Saturday, December 08, 2007


If you ever have the opportunity to visit Scotland, you may be tempted to try a traditional Scottish dish: the (in)famous Haggis! But before you eat it, let's find out what it is...because you may change your mind!
The name « Haggis » seems to be related to the Scandinavian word « hag » meaning « to hew » or the French « hachis »-« to chop » or even with the German « Hackwurst » meaning « sausage ».
This being said, the historical origin of this dish is also much debated. On the one hand, some say it comes from the days of the old Scottish cattle drovers, during which women would prepare rations for their husband's journeys to Edinburgh. They would put the food in a sheep's stomach, so that the transportation would be more easy. On the other hand, some claim that Haggis originated at a time when people ate whatever they could find to avoid starvation.
Nowadays, Haggis is traditionally served during the commemoration of Scotland's national poet, Robert Burns, on 25th January. Burns identified Haggis as a national symbol of Scotland when he wrote one of his famous poems « Adress to a Haggis », which achieved literary fame in the 18th century. The recitation of this poem plays an important part in Burns supper.
Furthermore, eating Haggis is one thing but seeing how it is made is quite another, hence the curiosity of many tourists who still don't know what it is made of.

One of the most common recipes involves sheep liver, lungs and heart (known as the « pluck ») mixed with oatmeal and a few spices. All this is then boiled in the animal's stomach for approximately an hour, resembling stuffed intestines. Today, however, Haggis is usually prepared in a casing rather than in an actual stomach and to make this supper more enjoyable, Haggis is usually served with Scotch Whisky.
Beside being a well-loved dish, Haggis is also used in sport entertainment. For example, there are many competitions involving Haggis such as Haggis juggling or hurling (throwing of Haggis). At present, the world record for Haggis hurling is held by Alan Pettigrew.
Let us give you a piece of advice: if you ever do visit Scotland, don't listen to the traditional Scottish joke telling tourists that Haggis is a strange creature...they might take you for a wild Haggis hunt!

Aerts Joyce, Boueyrie Marie.

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