Sunday, January 27, 2013

Burns Night (x2)

Burns Night, held on 25th January, is the birthday celebration of poet Robert Burns' life and poetry. It is celebrated in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and includes haggis, whisky, and poetry reading. This year, we celebrated twice.

Celebration #1:

We gathered at the Brewers for Haggis Pizza Night. My friends Rachel and Liana created masterpiece pizza with a bechamel sauce, a layer of tatties (potatoes), neeps (turnips), haggis, and of course, cheese!

Before eating, Jesse kindly read, "Ode to a Haggis," the poem traditionally read before eating Burns Supper. After about 5-6 slices each, the time came to read "Tam O'Shanter" aloud as a group. In our best accents, we traded off reading lines about Tam and his horse Meg, and their haunted adventures home from the pub. Topped off with a warm chocolate brownie dessert, it was a  wonderful North American effort at a Scottish holiday.

Celebration #2:

Our Scottish (plus one English) friends invited us to their Burns Night celebration. Garrick and I felt very honoured to be included, and were even asked to read a piece of Burns' poetry aloud, while wearing a tartan hat. This meal was more traditional, with Haggis, neeps, and tatties served on a plate with a whisky sauce drizzled over the top.

Haggis with neeps and tatties
The haggis, wrapped in a sheep's stomach,  was brought out on a platter and set in the middle of the table.  Our friend Robbie sliced the stomach open during this stanza from "Ode to a Haggis:"
His knife see rustic Labour dicht,
An' cut you up wi' ready slicht,
Trenching your gushing entrails bricht,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sicht,
Warm-reekin, rich!
After our feast, Disney's "Brave" played while we enjoyed Chocolate Whisky Truffles and Cranachan for dessert. Thanks to our gracious hosts and friends for an evening we won't soon forget!

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