Burns Night ’14: Ode to Haggis, Scotch, and the Mystery of Friendship

Last night, my wife and I attended our first ever Burns Night (Robert, not George). Haggis was served with drams of poetry and scotch. Not being Scottish (but Irish!) I had never heard of Burns Night or Burns Supper. Sure, I had belted “Auld Lang Syne” many of New Year mornings, but the story of the man who wrote the original poem was never told to me. The evening was robust and engaging, one I’ll likely never forget.

So sit back, grab a fresh slice—possibly scoop—of haggis with a side of meat pie and mashed turnips. I’ll tell you all about it.


The Mystery of Friendship

The mystery of friendship is such that brings you to parties like these. We were tired from working two jobs all week and tempted, by our bed, with silent talk. But Megan was slated to give a speech at the party (Reply to the Toast to the Lassies), so we couldn’t bail.

We walked in the door of our new friend’s home and smelled a unique fragrance—much like that of Scotch—a blend: haggis, meat pie, grown people, infant people, mashed other-things. The host family, David and Neyir, lived in Scotland for three (or so) years. Ultimately Canadian, they dream of returning to Edinburgh.

The evening began with a formal introduction: welcome and grace. But before we could eat, The Address to the Haggis was recited. Dan, another new friend, recited the poem (from memory) with a hearty Scottish accent.

Address to the Haggis, by Dan

Address to the Haggis, by Dan

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 ye wish her gratefu’ prayer
Gie her a haggis!

So we ate! And it was… to be honest, it wasn’t bad. The haggis was fine. Really, it’s no worse than hot dogs (geometrically). The flavor was spicy and the texture was that of sausage. There was a meat pie served as well, made with puff pastry and Guinness. I think I liked that the best. (more…)