25th January

The traditional celebration of Robert Burns.

The best-known portrait of Burns – Wikipedia

Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) (also known as Rabbie “Burns, Scotland’s favourite son, the Ploughman Poet, Robden of Solway Firth, the Bard of Ayrshire and in Scotland as The Bard) was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a light Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these his political or civil commentary is often at its bluntest.

He is regarded as a pioneer of the Romantic movement, and after his death he became a great source of inspiration to the founders of both liberalism and socialism, and a cultural icon in Scotland and among the Scottish Diaspora around the world. Celebration of his life and work became almost a national charismatic cult during the 19th and 20th centuries, and his influence has long been strong on Scottish literature. In 2009 he was chosen as the greatest Scot by the Scottish public in a vote run by Scottish television channel STV.” - Wikipedia

The offal truth about American haggis

Traditional Scottish haggis is banned in the United States. With Burns Night looming, how do fans satisfy their taste for oatmeal and offal?

For aficionados, it is the “great chieftain o’ the pudding-race”.

To sceptics, however, it is a gruesome mush of sheep’s innards – and for decades American authorities have agreed.

Authentic Scottish haggis has been banned in the United States since 1971, when the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) first took a dim view of one of its key ingredients – sheep’s lung.

While millions of people around the world will enjoy, or endure, a Burns Night helping on 25 January, those in the US who want to celebrate Scotland’s national bard in the traditional manner are compelled to improvise.

Some choose to stage offal-free Burns suppers, and for most people not raised in Scotland, the absence of the dish – comprising sheep’s “pluck” (heart, liver and lungs) minced with onion, oatmeal, suet and spices, all soaked in stock and then boiled in either a sausage casing or a sheep’s stomach – might be no great hardship.

But for many expat Scots and Scots-Americans, the notion of Burns Supper without haggis is as unthinkable as Thanksgiving without turkey.

According to custom, the haggis should be paraded into the room with a bagpiper before Burns’ poem Address to a Haggis is recited and the dish is served as the main course.

Read more

Read more

Piping in the Haggis

About these ads