Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Co` latha breith sona dhuibh!

Today, if you have a wee bit o’ Scottish heritage, you will drink a toast (Scotch, of course) to Scotland’s national poet, Robbie Burns, to commemorate the day of his birth, January 25, 1759. A much revered poet who celebrated nature and the enjoyment of life, his poems are still popular in the 21st century. At the ceilidh (party/concert/dancing) in his honor, you may want to skip eating the haggis (see next paragraph), but you might enjoy dining on bannocks (oat cakes), neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes). If you are lucky, someone with a nice Scottish burrrr will read Burns’ Ode To A Haggis, in Gaelic.

Haggis is made from sheep's offal (or pluck). The windpipe, lungs, heart and liver of the sheep are boiled and then minced. This is mixed with beef suet and lightly toasted oatmeal. This mixture is placed inside the sheep's stomach, which is sewn closed. The resulting haggis is traditionally cooked by further boiling (for up to three hours) although the partly-cooked haggis can be cooked in the oven which prevents the risk of bursting and spoiling. True Scots really do love it, although vegetarian Scots not so much.

Gaelic: By the way, just in case you are referring to the title of this piece, the first syllable of the name of the language of the Highlands, Gaelic, is pronounced gal as in gallon, not gale as in storm. Try it: Gal-ick.

Please join us, no matter what your heritage, in celebrating this event. On Robbie’s birthday, we are all Scots!


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