Ode to Haggis… in London

Discussion in 'Europe' started by NileGuide, Feb 4, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. To a Haggis by Robert Burns
    Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
    Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!
    Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
    Painch, tripe, or thairm :
    Weel are ye wordy o’a grace
    As lang’s my arm.
    Once a year (maybe twice when a Scot is winning at Wimbledon) the English poach something completely Scottish. Burns Night on January 25th is best celebrated north of the border although London does have a few places to pay homage to the life of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet.
    A Burns Night Supper is quite a ritual and while it includes knocking back many drams of whisky, there is a specific order to the festivities.
    It begins with the chairman’s welcome and the Selkirk Grace before moving on to a menu of traditional Scottish fare of haggis, neeps (mashed turnips) and tatties (mashed potatoes). The haggis, a weekly favorite of Burns, is a concoction of sheep’s liver, heart and lungs with onions, oatmeal and spices cooked in a sausage-like casing. Proudly paraded into the dining room escorted by the chef and to the bleating of bigpipes, the haggis is the guest of honor. Burns’ To A Haggis (1st verse above) is read in its entirety while the haggis is ceremoniously cut open to cheers and a toast from the crowd. Cue more music, poetry readings and speeches immortalizing Robert Burns throughout the meal. Finally, the evening closes after more toasts and a whisky infused group rendition of Burns’ Auld Lang Syne.
    [​IMG]image: gideondk/flickr
    Proper Burns Night Suppers in London
    • Scottish restaurant and whisky bar Albannach in Trafalgar Sqaure is hosting a traditional evening with a 5 course Burns Night Supper
    • Boisdale in Bishopsgate and Belgravia is celebrating with personal haggis piping ceremonies now through January 25th
    • Talisker Whiskey is hosting a Burns Night party at The River Lounge, St Katherine’s Dock, call +44 (0)20 7025 7592 to book
    Feature image: haggis by zoonabar/flickr

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  2. wanderwoman
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    wanderwoman Silver Member

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    I have always wanted to try Haggis. I know it probably doesn't sound great to some people but it reminds me of growing up in the woods and eating some wild meats that people wouln't think sound too great either.
    I'd love to have neeps and Haggis, especially at the ceremony you described.
  3. weegiewife
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    weegiewife Silver Member

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    For those that are a bit squeamish about what is in haggis, there are a growing array of vegetarian makes of haggis which have the same taste, but without the guts bits. We can get them year round in Scotland. Also makes a nice stuffing for chicken breasts - 'chicken balmoral'.
    bakedpatato, Chimpy, Tenmoc and 3 others like this.
  4. kraven
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    kraven Silver Member

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    I love haggis. Doesn't taste as bad as the ingredients sound.
  5. Gardyloo
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    Gardyloo Gold Member

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    We do a Burns Supper most years (I have to make my own Haggis, usually a sissy type without too many entrails) and after all the poetry and whatnot is done I usually get someone to recite the following, which I found some time ago but know not where.

    Address to a Vegan Haggis
    By R. McIntosh

    Fair fa' your alimentary face,
    Yon stomach of the ovine race;
    Internal organs all displaced,
    Liver, kidney, heart:
    Weel are ye wordy o' some rumination,
    'Fore we start.

    Boiled in a baggie there ye will,
    Have human bellies soon to fill;
    Ye'll stuff them to the upper gill,
    And make them swell,
    Abdominal abomination,

    But first, to whet the bluidy thirst,
    Some bastard stabs ye so ye burst;
    Cleaving your upper flank
    Into a steaming trench,
    And then, O what a horrible stench,
    Dead-meaty, dead!

    Now, offal's awfully nice for Granny,
    But what aboot your Vegan manny,
    What aboot yon folk that cannae
    Stomach meat,
    Let alone eat boiled up bits
    Of brains and feet?

    Puir devils! Doon the slaughter-hut,
    Beheaded by the final cut;
    To die in fearfu' pain and then
    Get minced tae muck;
    If that was you, could you believe
    Yer bluidy luck?

    No me, I'll hae nae truck wi' that,
    I'd rather eat ma tartan hat;
    I'll re-digest ma body fat
    Afore I'll slay;
    It's nae tae come to either-or,
    So that's OK.

    Ye see, I hae the dab thing here,
    A dish that didnae die in fear;
    This dinner disnae quake inside
    Its plastic jacket;
    It's meaty, but it's meat free: it's
    A Vegan Haggis!
    weegiewife likes this.
  6. weegiewife
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    weegiewife Silver Member

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    That is awesome and will be shared immediately with my best pal who is a vegan!
    bakedpatato, Chimpy, Tenmoc and 2 others like this.

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