Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Haggis: Eat It or Pet It

Haggis: Eat it, or Pet it? 
by Gini Rifkin

Not just a Scottish dish, a kind of haggis is referred to in Homer's Odyssey, ( written towards the end of the 8th Century BC) It has also been stated that the Ancient Romans were known to have made products of the haggis type.
The first known written recipe for a dish of the name ('hagese'), is in the verse cookbook Liber Cure Cocorum dating from around 1430 in Lancashire, North West England.

I can appreciate the ancient theory that stuffing chopped heart, liver, and lungs into a sheep's stomach and boiling it was a convenient and ingenious method to ensure these parts were utilized and not wasted. But the thought of eating Haggis pretty much leaves me feeling like this...
Kristin Chenoweth chokes down haggis for charity on Jay Leno show.

Disguising it, probably won't work for me either...........
Popular Scottish folklore provides one theory that the dish originates from the days of the old Scottish cattle drovers. When the men left the highlands to drive their cattle to market in Edinburgh the women would prepare rations for the long journey down through the glens. They used the ingredients most readily available, and conveniently packaged them in a sheep's stomach allowing for easy transportation during the journey.
Other speculations have been based on Scottish slaughtering practices. When a Chieftain or Laird required an animal to be slaughtered for meat (whether sheep or cattle) the workmen were allowed to keep the offal as their share.
Regardless, it remains a much cherished tradition.
The haggis is considered the national dish of Scotland as a result of Robert Burns' poem Address to a Haggis of 1787.

Haggis is traditionally served with "neeps and tatties" (Scots: turnip and potato, boiled and mashed separately), especially as the main course of a Burns supper.

Nice seeing your honest, chubby face,
Great chieftain of the sausage race!
Above them all you take your place,
Belly, tripe, or links:
Well are you worthy of a grace
As long as my arm.

Then there is the OTHER haggis!

A "Haggis" is a small Scottish animal with one set of legs longer than the other so that it can stand on the steep Scottish Highlands without falling over. Unfortunately this results in the poor creature only being able to circle the mountain in one direction.
For centuries Scotland has prided itself on the abundant numbers of Wild Haggis or Haggi but sadly these numbers are in decline. The ban on Wild Haggis hunting has come almost too late but with the introduction of Haggis Farms, this has cut down on the consumption of Wild Haggi. However, Poachers have been hunting the Wild Haggi and exporting them to Japan where they are made into "Scottish Sushi".

In an attempt to preserve the wild Haggis in it natural habitat, several sanctuaries have been set up. These are self-funded by the sale of "Hagpoo". Hagpoo is the made from the droppings of the Haggis mixed with 3 other natural ingredients (Thistle sap, Scotch mist and a secret ingredient). This mixture is processed into 'bricks' and then fire treated for 3 days. Hagpoo is said to burn 3 times as hot as coal and lasts 5 times longer.

And if you believe all this, I think there's some swamp land for sale in Florida!

Sorry there aren't really Haggis critters.

About Gini
Gini Rifkin lives in Colorado on a little patch of land caring for her twelve abandoned animals including donkeys, goats, ducks, geese, bunnies, and cats. Writing keeps her sane--almost. Friends and family are her greatest treasure.
Colorado, 1880 
When East End London meets the Wild West, sparks fly. 

Kicked out of England for offending the Royal Family, Britania Rule heads for Leadville, in the Colorado backcountry. Passing herself off as a highborn lady, she pursues her dream of opening a parlor of spiritual enlightenment. 

Cody James, her guide, thinks he must be half-crazy to hire-out to a female. But his luck at the gaming tables has run dry, and she’s his meal-ticket out of town. Betrayed by the only woman he ever loved, and shot and left for dead by a man he once called friend, Cody declares himself a loner. 

Traveling side by side, they deny their desire for one another, but the Tarot cards say otherwise—and their hot night of passion confirms the prediction. Will love be waiting at the end of the trail? Or could Cody’s past destroy their future? 



  1. Good morning Darlene: thank you for inviting me to visit the Highway Cafe today. Hoping it has warmed up a bit where you are,and you aren't snowbound and eating Haggis! (Sorry I accidentally deleted my original comment)

    April 5, 2016 at 11:56 AM

  2. Gini--I had the pleasure or displeasure of eating haggis,a VERA WEE serving, at a Robert Burns dinner along with other traditional foods. Mixed in with the potatoes and turnip, it was almost eadible, but I don't feel the need to eat it again. lol.

    1. Hi Susanne: thanks for leaving a great comment, and adding your personal experience to the mix.

  3. Hi Gini, we had snow last night but thankfully the roads were clear by morning. Just a layer of white on the grass. I don't know about eating Haggis. Anything that looks like that, should not be digested, lol!
    PS-Loved A Cowboy's Fate!

  4. Thank you, Darlene: This really is a curious dish, and somehow it has stood the test of time. Sending more sunshine your way