Sunday, 18 January 2009

Rabbie Burns Night 2009

Welcome to the 15th Annual Rabbie Burns Night Dinner hosted by the local Presbyterian Church, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotland's favourite poet!

We spent a whole day giggling laughing gossiping working hard in the church kitchen, peeling, cooking and preparing 70lbs of potatoes and about 25 large turnips. This makes mashed tatties and champit neeps. With the addition of coleslaw, green peas, roast beef with horseradish, haggis and gravy, this is enough to feed 160 hungry Scotophiles. Here are some of the hardworking kitchen help.... don't ask about the fingers....

.... and this is the resulting dinner. All this and entertainment too for only CDN$16?? What a bargain. Don't you wish you had bought a ticket?

Our expert gravy maestro makes two, yes TWO, kinds of gravy, one with onions (my favourite) and one without.
What's a roast beef dinner without gravy???

Besides, many people claim that it drowns enhances the taste of the haggis!

Everyone stands in respect for Rabbie Burns as the haggis is ceremonially piped in by the piper.
Strains of Scotland the Brave assail our ears.

The haggis is carried behind the piper on a silver tray, and traditionally follwed by glasses of Scotch for drinking the health of Rabbie Burns, even though Rabbie's been dead since 1796.
In this case, the Scotch is replaced by apple juice.... this is a church function. Don't tell Rabbie.
At this point in the procedings, it's time for the traditional "Address To A Haggis".

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.
His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!
Then, horn for horn,
they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost!
on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
"Bethankit!" 'hums.
Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?
Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!
But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' heads will sned,
Like taps o' thissle.
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!

It's all Greek to you? Desperate for a translation and/or explanation?
Click here.
After the dinner plates are cleared.... it's time for dessert. Help yourself to a piece of pie.... your choice.

The evening's entertainment includes music, poetry, song and dance, all with a decidedly Scottish flavour. Our Scottish Country Dance group demonstrated "Wisp of Thistle" a strathspey, and a reel, "Reel of the 51st Division".

The table centres depicted Scottish Dancing around the world......

... created by four ladies sitting round a kitchen table one winter afternoon not long ago, armed with paper and scissors and glue and tartan ribbon.... fuelled by homemade shortbread and cups of tea!

On 25th January, don't forget to wish everyone a Happy Rabbie Burns Day!


  1. It sounds like you had great fun. I don't think I've ever tasted haggis to this day. I've had very few opportunities and even less nerve.

  2. Wonderful celebration, the food looks divine!

  3. Yummmmmmmm! Now I'm hungry! If I could travel anywhere in the world, Scotland would be a first choice. I love it's rugged history and the beauty I see in pictures!
    Thanks for taking us to Robbie Burns night. Wish I could have heard the music and seen the dancing!
    I'm sure you're aware of the M.C. Beaton mystery series set in Scotland with charming hero Hamish MacBeth. BBC did a TV series of the books too. One or two season.

  4. Looks terrific (except maybe the haggis . . .). A great time for everyone, even (or especially) the wounded!

  5. But I thought you were ENGLISH. Did I get that wrong?

  6. Looks like you had lots of fun. I'd have loved to be there. Especially for the dancing. The food looked delicious too. I thought it was Robbie Burns, not Rabbie?

  7. There isn't enough gravy or scotch in the world to induce me to eat haggis. Thanks be the Scots' Irish cousins didn't pick it up!

    Lovely celebration, though! Y'alls have a lot of fun up there!!

  8. EG tour guide:
    I can be English and still eat haggis!

  9. Are there lots of Scottish people/descendants in your area or is this just a good excuse for a knees up??

  10. What fun! I could never have imagined coleslaw and gravy if I hadn't seen it on the plate! No haggis for me, but gallons of gravy (onion preferably) please!!

    Love the clever centrepiece.

    Sue x

  11. For auld lang syne, my jo,
    For auld lang syne,
    We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
    For auld lang syne.

  12. Peter: what lovely singing, your tenor voice is divine! Just like Pavarotti!

  13. You all have such a GREAT GREAT time....And I appreciate all the work that goes into this kind of an event and es[ecially in making it successful. Bravo to you all.....

    I may have told you this before---and if so, forgive me for repeating myself---
    Many years ago in the first incredibling exciting years of Theatre West, a WONDERFUL Actor/Writer namd John McLiam, put together an evening of "Rabbie" Burns poetry and with his own words, telling a lot of the story of Burns life. It was called "The Cock May Crow" and it was something he worked on for eight years...EIGHT YEARS!!! And finally, it was completed in a form he was happy with and was Producd at Theatre West...It had quite a stellar cast, too...Among others: Betty Garrett and Lee Meriwether---I had the privilage of being The Producer for Theatre West and it was a very very successful production. Because of this, I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Burns...THOUGH, I have never eaten!

  14. I used to do Scottish country dancing,was very warming on a cold night and lots of fun. Have never tried haggis I hope you enjoyed it!
    looks like a great evening.

  15. This sounds delightful and my what a generous portion feed everyone had. Sorry, but the thought of Haggis scares me.

  16. I'll bring the Baps! It's Jan 25th offic. isn't it? we still have time to do this...

    and smoke a sweet afton & have a glass of Scotch...

    cheers to you.

    Until then, I'm celebrating Obama /Biden days and nights Cheers all week long!

  17. I'm Scots Irish and one of the nicest prezzies i ever got was a framed Burns poem my friend had inked in calligraphy

  18. What a week, celebrating our Martin Luther King Jr, Our New President and Rabbie Burns. I have never tried Haggis but I certainly would I will have to seek out a Burns Night in my area for next year!

  19. It truly sounds like a wonderful fun evening. And, any night with roast beef could never be a total loss :-)

  20. "Hurdies" and "rive." Those are fun words and I can't wait to put them to use!

    Aye, and I'll raise a glass of apple juice to Rabbie Burns.

  21. Yeahooo! So, if you can be English and still eat haggis, does that mean I can eat it too? (not sure that I really want to? what do you think?) hummm...I guess there's some pretty "interesting" ethnic filipino foods, but I'm really wimpy when it comes to those, too. And by wimpy I mean I won't even go near it. Then again, gotta try it once, right?

  22. Looks like fun and the food looks great. Lloyd and Ranger

  23. Looking at the pictures made me kind of hungry. I think I am going to grab something to eat.

    It looked like everyone was having a great time.

  24. I can't get my mind around the word haggis....sorry. You look happy and are having fun in the photos. Thank you for the great wishes recently.

  25. Well, I'm glad I have't missed his birthday! That looks like a wonderful evening. I would have loved that event!

    It's cold here in Florida. Be glad you're not here now. I know that it's probably warmer than anywhere else, but still it's cold.

  26. Sounded like a fun day for everyone.

    I've seen haggis prepared on FoodNetwork on TV but never tried it before. I will, one day, when I go to Scotland.

  27. I'll pass on the haggis, but I'll a double helping of pie please.
    Any kind, you pick..!

  28. Looks like a great meal and even better desserts.

    I don't know of any other bloggers in Stouffville.

  29. Um, excuse me . . GRAVY on the haggis? And COLESLAW? What sort of Burns Supper is this???!???

  30. Ode Tae A Fart

    Oh what a sleekit horrible beastie
    Lurks in yer belly efter the feastie
    As ye sit doon amongst yer kin
    There sterts tae stir an enormous win’

    The neeps an’ tatties an’ mushy peas
    Stert workin’ like a gentle breeze
    But soon the puddin’ wi’ the sonsie face
    Will have ye blawin’ a’ ower the place.

    Nae matter whit the hell ye dae
    A’body’s gonnae hae tae pay
    Even if ye try tae stifle
    It’s like a bullet oot o’ a rifle

    Haud yer bum tight tae the chair
    Tae try an’ stop the leakin’ air
    Shift yersel fae cheek tae cheek
    Pray tae God it disnae reek.

    But aw yer efforts gan asunder
    Oot it comes like a clap o’ thunder
    Ricochets aroon’ the room
    Michty me! A sonic boom

    God Almichty, it fairly reeks!
    Hope I huvnae s**t ma breeks!
    Tae the bog ah’d better scurry,
    Ach, whit the hell, it’s no ma worry.

    A’body roon aboot me chokin’
    Yin or twa were nearly boakin’
    I’ll feel better for a while
    Cannae help but raise a smile.

    Wis him! I shout with accusin’ glower,
    Alas! Too late! He’s just keeled ower
    Ye dirty bugger, they shout and stare
    A didnae feel welcome ony mair

    Where e’r ye be let yer wind gan free
    Sounds like just the job for me
    Whit a fuss at Rabbie’s party
    Ower the sake o’ one wee farty.


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