Friday, January 25, 2013

Robbie Burns Day

Happy Robbie Burns Day!  Did you know that people all over the world celebrate Scotland's national poet Robert Burns' birthday every year with a special supper.  I've always wanted to go to one and this year I got my chance as our friend's Kim and Paul invited us to one that they attend.

It was a wonderful evening with lots of great food, friendly, intelligent people, and talented speakers and singers.

Many people were wearing their family tartans.  Here Kim and I are in our competing plaid scarves.

And some men were wearing kilts.

Jonathan had (appropriately enough), just arrived home from Edinburgh seven hours earlier.  He did so well to wine and dine despite the jet lag.

The setting was perfect - a pub in Toronto decorated with Highland regiments on the walls and a cozy atmosphere.

The evening started with Burns' traditional Selkirk Grace.

After grace, the bagpiper processed in followed by the haggis (you can just see part of the white plate to the left of the bagpiper.  Unfortunately I wasn't very adept at using my husband's camera and I didn't get good pictures of the bagpiper.)

There was the ceremonial cutting of the haggis,

followed by dinner.

Haggis really falls in the category of unusual foods.  Here's how it is described in Wikipedia:
Haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep's pluck (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally encased in the animal's stomach and simmered for approximately three hours. Most modern commercial haggis is prepared in a sausage casingrather than an actual stomach.
Naturally I chose to have haggis for dinner since it is the traditional food served at a Burns' Supper (and I have a burning curiosity that makes me want to eat strange and unusual food).  The haggis was served with neeps (turnips) and tatties (mashed potatoes) and gravy.  I've always wanted to try haggis and fortunately I thought it tasted fantastic - rather like a mushy sausage.  It was definitely a dinner you didn't need teeth to eat.

I had some delicious sticky toffee pudding for dessert.

Some people had athol brose, which is a Scottish drink made into a dessert with oats at the bottom and fruit on top.

Dinner was followed by recitations of Burns' poems (including an amazing rendition of Tam o'Shanter), toasts, and music.  It was so much fun - we enjoyed the evening immensely (many thanks Kim and Paul). 

Have you ever been to a Burn's Supper?  Would you be adventuresome enough to eat haggis?

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  1. My ex boss was Scottish and always wore his kilt and went to Toronto from Hamilton with his friends to Celebrate RB day. Being a surgeon, he may have been on call, so it was my job to get the rotation schedule as far ahead as I could and trade off Robbie Burns day with someone else if he was scheduled. Any other day of the year he didn;t care, but this day was HIS day.

  2. My father-in-law has always hosted a Robbie Burns supper but we have never attended since we live too far away but they all wear kilts and it sounds like a lot of fun. Not sure about the haggis part though....yeeeshhh.

  3. Grace sounds like you had a wonderful evening out in celebration of Robbie Burns.

  4. I would love it. I would go AND eat haggis!!! :D Great post, and the menu sounds great!