Edinburgh World Heritage

64 Thistle Street - Regency Grocer

In 1812 this building was to home Adam Babtie, one of Thistle Street’s many grocers.

The basics of a grocer’s trade at this time were tea, sugar, cheese, butter, soap and candles. A description of an Edinburgh grocers shop from this period describes, “The windows exhibited quantities of sugar in different varieties of brownness…sticks of black liquorice leaned coaxingly on the second row of panes, flanked by tall glass jars of sweeties…yellow-painted barrels of whisky, rows of bottles of porter, piles of cheeses, firkins of salt butter and boxes of soap.”

But to really qualify as a grocer Babtie would also be selling spices. As well as the old favourites of nutmeg, ginger and pepper, a new product was available – curry powder.

Scots who had made their fortune in India brought back a taste for the food, and recipes were soon being published for dishes such as mulligatawny soup. Mrs Frazer who ran a cookery school in Edinburgh published a recipe for chicken curry in her book ‘The Practice of Cookery’ in 1800.

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