Haggis – a traditional Scottish dish made of the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep or calf mixed with oatmeal,seasonings and boiled in the stomach of the animal.
“Oh wad some power the giftie gie us To see oursel’s as others see us! It wad frae monie a blunder free us, And foolish notion” – Robert Burns.
Chosen in honour of his birthday which will be honoured by Scots and others partial to a wee dram with or without haggis at Burns night celebrations.
It’s Robbie Burns’ birthday.
My father, who came from Dundee, was often called on to address the haggis on Burns night, a task he did with great relish.
While enjoying the words and music, I didn’t share his enthusiasm for the feast. In spite of my tartan genes I’ve never acquired a taste for haggis or whisky but if you’ve a mind to celebrate the BBC has instructions for a Burns Night Supper which will include the Selkirk Grace:
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.
For something a little lighter but still in the spirit of the day:
An MP was being shown around a hospital. At the end of his visit, she was shown into a ward with a number of patients who show no obvious signs of injury.
She went to speak to the first patient and the man proclaimed, ‘Fair fa’ yer honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o’ the puddin’ race!’
The MP, somewhat taken aback, went to the next patient, and immediately the patient launched into, ‘Some hae meat and canna eat, And some wad eat that want it.’
That continued with the next patient, ‘Wee sleekit cow’rin tim’rous beastie, O what a panic’s in thy breastie!’
‘Well,’ the MP said to the manger accompanying her, I see you’ve saved the psychiatric ward to the end.’
‘Och no,’ the manager corrected her, ‘this is the serious Burns unit.’
In spite of my tartan genes I haven’t learned to like haggis.
But since it’s Burns’ night, here’s a rap Address To The Haggis from which Robbie was mercifully spared by a couple of hundred years.
If Australian attempts to claim the first pavlova was cooked on their side of the Tasman not ours causes heated discussions, what will the news that haggis comes from south of the border do to Anglo-Scot relationships?
English historian Catherine Brown uncovered a references to haggis in a book from 1615 – at least 171 years before Robert Burns ode brought fame to what some regard as a delicacy.
But world champion haggis maker Robert Patrick said:
. . .the idea haggis originated in England was akin to claims by the Dutch and Chinese to have invented golf.
He added: “Anything that’s to do with Scotland, everybody wants to get a part of. “
. . . James Macsween, whose Edinburgh-based company makes haggis, said it would remain a Scottish icon whatever its origin.
He said even if the haggis was eaten in England long before Burns made it famous, Scotland had done a better job of looking after it.
And he added: “I didn’t hear of Shakespeare writing a poem about it.”
In spite of my tartan genes I have to confess I haven’t acquired a taste for the dish but I support the defence of its Scottishness.