A Scottish Tradition
This week marked the birthday of of Scotland’s national bard: Robert Burns. Russ and Deb had reserved a table at the Scottish Arms for the traditional January 25 celebration.
“Would you like to go?” they asked. “There’ll be bagpipes, kilts, poetry, and the highlight of the evening, presenting of the haggis.”
“Count me in!” I said quickly. “It’s only fitting that one of Scotch descent should eat haggis at least once a year.” (In the spirit of full disclosure my maternal grandmother was of the Armstrong clan.)
A Taste of the Ol’ Sod
I checked the Internet to see what to expect on the menu. Of course, there was the essential haggis (more on that delicacy later), neeps (turnips), tatters, and shepherd’s pie, Sottish eggs, and fish and chips. In keeping with tradition, all is washed down with a wee dram of an ancient Scottish beverage.
Robbie, We Hardly Knew Ye
You may remember Robbie Burns as the writer of the verse we sing at New Years: Auld Lang Syne. The title translates: “Let’s drink to days gone by.”
The celebrated poet died at 37, but not before penning more than 550 verses and songs, including A Red, Red Rose and an Address to a Haggis.
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Haggis, but Were Afraid to Ask . . .
About now you’re turning up your nose at Scotland’s national dish. That’s just a heap of sheep organs (liver, heart, and lungs) mixed with oats, onions, and spices. In the good ol’ days, haggis was cooked in a sheep’s stomach, but more modern versions go with a sausage casing. If this creeps you out, you might want to check the contents of the next cheap sausage you buy.
This evening the platted haggis was paraded around the dining room led by a bagpiper. Owner Ally Nesbit, read a few Burn’s poems, including Address to a Haggis. Diners joined in the handclapping as the bagpiper closed with more tunes.
More on the Menu
The Scottish Arms. 8 South Sarah, Central West End. Lunch. Mon-Fri 11a-3p. Happy Hour: Mon 3p-6p, 9p-12a; Tues-Fri 3p-6p; Sun 9p-12a.