The people of Liverpool are known as “Scousers”, a nickname that comes from the city’s passion for scouse, a meat and vegetable stew served with bread to mop up the juices. Scouse isn’t just a hearty dish, though. It also reveals much about Liverpool’s origins and its status as a major port throughout the years.
Ask any Liverpudlian where to get the best bowl of scouse, and they’ll say, “Me ma.” But should scouse be served with pickled cabbage or beetroot? Which bread is best? It’s all down to personal taste. On a cold day – and Liverpool has its fair share – scouse is the local equivalent of soul food.
Scandinavian and Irish connections
How did scouse become a Liverpool staple?
Some say that this humble stew is based on a Norwegian dish called lapskaus. Scandinavian settlers once had a parliament at Thingwall, on the Wirral, and the Viking influence on the city is visible in the names for districts like Aigburth and Toxteth.
Alternatively, scouse could be an Irish stew variation. Liverpool’s ties with Ireland are strong, with a significant immigrant population. Even The Beatles could boast Irish connections, as evident in the surnames Lennon and McCartney.
A seafaring city
Whether Viking or Irish, scouse soon became a favourite with local sailors – and a part of Liverpool’s maritime tradition. When you aren’t filling your belly with it, you could fill your time by learning about the city’s seafaring heritage. Take in all this port city has to offer by booking a Liverpool hotel right on the waterfront.
The Merseyside Maritime Museum, in the Albert Dock, is a great place to discover this history, including the city’s connection with the infamous RMS Titanic. Nearby, the Piermaster’s House illustrates everyday life during World War II.
A darker part of Liverpool’s past is its involvement with slavery, reflected in the powerful International Slavery Museum.
From the docks, you can also take your family on the famous ferry across the Mersey.
Where to eat Scouse
- Maggie May’s is a long-standing no-frills café in the city centre.
- The Baltic Fleet is a popular pub with a microbrewery attached.
- Every year, on 28 February, Scousers all over the world celebrate Global Scouse Day. Liverpool restaurants vie to wow the crowds with their own recipes.