Haggis & Mash of the United Kingdom (Scotland)

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Got Haggis? It was destiny for the Tucson Celtic Festival to be happening while I am trying to eat my way through the United Kingdom. I got a night off from cooking to try authentic haggis in the middle of a Celtic extravaganza. With kilts, bagpipes, food, and live music, the festival was a nice change in pace.

 

Haggis is traditionally made with sheep pluck – liver, heart, and lungs – but the particular one I had was made from cattle. It was seasoned deliciously with many spices (don’t know which), and mixed with onion and oatmeal. The haggis was reminiscent of meatloaf, and the gravy and mash were a welcomed accompaniment. I regret not getting some whiskey and the Welsh cakes, it would have elevated the experience for me even more.

This dish is by far one of the more fascinating dishes I’ve had the pleasure to research. Here are some haggis fun facts:

  • “Haggis hurling” is a sport that involves throwing haggis as far as you can. The world record is held by Lorne Coltart, who on June 11th, 2011, hurled his haggis 217 ft
  • Since 1971, Sheep lung has been illegal to import from the UK to the US to stop the spread of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy or mad cow disease (sheep lung makes up about 15% of the recipe)
  • Haggis is served at “Burns Dinners” to celebrate the life of Scottish poet Robert Burns (typically happening on his birthday, January 25th). Check out his poem, “Address to a Haggis“, a poem about his love for haggis
  • It is a running joke in Scotland that haggis is a kind of small animal, an imaginary creature that has longer legs on one side of its body to run the steep hills of Scotland Highlands and not fall over.

Quick Quotes

Spencer was not able to try it due to a rehearsal… so no quote from him other than deep regret at missing it.

T: “Everything about this process was memorable – learning about the history, the dish itself, and how beloved it is in Scotland. When I first found out haggis was the national dish, I quickly realized I would not be able to make it myself, so I am thankful I got the chance to eat it at the festival.”

More Trivial Trifles

  • The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh
  • The three official language of Scotland are English, Scots, and Scottish Gaelic
  • The national animal of Scotland is the unicorn, and has been an important symbol to Scotland since the 12th century. Click here to learn more
  • Scotland does not have a national anthem. The “Flower of Scotland” is a popular Scottish tune that is played for special events and athletic competitions, among other songs

 

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