I know I'm a little late sharing this with you, but, as the saying goes, better late than never. January 25th was Robert Burns' birthday, and here in Scotland, in honor of her most revered poet, this auspicious day is remembered with something called a Burns Supper. Before I get into the details of the supper, let me just jog your memory. The average American will probably remember Burns best for the New Year's song "Auld Lang Syne". You know...the song they play right after the ball drops in Times Square while everyone kisses their neighbor and tips champagne?
Anyway, once the guests have gathered around the table and the host has greeted them all and said the Selkirk Grace, dinner commences with a traditional soup, such as scotch broth. Then the haggis enters. That's right. It's a grand procession introduced by a bagpiper followed by the cook proffering the famed dish on a platter. The chef presents the haggis to the host, who addresses it with Burns' own Address to a Haggis, followed by a whiskey toast. After dinner is thoroughly enjoyed, there is a series of toasts -- to the monarch, the host, and the lassies present who prepared the meal. The toast to the lassies is traditionally a humorous speech expounding the speaker's views on women. But not to be outdone, the women reply with a toast to the laddies. Often the two speeches are coordinated to complement one another in comic tone. Then there are final speeches, singing of songs by Burns, and it all ends with a grand ceilidh (traditional Scottish dance).
We were hoping to celebrate our first Burns Night this year. However, circumstantially it did not happen. Stay tuned for next year. After all, I am a great lover of haggis!