View site in Scots

Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

White pudding




A white pudding has nothing to do with a dessert. In the Dictionaries of the Scots Language (DSL) it is defined as


“a pudding or sausage stuffed with oatmeal, suet, salt, pepper and onions”.


It is also known as mealie pudding.


Although the Scots diet has long been maligned by many, if you were working the fields from dawn to dusk a high fat and calorific diet made sense for those lucky enough to afford it.


The dish has a long pedigree. One early example in DSL comes from David Herd’s The Ancient and Modern Scots Songs (1769):


“First they ate the white puddings and then they ate the black”.


What appears to be a shopping list is documented by John Galt in his 1833 Howdie [midwife]:


“Mutton-hams, white puddings, salt fish, and half a cheese”.



DSL then skips a century to give us this from the Herald in December 2000:


“A mission was sent out to the local chipper for a white pudding supper”.


Which perhaps was a challenge given this from the Scotsman (2002):


“Remember when a chip shop sold chips and little else? The choice was cod or haddock or possibly, in the more outré chippies, white pudding.”



The next year a description from a visitor sampling local cuisine was recorded in the Edinburgh Evening News (2003):


“In Snax I was offered a choice of sausage, which included square sausage which was nice… then I think they’re called white pudding which I tried for the first time and liked”.


This Scots Word of the Week comes from Dictionaries of the Scots Language.

Visit DSL Online at