TidBit of the Day: Haggis and Burns Supper

| January 23, 2011

January 25 is Robert Burns Day in Scotland.  “Rabbie” Burns as he is more commonly referred to by Scots, is Scotland’s most famous poet and lyricist.  For those of you not familiar with Burns, his most famous composition is Auld Lang Syne, which is a tune often sung in most English-speaking countries on New Year’s Eve.

Burns suppers are held during the week of January 25 in Scotland and this is when Scotland’s infamous haggis is traditionally served. This culinary “delicacy” (certainly needs a very trained palette if you ask me) consists of sheep’s ‘pluck’ (heart, liver and yes “lungs”), grounded/minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally simmered in the animal’s stomach for approximately three hours. If you wish to try your hand at it, here is a recipe.

Photo courtesy of AP

During my 3 years at university in Edinburgh, I attended a couple of Burns nights and they were a blast as they also included a Scottish ceilidh dance.  I have to admit though that after tasting haggis at my first supper, I never tried it again…

Haggis is not exported to the U.S. as the food safety department prohibits the use of sheep lungs in food products.  Scottish politicians are working away on trying to end this ban http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-12261123

Category: Europe, Odds and Ends, TidBit of the Day, Travel & Culture

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Comments (8)

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  1. Patty says:

    Wow. I am HIGHLY intrigued!

  2. Barton says:

    Mmmm sheep lung. Took me until my third try to not hate it. Still not into ‘neps’ the swede/rutabaga accompaniment

  3. Kat says:

    @barton, I’m impressed that you persevered to a third try! he he. Yep, I’m not a big fan of the boiled potatoes and turnip accompaniment either.

  4. rebecca says:

    come on its not that bad I grew up in Scotland

  5. Kat says:

    Ok ok, I’ll let up on the haggis and neps hate. I adore Scotland and its people. My Granda was 100% pure Glaswegian and one of the funniest men I have ever known.

  6. Simply Life says:

    interesting!…never heard about this before!

  7. Hazeleva says:

    I was born in Scotland and raised in a music loving family. My grandfather made and played both fiddles and dulcimers, my father played piano and trumpet,my aunt played the organ and all of the 7 siblings either played instruments and/or sang. The songs of Rabbie Burns featured greatly in their repertoires and in mine. As well as Auld Lang Syne, he wrote My Love is Like a Red Red Rose, Ye Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon, Coming through the Rye etc.

    Despite my love for his songs and poetry, I have no intention of ever making haggis and I have detested neeps (turnips) since childhood. It’s the only vegetable that you will never find in my kitchen!

    I have an appeal in relation to Auld Lang Syne. It really gets up the noses of the Scots when we hear our most famous son’s words distorted. There is no ‘for the sake of’ in the song; it is simply ‘For auld lang syne.’

    Probably the most often quoted maxim of the Bard comes from his poem on watching a louse crawl up the hat of a woman in front of him in church:
    ‘Would that some power the giftie gie us to see ourselves as others see us.’ (slight editing)