There’s a moose loose aroond the hoose… it’s Burns Night

Edinburgh

Edinburgh

Today is Burns Night.  Robert Burns (1759 – 1796) is Scotland’s bard and the Scots traditionally celebrate his birthday by piping in a haggis on a silver platter and reciting Burns’ poems throughout the evening. There may or may not be whisky drunk by the gallon too.

Haggis is the national dish of Scotland. Here’s the recipe if you want to make one quick before supper time. You’ll need:

HAGGIS:

1 sheep’s stomach bag

1 sheep’s pluck (i.e. liver, lungs and heart)

3 onions

250g beef suet

150g oatmeal

salt and pepper

cayenne pepper

150mls stock

Don’t let the stomach bag and pluck thing put you off. Haggis is delicious, especially served with neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes).

Once the haggis has been piped in (by bagpipers, obviously) the Selkirk Grace is recited over the dish.

The Selkirk Grace

Some hae meat and canna eat

And some wad eat that want it

But we had meat and we can eat

And sae the Lord be thankit

****

Then there’s Burns’ own tribute to the haggis written in 1786:

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

(for the whole poem, go to the BBC website, click on Burns Night and hear John Gordon Sinclair recite the whole poem. You’ll be none the wiser but it’s moving stuff)

Isn’t ‘sonsie’ a brilliant word? It means cheerful.

I’m off now to write a poem to the real ‘chieftain of the pudding race’, the Yorkshire Pudding, though I expect the bard of Barnsley, Ian Macmillan’s already done one.

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