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Scouse or Lobscouse

Pot Meals

(or Scouce or Lob-Scouce)

Stew of diced lamb or other red meat, boiled until partly fallen, with carrots and other root vegetables. Often served with a biscuit of shortcrust pastry and pickled onions or pickled red cabbage.

Scouse and red cabbage
Image: Frank Green

Originally a sailor's mixed stew of meat, vegetables and hardtack, known in English at least since Edward Ward's book on seafaring "The Wooden World Dissected" of 1745. The word is from the north German 'Labskaus' (where it is sometimes made with fish as well as beef), the Norwegian 'lapskaus', or Danish 'labskovs'. It has given its name to the equally rich and culturally mixed-up Liverpool dialect, and to those who speak it.

Scouse is commonly served at social gatherings across the North, when it, like all stews, is referred to as 'hot pot'.

In The Literary Gazette of 1837; "There stood a superb tureen of lobscouse. Everybody knows what lobscouse is, it is a dish fit for the gods, and of that satisfying nature that a spoonful is sufficient for a whole year for a mere mortal when he can get any thing else to eat."

The Every-day book and Table book of William Hone (1838) tells that; "the usage in Cumberland and other northern parts of England It seems that on Twelfth night which finishes their Christmas holidays the rustics meet in a large room. They begin dancing at seven o'olock and finish at twelve when they sit down to lobscouse and ponsondie the former is made of beef potatoes and onions fried together and in ponsondie we recognise the wassail or waes-hael of ale boiled with sugar and nutmeg into which are put roasted apples the anciently admired lambs wool."

See: Blind Scouse, Lancashire Hotpot

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