. The gravy is of a consistency that retains its strength and does not try to escape down your chin.
    Well worth a treh…

  89. Gavin says:

    As a regular reader of wings it’s nice to have a bit of light relief on here for a change. Don’t get me wrong, stu’s articles are brilliant and we all want the same thing, but it’s good to see that there is more to wings than just Scottish independence. If there’s one thing we can all agree on, ye canny beat a guid pie.

    We fifers are certainly blessed with countless bakeries, Stephens, Stuart’s, Barnetts, Glen Bakers, Fisher & Donaldson, Tower Bakery etc etc

    Greggs, how could they ? no tattie scones ? What a bunch of Philistines. I stopped going to the one here in Cupar ages ago and now go to Stuart’s instead. Slightly more expensive but far better quality, and when you ask for a hot pie it’s hot. Greggs “hot” products are usually lukewarm.

  90. Betty Boop says:

    @ Croompenstein, 4 July 2015, 12:10pm
    Croompenstein says:

    ,Question is Wattie are the unionists standing cheering and hollering at the demise of the macaroni pie.. 🙂

    Some are!

    I bought a couple of macaroni pies (not from Greggs) directly after suffering K with an e’s radio programme just to spite her. The way she was going on, despite claiming never to have eaten one, you would think that obesity in this country was entirely down to the consumption of macaroni pies!

    I don’t buy them in normal circumstances and, admittedly those were fairly awful examples of the “delicacy”, but, she really did annoy me.

  91. Marco McGinty says:

    @The Tree of Liberty
    “Cannie see by The Kandy Bar in Saltcoats, but Irvines in Beith runs it close.”

    “I think Irvine’s have shops in Beith, Kilbirnie and Kilwinning. Cracking bakers.”

    I have to agree about Irvine’s, as they do make some fine produce. They also have a shop in Dalry.

  92. starlaw says:

    Believe The Auld Dundee Pie shop also made the famous Cow Pie. Scots Magazine did an Item on D. Wallace some years ago

  93. Tom Kane says:

    Ah, Stu. Classic.

    But,much as I love them, they’ve probably got to go.

    Now, if they had a bit of mustard in with the macaroni, a nice English or French, if Gregg’s didn’t add industrial plastic to the cheese, if said cheese had any cheesiness at all, and if, when they occassionally lie, forlorn on the Greggs glass display shelves til 3 o’clock they didn’t harden into dental enamel crunchers… well, I would be right there with you.

    Part of me is. But, Stu… they’ve got to go. There are children in the country.

  94. ronnie anderson says:

    Awe ffsaky ave put on aboot four stone reading this thread lol

  95. Tom Kane says:

    Sorry.. Wattie… I thought this was from the Rev.

    Fab writing.

  96. Eckle Fechan says:

    Macaroni. In a pie. Not as good as the Haggis. In a pakora.

  97. Socrates MacSporran says:

    When I was covering senior football, big Doug Baillie and I were considered THE pie experts among Scottish football writers, so, I feel I speak with some authority on pies.

    The small Killie Pies which are served in the media centre at Rugby Park are to die for, tastier and better than the larger KPs sold to the public – the epitome of piedom; their wee sausage rolls are good too.

    The pies at St Mirren Park are also good, but, the real gastronomic treat when following the Buddies was always the home-made shortbread.

    Ayr United, as a response to the Killie Pie, came up with a Rabbies Pie – haggis-based, which was wonderful on a schnell winter’s afternoon.

    As a young man, getting home from the Friday night dancing, Jim McPheators’ pies, hot from the oven in his wee bakery in Logan Toll, at sometime after 2am, were a rare treat. They were just as good when served-up post-match at Cumnock Rugby Club, 14-hours later.

    Anent Greggs, growing-up in Cumnock, there were three small local bakeries, all with their specialities and all doing well. Today, all gone, although, former by former bakers from one and based in New Cumnock, Pathead Bakery is fighting a good rearguard action against Gregg’s, and still baking genuine “Cumnock Tarts”, which are a wonderful treat.

    Macaroni pies – never been a fan. If I want macaroni, I prefer my oldest daughter’s twist on her late mother’s macaroni-cheese.

  98. lumilumi says:

    Ah, national macaroni dishes…

    A perennial favourite in all Finnish families with children is “macaroni box”.

    Boil macaroni. Fry mince (usually pork/beef mix) with chopped onions (+salt, white pepper, other spices optional). Combine macaroni & mince in oven-proof dish, add (optionally spiced) egg & milk mixture, sprinkle top with grated cheese, stick in the oven for about an hour (until egg mixture solidifies), serve with tomato sauce (ketchup). Kids love it and there are as many recipies as there are Finnish families.

    The more proper English name for it would of course be macaroni casserole but I like the direct (mis)translation of makaronilaatikko (laatikko=box) because it places macaroni box with a family of Finnish dishes, all called laatikko (presumably because they used to be oven baked in rectangular containers – nowadays usually aluminium tins): the traditional neeps/turnips, carrots&barley (nowadays usually rice), slow-sweetened potato. They ALWAYS feature at a Finnish Christmas dinner. Slightly newer variations of the “box dish” include potato&mince (basically cottage pie), even minced liver, rice & raisins.

    “Boxes” are more winter food. I’ll now go and boil some new potatoes and eat them with gravlax and dill, mmmmm! Sadly, the best rhubarb season is over so no rhubarb soup (with full-fat milk) for dessert.

  99. A J Murison says:

    Ronald’s the bakers in Newmilns. A hidden gem. The only quibble is that everything you want is usually sold out by 11am.

  100. Helena Brown says:

    My poor Husband’s nose twitches outside Stephen’s the Bakers in Dunfermline, Bridies, poor soul hasn’t had one for years. I may relent on of those days. Killie pies, smell wonderful, he has them of and on.

  101. Ian Mackay says:

    big jock:
    “It’s simple what has happened. Like all Scottish companies that grow in England. They forget their roots and become a UK company.

    That usually means they have a central buying policy. In effect they are not interested in their Scottish customers. The head offices soon move to England. Their identity is lost.”

    Actually Greggs are originally a Northumberland company. They are still known – by some – as Greggs of Gosforth.

    They just took the decision to expand northwards before they decided to take on those southerners.

    Some people think Greggs are a Scottish company because of this. In actuality they expanded in the north of England and Scotland at around the same time.

  102. Ian Mackay says:

    “It’s simple what has happened. Like all Scottish companies that grow in England. They forget their roots and become a UK company.

    That usually means they have a central buying policy. In effect they are not interested in their Scottish customers. The head offices soon move to England. Their identity is lost.”

    Actually Greggs are originally a Northumberland company. They are still known – by some – as Greggs of Gosforth.

    They just took the decision to expand northwards before they decided to take on those southerners.

    Some people think Greggs are a Scottish company because of this. In actuality they expanded in the north of England and Scotland at around the same time.

  103. Fred says:

    Who sells real Tottie Scones made with real totties, remember them? and not potato flakes from some plant which also markets them as wallpaper paste.

  104. lumilumi says:

    wallpaper paste…

    That’s how your fruit/berry/rhubarb soup ends up if you don’t know how to handle potato flour.

    Never ever let it boil.

    I just had some wonderful lingonberry soup with milk (from last year’s frozen lingonberries, the season isn’t until late July/August).

    I have to admit I’m not a big fan of Scottish type, or British, Australian type pies in general. (Yuk.) Nothing snobby, I don’t like the Finnish style “meat pies” either.

    However, shared, unsung, “unofficial” national foods are important. They bring people together, create community. I’m not very keen on Finnish barbaque sausages but I eat them on social ocassions every summer as a f**k you to all the prissy health fanatics. (Strangely enough, whithout prissy health fanatics, I might not feel the need to eat a single sausage, I don’t like them all that much.)

    Right now, “local food” is very trendy among the trendy classes in the Helsinki metro area. They just don’t want to a) spend a bit more on locally produced food, or b) make their food from scratch, or, heaven forbid, c) grow their own! (except the obligatory herbs in pots on the windowsill.)

    Anyway, I now have to go and see a steam train full of British tourists.

  105. Brian Doonthetoon says:

    Hi lumilumi.

    “Anyway, I now have to go and see a steam train full of British tourists.”

    Don’t feed them! It’ll only encourage them to come back for more…


  106. lumilumi says:



    We want to have more and more tourists here! Encourage them to come back for more. British, Russian, Chinese, whatever, doesn’t matter. (I won’t wear my YES t-shirt to see Brit tourists, though.)

    Anyway, this batch is “steamheads”, here to see things like this beauty:

    (My dad owns 1/4 of her and has been istrumental in restoring her into working order.)

  107. K1 says:

    Think this is it now Lumilumi 😉

  108. Brian Doonthetoon says:

    Nice loco, Lumilumi.

    Here’s one of ours…


  109. lumilumi says:


    Aye, that’s it. I’m so paranoid about doing Youtube links here on WoS that I do them wrong every time. 🙁

    Anyway, that’s her coming out of the roundhouse under her own steam for the first time in four decades. That was nearly two years ago.

    Now she’s done her “MOTs” and the owners have provided a stack of paperwork with plenty of red tape to four or five different Finnish authorities – jeez, the amount of paperwork, I’m “astonished” there are ANY steam locos still moving along Finnish tracks!

    Here she is, doing her “MOT” trials a couple of weeks ago.

    She passed with flying colours.

    The driver, now a retired VR (Finnish Railways) driver who used to drive this type of engines as a young man said he’d never driven a better running, smoother Tv1 engine. Apparently he was apoplectic with pleasure to be given a chance to drive her. He’s so privileged, very few people have steam locomotive driving licences!

    She’ll be heated and steamed up tomorrow and do some shunting on the museum tracks to show off to those British tourists but she can’t go on the public tracks before she gets her final certificate.

  110. lumilumi says:

    @ BT

    Aaw, the Jacobite Express. 🙂 (And the “Harry Potter bridge”, i.e. the Glenfinnan viaduct.)

    I’ve only travelled from Fort William to Mallaig or back on a diesel train. The first time was on these tiny, old-fashioned ones where you had to open the window to open the compartment door from the outside. (Showing my age here…)

    The thing about iconic or historic trains… It’s great to travel in them, but inside, you don’t actually SEE the train/engine. The rail enthusiasts parked by the tracks get better video/photos.

    Bit like mountains. They look magnificent, beautiful, whatever. If you climb to the top, you can’t actually see the mountain you’re on. Views of other mountains, glens etc. compensate for this, but it’s almost a philosophical dilemma. Is it better to see the beauty of, say, Suilven from the floor or to climb her, conquer her, and lose her beauty in mundane rambling and scrambling amidst the scree?

    Once you’ve topped a peak, it’s never the same, it never again has that magic. It might still look beautiful but you know you’ve been there and you know it’s just a pile of scree and a trig point.

  111. Brian Doonthetoon says:

    Jeez Lumilumi,

    You have a poetic turn o’ phrase an’ thah’, iye?


  112. Paula Rose says:

    We’ve got steam trains in Brechin.

  113. donald anderson says:

    This macaroni pie argument has gone stale. Time foe a fresh thread.

  114. Fred says:

    Tonight is Moussaka time, with a bottle of wine for a vegetable! 🙂 not Greek unfortunately.

  115. Robert Forrest says:

    Anough’o’this nonsense.

    I live abroad. I was actually feeling ok.

    Then I read this. Now all I can think of is Greg’s greasy mince pies and sausage rolls.

    AND…brings back memories of traveling 12,000 Km with Scottish fast-food in my case.

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