Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Happy Birthday Rabbie Burns!

Another Burns Day is upon us. Time to get out the kilts and the tartans. The Poet of Scotland, Robert Burns, is celebrating his birthday on 25 January. He'll be 254 years old, and still lookin' good and ready for some partyin'!
As always. I got myself volunteered in the food preparation in the church kitchen. I don't know why I do that, I make the same mistake every year! First we peeled 50 pounds of tatties and about 70 pounds of neeps (that's potatoes and turnips to the uninitiated!).

Then it was all cooked, mashed, salt and pepper and butter added and piled into serving dishes ready to be heated up the following day.

One of my tasks is to heat the haggis, and here they are in my kitchen, ready to pop into the oven. The national dish of Bonny Scotland - 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.... doesn't that sound appetising? Best eaten with your eyes shut!

The haggis is traditionally piped into the dining hall with the diners standing to attention, and Burns' "Ode to a Haggis" is recited over it as it is ceremonially opened with a sharp knife. We drank a toast to the haggis with apple juice... the closest we'll get to Scotch tonight, this is a church function!!!
My dinner.... roast beef and horseradish, haggis, peas, tatties and neeps, all smothered in gravy, with some coleslaw on the side.
After the dinner is consumed and the tables are cleared, the entertainment! Traditional Burns' poetry, Scottish songs from the church choir and from Susan, a soprano with the voice of an angel, memories of Scotland, a Scottish singalong, and of course, no Burns Night would be complete without the dancing girls! First Sarah demonstrating an energetic Highland Fling.....
.... and then a strathspey and a reel from our Scottish Country Dance Group.... I'm peering over everyone's heads from the back row. 


  1. och aye ... looks like a good time was had by all. (how come Canadians celebrate Robbie Burns)? just wondered.

  2. Nicely done. Did you save some for me?

  3. I still remember the last post you had on this holiday Y’all are having too much fun!

  4. Anns Art - There is a long standing link between Canada and Scotland.

    Nova Scotia = New Scotland...

    At various times (maybe still?) the Canadian army included units called "Highlanders", presumably due to Scottish decent.

    As an Englishman, I don't do Burns Night, but hope that those that do have a great time.

  5. Looks like fun, but I'm not sure about some of the food. :)

  6. I'm not sure about that Haggis either.
    Perhaps a small spoonful on my plate please....
    That is a lot of tatties and neeps to peel.
    We just finished prepping for a mens dinner at church. We cut 1000 pounds of tri-tip steak for the hungry men!We had many pounds of pulled pork (which I helped pull) as a backup and we still ran out of food and had to order several hundred pizzas to fill the bill. In all 2300 men had dinner last Monday night.
    Talk about tired...
    Love hearing about your Burns extravaganza.

  7. I love Turnip! You know, to some it's known as rutabaga, and they think some sort of small purple-topped things are turnips. Those people, of course, have been deprived of the best things in life, so we should pity them.

  8. Thanks for the reminder that Burn's night is approaching - I'll have to remember to de-frost the haggis!

    I sent you an e-mail recently but it was rejected because of an unknown yahoo address. I too have a 'William' - sounds just like yours and I come from South Shields. I'd love to hear from you - will you e-mail me? algi,web

  9. First of all, I picked you out immediately before reading where you were. :)

    Secondly, why in Sam's scratch do you peel the taters! They would be so much healthier with the peels mashed in. :) HA!

  10. You ladies all look lovely in your tartans! I love turnip and mashed potatoes. Haggis not so much, though as I child I used to enjoy faggots. Not so different really.
    For the uninitiated..
    Faggots are a traditional dish in the UK, especially South and Mid Wales and the Midlands of England. It is made from meat off-cuts and offal, especially pork. A faggot is traditionally made from pig's heart, liver and fatty belly meat or bacon minced together, with herbs added for flavouring and sometimes bread crumbs.

  11. Are you tall? Your dinner makes my mouth water.

  12. Sounds you all had a great time!
    The dinner looks delicious and I agree with your friend, it makes my mouth water.


All comments welcome.... unless your name is Anonymous..