NAIRN’S are quite right to rebrand their oatcakes for “puzzled American consumers” (News, 12 February). Home-grown Scots know what an “oatcake” means, but by World English standards it’s a puzzling use of the word “cake”.
Oatcakes were often known as “cakes” here in earlier times, as witness Scotland’s nickname “The Land o’ Cakes”, which has nothing to do with our notorious sweet tooth. And in his useful little Scots dictionary Scoor-Oot, JAC Stevenson quotes John Knox in 1560 on the foreign troops then occupying Scotland: “The French men… learned to eat caikis, which at thare entrie thei skorned.”
The reference is definitely not to patisserie.
Harry D Watson, Edinburgh