Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Haggis, Burns and the Haggis Boiler.


So Haggis Neaps and Tatties it was last night for myself and so many others. For those who need that translated it is haggis turnips and mashed potatoes a traditional meal in Scotland on the 25th of January the Birth date of Robert Burns Scotland's national bard. The day when the BBC make some small token gestures to notice that the English National Bard might not be the British Bard.

I always reflect on his life at this time although i have only once in my life ever attended a Burns Supper Night. Once was enough, the listening again to all the well known poems of Burns and the drinking of two much whiskey. It has always amused me how so many members of the church and many ministers of the church that I know well can always come up with an appropriate "coothie saying" from a Burns poem to sum up or give further meaning to many everyday events. They can do this when you might expect them to quote from the holy book of their religion. Then some of them have almost made a religion of Rabbie Burns which is strange when you consider his views on the subject.

In my early years of work, having been asked to leave school at 15, wasting my time staying on, I had reason to make haggis by the barrow load. Twice a week I made a huge boiler ( something that was normally used to boil clothes, heated by a coal fire underneath) of the glorious food of Scotland. Don't tell the English the first mention of it is to be found in English literature. My fondest memory of haggis was the day the young apprentice, not the brightest penny in the shilling, was told to go and put a shovel of coal on the haggis. he did literally that. I can remember all the large lumps being spooned from it and the haggis that week having a slightly sooty flavour. Can you ever imagine that happening now.

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