Ode to the Haggis Amongus

It’s Robbie Burns Day. I made the mistake tonight of telling Jasper over beers at a local pub that Burns is the guy who burned the Parliament Buildings in London. We were at a Robbie Burns dinner. There was haggis and kneeps, and Suzy’s dad piped. And I had the wrong crazy Brit.

Haggis. “Sheep’s ‘pluck’ (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally boiled in the animal’s stomach for approximately an hour.” It looks like a big tumour and tastes like cork. It’s a little better after they douse it in single malt. But just a little. Suzy and I discussed this as an older Scottish gentleman who was wielding a machete-like knife rambled on in a kilt “addressing the haggis.”

“His knife see rustic Labour dicht,
An cut you up wi ready slicht,
Trenching your gushing entrails bricht,
Like onie ditch;
And then, Oh what a glorious sicht,
Warm-reekin, rich!”

Oh, and it goes on for another 5 minutes or so.

These delicacies are a hold-over from the time before superstores and flash-frozen jumbo shrimp. I’m sure the haggis was a treat in late January in Scotland in, say, 1802. But we still eat this stuff. Someone should do a PhD thesis on this. And I’ll keep my mouth shut at the next cultural event. It’s a good lesson; I’m pitching Porchlight at an Ottawa Sikh temple on Sunday.

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