Powsowdie Soup

This is a REAL recipe from a Scottish cookbook.


Do you think the parsley actually adds to the appearence of the soup? Does it somehow make it more palatable? I think this recipe belongs in a biology class–not a recipe book.

We had a roommate once who was a massage therapist and collected bones–any bones. Any dead animal he found, he would collect the carcass (no matter what state of decomposition) and bring it home. He used his camping stove (and I’m guessing–his camping pots) to boil the excess skin and tissue off the bones.

One time, he heard there was a beached whale out on the Sonoma Coast somewhere. He and a friend managed to cart off the entire head of the the stinky, decomposing whale. Luckily, he wasn’t living with us by that time. He had his own house and buried the whale head in the ground on that property. Apparently, though, he fell in love with his friend during that particular adventure. I guess for some people, that relationship-defining moment involves looking up, seeing your woman wielding a dagger, chopping vigorously in the general vicinity of the neck of a dead, rancid, beached whale and realizing you want to spend your life with her. I’m sure there must have been a full moon too–lighting up the beach. Nothing like adding a little atmosphere to your romantic realizations.

I must say, though, from her perspective…if you are willing to go anywhere near stinking, rancid whale flesh, you already got it going on.

Join the Conversation


  1. Hello,
    My dad, born 1931 in the Scottish highlands, always called this soup his favourite and longed for the days when his mother used to make it. She died in 1937. I am a chef by trade and used to hint that I should learn to make it. Not a chance! Oh and one part of the instructions is missing, according to how dad used to tell it … First, you have to stick the head on a fire poker and slowly rotate it over the flame until all the wool is singed off! Mmmmm good.

  2. I lived in Iceland for a year back in the 1960s and sheep’s head was a common, and much beloved, food there.

    I worked in in a custom slaughterhouse in Tennessee back in the 1970s and used an iron cauldron to make several batches of very good beef stew using the skinned head of a cow for meat. Meat is meat no matter what part of the animal it comes from. The texture might vary but the taste is still good. We in the USA are to picky.

  3. Better to use the whole animal than waste food. I know my Mum made this in Edinburgh in the 60’s, she did not enjoy making it (the smell was not good) but said everyone enjoyed eating it.

    Nowadays so much food is wasted and I think that is far worse! I was brought up with two saying that come to mind:

    “Waste not want not”;
    “If you make use of what you have, you will never want”.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.