Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Burns Night

Happy Burns Night to one and all! The annual haggis hunt has ended (it starts on St. Andrews Day and finishes on Burns Night) and so it is time to pay tribute to the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns. Admittedly, we had our Burns Night supper a few days early as Jim would be on the road on the traditional day of celebration, January 25th--the poet's birthday. Still, any day is a good day to honor Rabbie Burns.

Our menu for the feast included:

Leek and Potato Soup
Champit tatties
Bashed neeps
Haggis for her (lamb)
Haggis for him (vegetarian)
Single-malt whiskies: Compass Box Peat Monster and Dalwhinnie

I can't say as I made the haggis from scratch nor did I distill the whiskey--some things are best left to the professionals. We did our best to follow tradition by piping in the haggis and reading Burns' Address to the Haggis. Oh, how I longed for my grandfather's dirk to plunge into the heart of the haggis (or would that be stomach?) at the critical point in the poem:

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, 
they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
"Bethankit!" 'hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' heads will sned,
Like taps o' thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a haggis!

If you would like to have your own Burns Night supper, here's a link to an excellent reference site complete with recipes for all manner of traditional food of the Scots. As for me, today I'll be munching on haggis-flavored crisps, listening to recordings of the great Glaswegian comedian Billy Connolly, and enjoying a plateful of Burns Night leftovers.

1 comment:

  1. Eh, Jimmie... Some hae meat and dinna eat, ye nea? Hangin's too good fer em!