Saturday, January 19, 2008
Slaying the Haggis
“Fair fa your honest sonsie face,
Great chieftain of the puddin’ race”
Here we go it is Burns Season.
Every year, one month exactly after Jesus’ birthday, on January 25th Scots and Scotiaphiles around the world celebrate the birth of Scotland’s most famous poet, Robert Burns. They do so with a fervency that will rival even the Russian’s love for their poets, and with good reason. Robert Burns leaves us with a legacy of over six hundred songs and poems that epitomize the most sensitive heartfelt wrenchings of the common man, and contain what is arguably the greatest satire and story telling ever penned in the English or the Ayrshire language.
We are slaying the haggis again. The Haggis Slayer, the dirk I have used for over twenty five years to cut open the haggis will be put into action twenty times this season alone. I believe it will have been used to “slay” one hundred and eighty five haggi or what ever the word may be to pluralize haggis. This must be some sort of record.
Last night at the Athenaeum Club, that august edifice at the California Institute of Technology, the Haggis was slain and “Tam O’ Shanter”, the Burns story of the wild ride on a stormy night, was recited in its totality. The venue was elegant the wine excellent and the haggis remarkable. Kevin their chef has developed his art to the point where I can confidently say he is giving the renowned Chef Ivan of Lawry’s “Tam O’ Shanter Restaurant” a run for his money. It was good, very good, and served with bashed neeps and tatties. Hats off to Kevin.