"Cullen skink"

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Fri Jan 15 04:41:16 UTC 2010

Joel S. Berson wrote:
> ....
> The OED defines "Cullen skink" as "A kind of
> thick soup, typically made using smoked haddock,
> potatoes, onions, and milk."  Its earliest two citations are:
> 1916 Trans. Sc. Dial. Comm. 2 30 Cullen skink, a
> dish consisting of yellow fish, potatoes, milk
> and onions. 1929 F. M. MCNEILL Scots Kitchen 98
> (heading) Cullen Skink (a cottage recipe from the
> shores of the Moray Firth). Findon haddock,
> onion, mashed potaoes [sic], butter, milk, pepper, and salt.
> I have been informed that the Dictionary of the
> Scots Language (freely available on-line even if
> you haven't bought a lottery ticket) has an entry.  It is:
> CULLEN SKINK, n. comb. A soup made from yellow
> haddocks, potatoes, onions and milk (Sc. 1929 F.
> M. McNeill Scots Kitchen 98–99; Mry.1 1925; Bnff.
> 1914 K. W. Peterkin W.-L.; Bnff.9 c.1927).
>      [Cullen, on the Moray Firth, + Skink, soup.]
> So what is the 1914 citation that would antedate
> the OED?  Likely Jesse and his trolls already
> know, but "K. W. Peterkin" is not easy to
> identify on-line.  Google Books (snippet view) uncovers just one instance:
> The Scottish educational journal, Volume 29 [1946] - Page 208:
> ".. and Misses KW Peterkin, Banff, and M.
> Robertson, Keith RC ..." [among others appointed
> "office-bearers" at the annual meeting of the
> "Banffshire Branch of the E.I.S. at Cullen"].
> Thus the local informant, from her "W.-L."  (Or
> was "Cullen skink" her personal invention?)

"W.-L." = "Word-List", I think.

One possibility is that Peterkin's "1914" word list (presumably a list
of Scotticisms or Banffisms) was [re?]published in the _Transactions of
the Scottish Dialect Committee_ dated 1916 and that the SND and OED
citations are [about] the same.

-- Doug Wilson

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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