Great Chieftain o' the Pudding Race: Banned


Robert Burns

Every year on January 25, Scots celebrate Burns Night, the putative birthday of poet Robert Burns. And how better to celebrate than with the dish the great poet immortalized in his masterwork "To a Haggis," a paeon to the "Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!"?

Sadly, again this Friday, Scottish-Americans will be left without authentic haggis with which to honor the noble poet–imports have been banned since the outbreak of mad cow in Britain. But the Scottish government is gearing up for a fight to re-legalize the heart, liver, and lungs-based treat.

"The Scottish government will consider engaging the U.S. government on its haggis import ban … It is safe or we wouldn't eat it here," said a spokeswoman. "We think there is a large market for it amongst expatriate Scots there."

Part of the campaign should feature Burns' poem, which describes what haggis could do for you:

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.

The story chronicling the decision at Yahoo! news asks the question we must all ask ourselves: "Haggis ban an offal burden?"

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  1. But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
    The trembling earth resounds his tread.

    I take it there are plenty of calories in Haggis.

  2. That joke was almost as disgusting as haggis itself.

  3. “punitive birthday”

    As punishment for your crimes, you are sentenced to two extra birthdays per year until such time as you reach 40 years of age.

  4. But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
    The trembling earth resounds his tread.

    I can’t believe I’m commenting on this thread

  5. Damn spellcheck, playing tricks on me. “Putative” it is.

  6. There’s nary an animal alive that’s a match for a greased Scotsman!

  7. “I take it there are plenty of calories in Haggis.”

    Yes, there are. But I’ve always found haggis to be worth the trade. I loved the stuff when I lived over in the U.K. and had it every time I went to visit Scotland. It’s very good if you don’t psyche yourself out thinking about what’s in it…especially with tatties, neeps and whisky gravy.

  8. You haven’t really lived until you’ve had deep-fried haggis, dipped in the blood of your enemies. With a nice single-malt scotch, of course.

  9. Last year, I posted Alton Brown’s haggis recipe at Urkobold. Bon App?tit.

    Hmm, upon reviewing that post, I also note that there is such a thing as canned haggis. [Maniacal laughter and the sound of claymores rending flesh.]

  10. There are perfectly good non-offal haggises (haggices?), but what’s the point?

    You haven’t really lived until you’ve had deep-fried haggis, dipped in the blood of your enemies. With a nice single-malt scotch, of course.

    Likewise for deep-fried Mars bars. Ah, Scotland: the Alabama of Britain.

  11. Where do you think the Alabamians got it from? Or, for that matter, other Southerners? Fried everything is a valid and tasty diet. I had fried pickles in Atlanta once.

  12. Fried Pickles = Awesome

    Fried Oreos = Awesome +5

    They dip the Oreo in a batter and deep-fry them at the Regatta in Pittsburgh each year….

  13. Keep your haggis.

    I’m looking for the feast day of the Patron Saint of Chocolate.

  14. I’ve never sampled haggis. Now I’m eager to try it.

  15. I had haggis in Scotland in Dunkeld. I had to try it because of its reputation. It’s fine. I like organ meat so that was no turn off for me; however, there is a lot of fat in it, as fat is a common sausage/intestine stuffing filler. So it can get somewhat greasy.

    I will stick with jamon negro, personally.

  16. Aresen,

    Try a haggis dipped in chocolate and deep-fried. Look, if haggis was good enough for David Hume and Adam Smith, it’s good enough for you.

  17. If I am not mistaken, offal including lungs, bladders and sweetbreads were illegal to sell for human consumption in the US long before “Mad Cow”. I think the only real exception was calf brain but I could be wrong.

    Not saying it should be so, just making an observation on why Scots-Americans cannot make their own Haggis.

  18. Fried okra is another taste treat. Good with fried pickles.

  19. …just making an observation on why Scots-Americans cannot make their own Haggis.

    or rather, an observation on why Scots-Americans cannot legally make their own Haggis. I wonder if there are haggis dealers, hanging around Highland Games events. “Psst, laddie! I hae’ some good haggie fer ye.”

  20. Downvoted for hyphenated surname.

  21. Where does Ron Paul stand on the Haggis question? Are State Haggae OK but not Federal ones?

    Does the Haggis roam wild in Auburn Alabama?

    And what’s the “Beltway” take on this?

    Is McCain Scottish?

    As someone who went to school in Burns’s hometown I think these questions are of prime importance in your Presidential campaign…

  22. This thread demands a comment from the Urkobold.

  23. McCain is of Scottish derivation. Which will explain the kilt at his inauguration.

    Haggis is not cosmolibertarian, I take it.

  24. Haggis is not cosmolibertarian, I take it.

    Yea, seems kinda country.


  26. Yes, you can buy canned haggis. For fellow Houston residents, try the deli section at the big Spec’s or British Isles in Rice Village. I’ve found it in both places. Spec’s also had canned vegetarian haggis, which baffles me completely.

  27. Ugh.

  28. Ugh to the Urkobold, not to Mr. T.

    My canned haggis link above indirectly references Caledonian Kitchens, which most assuredly sells canned haggis–over the web, no less. I bought a can for a friend of mine, a Cuban who tricked me into eating fried calf brains once. B-b-b-bastard.

  29. Oddly enough, one of my favorite pubs has a vegetarian haggis. I’ve never had it, but everyone I know says it’s excellent.

    I usually just go in for the scotch, though.

  30. Isn’t it the tradition to bring in the haggis on a flaming platter with a dirk on a pillow to kill the beast? (Trumpets optional.) That’s what happened to my father when he ordered it once up in the Highlands.

    Hot damn. Wish he had taken pictures.

  31. Haggis is a damn fine meal. The mayor lived in Scotland for many years and at one time married to a Scottish lass. We had haggis for dinner frequently. Until I discovered donner kebobs, one of my favorites at the chippie was fried battered haggis. I also used to love the deep fried pizza, though not every chippie battered the pizza first. Damn, my heart is seizing up just remembering about it.

  32. Battered deep fried pizza? This is the kind of food that makes me glad the Ren Fest only comes once a year. If it was available at the local, I’d be dead by now.

  33. Robert the Bruce, that’s a great idea: Haggis pizza!

  34. If free trade means letting in the dread haggis, I’m signing up with the “draft Lou Dobbs” brigade.

  35. Haggis is the food of free men. William Wallace ate it, you know.

  36. “…and if there’s no ‘blood of my enemies’ sauce for the battered dipped haggis pizza, then just forget the whole thing.

    I’m going down to the corner for some deep-fried goose liver on a stick. And I’ll be home when I’m damned good and pickl- err, ready!”

    *slams door*

  37. Haggis is just like chopped liver. Pate is just like chopped liver. Duck rillettes are just like chopped liver. Once you’ve had a good chopped liver, everything else is just an echo.

    Where on earth do you live that you can get deep-fried goose liver on a stick?

  38. My wife is from Scotland and is the president of the Daughters of Scotland (DoS) in Columbus OH. Every year the DoS hosts the Burns Banquet. The haggis they serve may not be authentic but it is good.
    The haggis is piped in by a Scottish bagpiper and my wife stabs it with a knife. She then pays the piper with a shot of single malt. It’s a pretty good time.

  39. How sad. A haggis thread and we barely have any posts. Tsk, tsk.

    The shame of it is, we never got to discuss the merits of haggis ice cream. With chocolate- flavored blood-of-your enemies sauce!

  40. The Frugal Gourmet had a recipe for haggis in one of his cookbooks. Since you can’t buy sheep’s lung or stomach in the US, he kind of modified it. I suspect you can probably come up with the necessary ingredients if you know a sheep farmer. My favorite part of it was where he said it would feed 4 Scotsman or 20 Norwegians.

    The other haggis reference I remember was on a Highlander episode. McCleod had gone back to Scotland for a visit and dropped into a local pub. The waitress derisively made some comment about people coming to places like that to order haggis.

    But basically I always considered it a dish that represented how…ummm…frugal Scots are supposed to be. Not wanting to waste anything, they’ll dress up a dish made of offal as a national dish. Something a native Vermonter can truly appreciate.

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