Saturday, January 14, 2006

Great Chieftan 'o' the Puddin' Race!


As Burns Night approaches, the thoughts of Scottish expatriates everywhere will be turning to the national dish, haggis.

Haggis is a love it or loathe it food. Some people, quite understandably, find the idea of a sheep’s stomach stuffed with heart, lungs, and oatmeal positively revolting. I can see their point of view. I’m not overly fond of consuming the identifiable internal organs of animals. Flaccid pieces of liver swimming in blood make me want to heave, and kidneys have a slight tang of urine which I find rather off putting.

On the whole, my dinner plate is an offal free zone. I am prepared to make an exception only for steak and kidney pudding and haggis. Haggis is one of the great peasant dishes: a concoction of the cheapest possible ingredients that by some strange alchemy manages to be absolutely delicious.

Sourced from the best producers, haggis is a tasty delight that, when combined with neeps (mashed swede) and tatties (mashed potato), provides a nutritious meal. There is lot of crap mass produced haggis for sale that is pretty disgusting. What you want is the genuine article produced by MacSweens of Edinburgh, a spicy, aromatic haggis that has won many awards.

It is possible to buy vegetarian haggis. Some people think this is an abomination, but having tasted it, I think it’s very pleasant in its own way. I saw a tandoori haggis for sale once. Now that really is taking things too far. I’m all in favour of fusion cuisine, but that’s just sacrilege.

On Burns Night, a huge haggis will be carried to table, and sliced open as Burns poem ‘To a Haggis’ is recited. A steam of meaty vapours will be released into the room and a toast proposed to the immortal memory.

The Scots aren’t eccentric or anything; it’s just a good excuse for a piss up.

16 comments:

Sniffy said...

I love the stuff, absolutely adore it. Even better (worse), I love it cold on fresh crusty bread, with lots of salt and white pepper.

Yummmmeeeeeeee

garfer said...

Haggis and whisky cream makes a scrumptious starter.

I like it cold as well.

Kyahgirl said...

They always celebrate Robbie Burns day here too.

Haggis is something I haven't been able to bring myself to try. If I ever have chance to try MacSween's I'll give it a go.

Sniffy said...

Hey, Kyahgirl, give it a go. Haggis has a wonderful herby/spicy flavour that has to at least be tried before being dismissed.

I once went to Edinburgh. While there, I had mini haggis in whisky cream as a starter! It was delish. That was on that famous bit near the castle that's not called the Golden Mile (because that's in Blackpool), but you know where I mean.

Wyndham said...

Well done, Garfer, you've actually got me considering trying it.

S.I.D. said...

Turnip and HP sauce accompanies mine.


And a pint of Guinness

garfer said...

It's the Royal Mile you daft bint. You obvously don't have a Phd in Geography.

MacSweens are the business Kyahgirl, check 'em out.

Turnip or Swede? Same difference.

S.I.D. said...

Turnip,while having a swede

suburban wonder said...

I haven't yet had haggis. I have had one of our own regional delicacies made of offal and grain meal: scrapple.

I'm sure haggis is delish once you get past what's in it.

Sniffy said...

Yes, Royal Mile. I wasn't impressed with Edinburgh - it's overrated and too fucking cold.

Merkin said...

I do like haggis, but I must say how I giggled pedantically at the (un?)intentional typo in your first line, Garfer.

Scots being "ex patriot". We wish they were, it might shut them up. Especially the expatriate ones....

Carry on.

Sorry.

garfer said...

God, that's emabarassing.

I shall correct imediately.

pissoff said...

I say nay to haggis. Just can't do it. However, we Canadian prefer a good chunk of musk ox.

MHN for short said...

You know what's funny, Alton Brown from the Food Network was showing what and how to make Haggis yesterday!!! Crazy that you thought of it!!!

Spinsterella said...

Um, what exactly is vegetarian haggis made out of?

Actually, I'm not sure I want to know...

The Gripes of Wrath said...

One of the joys of being in Scotland is that when you admit you love haggis, people nod approval rather than screw-up their faces in disgust...

MacSweens is a fine haggis, veggie or otherwise - and if you ever venture Edinburghwards I can also recommend the haggis made by top-notch butchers Crombies and that from Portobello's award-winners, Findlays... Mmmm....