Good Evening friends,
Tomorrow will be a big occasion in Scotland and indeed in many other countries throughout the world it will be BURNS DAY. The day when some Scots celebrate the birth of Robert Burns. Suppers are help everywhere and most follow the same tradition that has been going on for many many years...Now as most of you know I am Scottish but I have a confession to make....I have never actually been to an oficial burns supper...I have had many many ordinary burns suppers...indeed I can hardly remember a year when we have not had the celebratory Haggis for lunch/dinner/supper....Tomorrow I will again be having my haggis. Sarah, Flick, (Sarah's friend) Mary and two or three other friends are joining me at a local pub for a burns lunch...Many of you will be already familiar with what goes on at a traditional supper but in case you are not I will write a bit about what actually goes on..and on ..and on...whilst usually the whisky flows !!!!
Piping in the guests
A big-time Burns Night calls for a piper to welcome guests. If you don't want all that baggage, some traditional music will do nicely. For more formal events, the audience should stand to welcome arriving guests: the piper plays until the high table is ready to be seated, at which point a round of applause is due. At a more egalitarian gathering - with no high table - the chair can simply bang on the table to draw attention to the start of the evening's proceedings.
The Chair (host/organiser) warmly welcomes and introduces the assembled guests and the evening's entertainment.
The Selkirk Grace
A short but important prayer read to usher in the meal, The Selkirk Grace... Although the text is often printed in English, it is usually recited in Scots.
Some hae meat and canna eat, some have meat and cannot eat
And some wad eat that want it, and some would eat that want it
But we hae meat and we can eat, but we have meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thankit. And so the Lord be thankful
Piping in the haggis
Guests should normally stand to welcome the dinner's star attraction, which should be delivered on a silver platter by a procession comprising the chef, the piper and the person who will address the Haggis. A whisky-bearer should also arrive to ensure the toasts are well lubricated.
During the procession, guests clap in time to the music until the Haggis reaches its destination at the table. The music stops and everyone is seated in anticipation of the address To a Haggis.
Address to the haggis
The honoured reader now seizes their moment of glory by offering a fluent and entertaining rendition of To a Haggis. The reader should have his knife poised at the ready. On cue, he cuts the casing along its length, making sure to spill out some of the tasty haggis within.
Warning: it is wise to have a small cut made in the haggis skin before it is piped in. Instances are recorded of top table guests being scalded by flying pieces of haggis when enthusiastic reciters omitted this precaution! Alternatively, the distribution of bits of haggis about the assembled company is regarded in some quarters as a part of the fun...
The recital ends with the reader raising the haggis in triumph during the final line Gie her a haggis!, which the guests greet with rapturous applause.
Toast to the haggis
Prompted by the speaker, the audience now joins in the toast to the haggis. Raise a glass and shout: The haggis! Then it's time to serve the main course with its traditional companions, neeps and tatties. In larger events, the piper leads a procession carrying the opened haggis out to the kitchen for serving; audience members should clap as the procession departs.
Served with some suitable background music, the sumptuous Bill o' Fare includes:-
Traditional cock-a-leekie soup;
Haggis, neeps & tatties (Haggis wi' bashit neeps an' champit tatties);Haggis mashed turnip and mashed potato
Clootie Dumpling (a pudding prepared in a linen cloth or cloot) or Typsy Laird (a Scottish sherry trifle);
Cheeseboard with bannocks (oatcakes) and tea/coffee.
I have been reading in the national paper over here that there are moves afoot to get the regulations forbidding the export of Haggis to the USA changed so perhaps one day soon you will all be able to join with me in raising a glass to the Haggis LOL
I am quite sure tomorrow up at the Quarryman's Arms none of us will be addressing ..the haggis...indeed I fully expect it will arrive on our plates without us even seeing the Haggis as a whole !!! however there are some things that we will enjoy. I am sure that Sarah will be reminding us of years long past when she and John used to make their own haggis...and of times they celebrated with the Flick and family and friends.
Goodnight Friends...... LOVE ONE ANOTHER
I had some great news this morning I have won a "give away" by my good friend Buttercup..do have a look at her wonderful blog Buttercup Counts her Blessings... you won't be diappointed