Paul goes to a toddler group (appropriately called "Wee Rascals") at St. Peters Church just up the road from us, so we went along to their Burns Night celebration. The program is to the left above.
After the welcome and a bit of singing, the haggis was "piped in" - by a bagpipe recording, not an actual bagpiper. The presenter then recited Burns' Address to a Haggis (part of which is captured in the video below). Although there were no bagpipes, there were men in kilts present, including Chris, below. He gave me a brief kilt regalia primer.
His kilt is not made of a clan tartan - only the Highlands have clans, and he's from the Lowlands. The Lowlands have "districts" instead, so his district is Roxburgh. As he told me, the jumper he was wearing "was not traditional" but he pointed out the "Jacobite" shirt worn by the presenter who did the "Address to a Haggis" poem (see video) and the "Prince Charlie" jacket worn by another attendee, the top to a formal kilt ensemble (below right: note, this is a picture from the web, not another dinner attendee :-) Chris also pointed out that when the English banned kilts (but not tartan), the Scots took to wearing tartan trousers, called "Tartan Trews" that look something like the trousers below:
But, beyond what people were wearing and the piping in of the haggis...I know the question is on your mind - what did the haggis taste like?
Well, I only ate the vegetarian version. And that tastes a little like a black bean burger. The spice is a little different, but that's the general idea. Paul says, "well, it's internal organs, so that's a tough one. It's kind of spicy, but it's internal organs so it has kind of a tang to it. I can't really describe it." So maybe a few pictures will equal 1000 words.
|Vegetarian haggis with neeps and tatties|
|Regular haggis, for comparison|
|Paul enjoying haggis|
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,
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 like drums;