Good Auld Rabbie Burns

Tuesday 25/1/2005

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Diary and Notes

It's Burns night and what can we do but succumb to the joys of the haggis? We've a Burns night party with wiskey, haggis, neaps and tatties, plus poetry from Scotland's greatest poet. All across the world Scotsmen and women are boiling or baking their haggis ready for the yearly treat and though but a sassernach myself, I feel I should join their fun.

We had a two pound MacSweens haggis and a one pound MacSweens vegetarian haggis (for Simon, who is Cornish and doesn't eat meat). Served alongside we had the traditional mashed neeps and tatties (mashed swede and potatoes to the English speaking world). There was a traditional reading of some Burns poetry and then we all did what every Scotsman does every night and got steaming drunk.

A few final notes before the poem:

Haggis are much tastier baked. Never boil them (some people do). Just wrap them in foil and cook them long and slow in the oven.

Have some gravy. It's not traditional, but as Jacinta had some left over gravy in the fridge we boiled it up as well and it went down a treat.

Also, if you are Scottish, you are supposed to eat the haggis standing with your back to the wall and your sword arm free at all times. This is in case some enemy clan breaks in and tries to steal your dinner. Being civilised English folk, we had no need for this and sat at a table. Also, being English, we can quite happily fight amongst ourselves anyway, clans or no clans. It only takes a few wee drams to get us started.

"Oy, did you just spill me pint..?"

The Address to the Haggis

Fair fa your honest sonsie face,
Great Chieftan o the Puddin-race!
Aboon them a ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe or thairm
Weel are ye wordy of 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 we'ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright
Like one ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm, reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn they strecth an' strive,
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
till a' their weel - swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rise,
Be thankit hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or Olio wad straw a sov,
Or fricasse wad make her spew
Wi perfect scummer,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! See him over owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip - lash,
His nieve a nit
Thro' bluidy 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 make it whistle;
An' legs an' arms, an' heads will sned
Like taps o' thristle

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 you wish her gratefu' pray'r
Gie her a Haggis!

Cake Blog

Coupe Northenden: My friend Jacinta's speciality. Some Ben and Jerry's double choc-chip ice cream with fresh raspberries and a sauce made from mixing double cream and Bailey's Irish liquor. Bloody fantastic.


  • Haggis
  • Neeps
  • Tatties