January 23, 2014

Burns Night

When I lived in the UK, I spent some time in Edinburgh, and had the opportunity to attend several dinner dances and a traditional céilidh. The dress was black tie, and I managed to scare up a swath of our family’s tartan in Edinburgh to wear as a sash. Not what I’d have chosen if I had my choice, but…imageWith all this, and my family’s Scottish roots, I feel like I am somewhat qualified to talk about Robert Burns Night which is being celebrated this year on January 25th with the very traditional Burns Night Supper.

There is a fairly specific menu associated with the Supper, and it revolves around the traditional Haggis. If you’ve not tried it, but only heard about it, haggis is actually not too bad. There are much worse things to eat. image

It can be accompanied by neeps and tatties, or if you’re feeling a bit modern, a Swede mash. Translated, that’s turnips and potatoes, or a turnip mash. I can’t tell you how comical the conversation was when my housemate tried to tell me what Swede was in the vegetable family. If you want a soup course, you can have Cullen skink, which is a smoked fish and leek soup, and is quite good. Another traditional soup is cock-a-leekie, which is a chicken and leek soup.

When the haggis arrives, it’s usually piped in by a group of bag pipers and a traditional Robert Burns poem, Address to a Haggis, is said over it. imageYou can see “me” recite Address to a Haggis by clicking on the image below.image

To end the meal, one might have Cloutie Dumpling, followed up with the completely revolting Tablet (it’s like really grainy fudge, without the chocolate). image

Naturally, there are lashings of whisky served throughout the dinner, and of course, you’re going to drink Scottish whisky, such as Glenmorangie or our old “house” whisky, Scapa. image

You should start the dinner with Burns’s 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 let the Lord be thankit.

 

At the end of the evening, everyone joins hands and sings Auld Lang Syne, a song reputedly penned by Robert Burns.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

CHORUS:
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

15 comments:

  1. I have never tried haggis after all this time either but I make up for it with shortbread...

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    1. My boss used to bring back packet of Walkers shortbread from Scotland and when I left the job, I had about 20 packets of it in my desk.

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  2. I absolutely love haggis. In Scotland last December I had it with neeps and tatties and smothered in a black peppercorn sauce. It was deeeeelishus! My mother was a McLellan, I hate that tartan too :-) Happy Burrrrrns night ta yea.
    Di
    xoxo

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    1. I went to a chic little restaurant in Edinburgh and had the best haggis. Ever! Wish I could remember the name of it.

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  3. I was forced to wear Buchanan tartan as a child (orange and green) but have come to quite like it. I remember once working in Berkshire, a salesman had to go to Scotland and was asked to bring the boss back a bit of Scottish sauce. Apparently, he went to all the supermarkets asking for it not realising the boss meant whiskey, of course! Ha ha!

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  4. Liam Flynn's Ale House on North Avenue is having a Burns' Night fundraiser for the Open Plough Project this Saturday (http://openplough.wordpress.com/). I'll be helping in the kitchen. Come and enjoy the fun!

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    1. Thanks for letting me know about that, Mary!

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  5. I never got up the courage to try Haggis while I was in Scotland. I just could not get past what it was.

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  6. have never had haggis + sounds interesting. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  7. Great Chieftain of the Pudding Race! A true wonder ... and a fine way to celebrate the Bard!

    Aye -- a brae story and truth-be-told it will be a brass-monkey-cold night ....calls for a few wee drams o' the Best! And let's not forget to be dancing that fine night -- a few reels will warm the blood ....Swing Yer Kilts Lads!

    Happy Burns Night to All! Jan at Rosemary Cottage

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    1. The dancing is so much fun and you work off the dinner!

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  8. I'm about 2/3 scottish on both sides with a scottish grandmother so I'm familiar with most of these. However -she was/is a vegetarian so we never had Haggis and I had to wait until college for that. I always thought Tablet was good though......just don't compare it to fudge -haha -it's its own thing!

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