I won’t lie – the reason I picked up this book was because my knowledge of Scottish cuisine is limited to haggis. And by knowledge, I mean I’ve heard the word, not that I know what it is. So I was expecting the story’s heroine, Sami Ames, to take me along on her trip to Scotland and tell me all about the food from the point of view of a teenage girl. Not quite.
What I got was a scene that certainly happens in real life and in books, though I wish it wouldn’t in both instances. Adan (the “Hot Scot”) takes Sami on a picnic and packs the food himself, including sandwiches filled with, at first description, unknown meat. But after Sami has the stereotypical panic attack over having to eat in front of a cute guy, then takes a bite that doesn’t make it all the way into her mouth and “realiz[es] what a pig [she is],” we find out that the mystery meat is ham. Of course.
Well, my ham-and-dating history is quite different from that. When I first started dating my husband, I worked nights, and many times he’d pick me up and take me to this bar (Balcony Bar on Magazine St.) that had the best club sandwiches. I’d eat – and love – every bite of ham, turkey, and bacon without sharing a bite. And he told me that was one of the things he liked most about me, because he’d gone on awful food dates, including one where the girl just watched him eat. He thought she was totally insecure, he felt completely uncomfortable, and the only positive thing he could say about her was that at least she hadn’t ordered something and wasted his money by leaving it untouched.
That’s the kind of date I like to see in books – one where girls (characters and readers) are shown how ridiculous food obsession is. So I was thrilled when Sami finally caved into some toasted marshmallows and broke her “no eating in front of guys rule.” I don’t know if she came to her senses or, more likely, was scared sense-ful (rather than the more common sense-less) by the pending arrival of the ghost of Samuel MacKensie, but it doesn’t matter. The marshmallows made her happy, made her date happy, and made me happy, too!