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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Ted and Robbie



It’s my mate Robbie’s birthday today ... well I say my mate Robbie, but I've never actually met him, possibly because he’s been dead for 219 years now.  Robbie or Rabbie as he was known, is Scotland’s favourite son and national poet … even after all this time. In fact in 2009 he was voted the greatest Scot by the Scottish public, and this in a nation stacked full of heroes and world changers. He wrote in both Scottish and English and thus his poems and songs (of which he composed many) reached worldwide audiences. His literary themes remained true to his roots and included all things Scottish - like for starters ... republicanism, nationalism, cultural identity, equality, sex, and whisky.

Every year the Scottish as a nation celebrate the birthday of Robbie Burns on 25 January. If you get invited to a “Burn’s night” it’s a big deal, with a lot of tradition surrounding the celebration meal. The star of the meal is haggis. It is ah erm … a collection of the offal bits of an animal mixed with oatmeal, onion and few other ingredients, then stuffed into a sheep’s stomach and simmered for a long time …

At the risk of some angry post from Scotland, I must say that there are other claims of origin to the haggis pre-dating the Scottish version, including that it actually came to Scotland in a Viking picnic basket. 

At a Burns dinner the haggis is carried in on a silver platter while a man in a kilt plays the bagpipes, the haggis is "piped in" to the room. Then the “Address to the Haggis” is enacted – all seven verses, and after that the haggis is cut open, and I imagine fragrant odours reflecting it’s ingredients fill the air. It’s traditionally served with “neeps” (swede/turnips) and “tatties” (mashed potatoes) and washed down with “the water of life” .. yep whisky. The Doll and I have decided that we won’t do haggis today, rather we will do just a couple of the moreish Scottish foodstuffs that we can all enjoy nowadays.

We’ll start the day with a Scottish staple, porridge (with brown sugar and loads of runny fresh cream) followed by a cup of tea with some nice shortbread in the shape of the famous “Scottie Dogs”. Later we’ll enjoy a little of the water of life, before we sing Auld Lang Syne … composed by you know who.

8 comments:

Luis Gomez said...

Wonderful post!

Luis Gomez said...

Wonderful post!

Sharon Anck said...

Your version of the day's meal sounds much more appetizing than the original. Great post!

William Kendall said...

I've got a blogging friend with two Scottish terriers. She'd get a kick out of those cookies.

I'll pass on the haggis. I couldn't eat a bite, really.

angryparsnip said...

hahahaah I am Williams blogging friend, he sent me the link.
I too will pass on the haggis but everything else is a go.

cheers, parsnip


Jack said...

Well, Ted and the Doll, I found your educational piece about Robbie most interesting. I hope you will not be offended if I pass on the haggis. But you might pass me one of those Scottish terrier shortbreads . . .

Babzy said...

I kike a good haggis and shortberad too ;)

Bill Nicholls said...

Starting the day with Poridge is a good way. But cream, do have a word with yourself

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