This weekend, I attended my very first Robbie Burns Party. Although the official Robbie Burns day was on January 28th, the party was moved to the weekend so we could really party, drink and celebrate Scotland's most famous poet and songwriter. It was an evening to where we were encouraged to "Don your kilt and sporran, and raise your Scotch to toast the legendary Burns."If you don't know who Robbie Burns is.....here's a brief bio: Born on January 25, 1759 in Ayr, Scotland. Robert was the son of a peasant farmer who took to writing poetry as an alternative to working in the fields.As Scotland's national bard, he lived life to the fullest. The 200 year old celebration is a tribute to the life, works and spirit of the great poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796).
Robbie Burns day is typically celebrated with a traditional Scottish meal, drinking whisky, reading poems and singing songs written by the greatest "common man" ever. This party was hosted by Big A (very Scottish) and the Leggy Redhead. We were told to bring along some Robbie Burns poems and any other brilliant Burns/Scottish materials to recite.
The food: Our hosts warned us to "get ready for the meat sweats" and that they were prepared a traditional Scottish dinner...Haggis and all. For those of you who are unfamiliar.....
"Haggis is a kind of savoury pudding containing sheep's 'pluck' (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet,spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal's stomach and simmered for approximately three hours. Most modern commercial haggis is prepared in a casing rather than an actual stomach."
Before dinner, Big A did a reading of Burns' "Ode to a Haggis" and recruited me as the "Defender of the Haggis" and I had to stand near the Haggis and defend it with a large knife. Yup, that's me....a few drinks in.... wielding a sharp weapon. Scary.
In our glasses: Plenty o' Scotch, Ale, and Wine.
On the Plate: Haggis, Prime Roast Beef, Roasted Root Vegetables with Maple Glaze, Mashed Yams, Sauteed Mushrooms, Green Beans, and Lentil Shepard's Pie (brought by myself and the sous-chef). Everything tasted absolutely delicious- yes, even the haggis. I went into the party as a haggis rookie and was delighted with how tasty it was. It had an oatmeal-meets-sausage crumbly texture and the flavour and was rich but quite mild. It certainly didn't taste like intestines and entrails.
Happy Robbie Burns Day!