Global Scouse Day
annually on February 28th
Global Scouse Day is an annual celebration in Liverpool that is centered on scouse, a stew that goes hand in hand with the city. Liverpool bars, restaurants, and cafes serve it on the day, as do the city's hospitals and schools. Virgin trains across the country also put it on the menu. The celebration of the day is not limited to Liverpool or England, however, and scouse is served around the world on the day, with countries like the United States and Australia taking part. In Liverpool, the celebration has expanded from eating food to also encompass music, art, and cinema. A "Scouse Off" competition judged by Liverpool's celebrities has been held on the day, as has a cocktail competition. Because of the city's association with the food, residents are sometimes called "scousers."
Scouse is usually a meat stew, more often than not made with chunks of beef, but sometimes with lamb, and usually also with potatoes, onions, and carrots, although its ingredients tend to vary. Traditionally, leftovers were used to make it, and ingredients were also contingent on what the season happened to be. Today, other ingredients sometimes used include stock cubes, peas, lentils, sweet potatoes, parsley, basil, and rosemary. Scouse made solely with vegetables is referred to as blind scouse. Historically, this was made by those who couldn't afford to add meat. Scouse is often served with crusty bread and pickled red cabbage or beetroot. The name of the dish is a shortening of "lobscouse," which was a sailors dish. Dating to the eighteenth century and common in the nineteenth century, lobscouse was made with meat, onions, peppers, and ship's biscuit (hardtack).
Global Scouse Day was started on a small scale sometime prior to 2008 when Graham Hughes held a "scouse supper" on his birthday—February 28—each year, in his hometown of Liverpool. After he left England in December 2008, his friends, particularly Laura Worthington of Laura's Little Bakery, decided to keep the scouse tradition going. Over the next five years, the event grew from a small gathering into a celebration where more than 100 bars, restaurants, and cafes put scouse on the menu on the day. The Lord Mayor of Liverpool put their support behind it, as did the Liverpool Football Club and Everton Football Club. The selling of scouse on the day has raised money for a number of charities, including R Charity, Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, The Paper Cup Project, and The Whitechapel Centre, and has provided food to the homeless of Liverpool.
How to Observe Global Scouse Day
If you can make it to Liverpool, enjoy a bowl of scouse in one of its premier locations for eating it. You can also check for locations serving scouse for the day's occasion, most of which are in Liverpool, and see which charities money is being raised for. If you can't make it to Liverpool, you can still celebrate today—after all, it is Global Scouse Day. Celebrate by making and eating some scouse or seeing if any restaurants near you serve it!