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Worthy o’ a grace

January 25, 2014

A happy Burns’ Night to you, if you celebrate it! At Burns’ Suppers around the world tonight, people will be eating haggis in memory of Scotland’s bard: haggis, of course, because Robert Burns wrote a poem in its praise.

I quite like haggis from time to time. It is a good meal for this time of year: it sticks your ribs together. This year, however, we are just having a quiet Saturday night in, and will be tucking into Scotland’s other national dish: chicken curry.

And I have no doubt that, had it been as readily available in eighteenth century Edinburgh as it is today, Rabbie Burns would happily have had a Saturday night cairry-oot curry* too.


Watching the haggis-eating competition at our local Highland Games. Seriously, you wouldn't want to get any closer.

Watching the haggis-eating competition at our local Highland Games. Seriously, you wouldn’t want to get any closer.

[*’cairry-oot’, i.e. take-away/ take-out. There are curry-houses serving great take-aways in almost every town and village in Scotland.]


You might enjoy Immortal memories: just an ordinary Burns’ night, or more about kilts and curries in Wi’ a hundred pipers.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. hmunro permalink
    January 25, 2014 8:50 pm

    “Address to a Curry” doesn’t have quite the same poetic ring, but it sounds like a delicious way to observe Burns’ Night just the same. Guid eenin t’ye!

  2. January 26, 2014 10:22 am

    By coincidence, we had a chicken curry, too! I quite like haggis, but perhaps not enough to call it the ‘chieftain of the puddin’ race’. I wonder how many Scots secretly wish that Burns had preferred chocolate mousse?

    • January 28, 2014 11:30 pm

      Hah, you had me laughing out loud there! The piping in of the mousse…well, he did write a poem to a ‘moose’ as well, I suppose! 🙂

  3. Snoring Dog Studio permalink
    January 26, 2014 3:14 pm

    Fascinating – a haggis-eating contest! One day, I might just give the stuff a try. After all, I’ve eaten scrapple and lots of kinds of sausage.

    • January 28, 2014 11:34 pm

      Haggis is really just glorified sausage, with the additional slightly nutty texture of oatmeal. You should really give it a go! As for the contest, though: it’s a pretty off-putting sight, with grown men cramming as much as they can down in the space of a minute, all washed down with a can of lager. Bleuch. Funnily enough, the winner for the past two years was a very slight young man who had won some of the running races too!

      • Snoring Dog Studio permalink
        January 29, 2014 1:05 pm

        I’d skip the contest – I don’t care if it’s chocolate pie being stuffed into someone’s mouth, I’d rather not witness that. Well, if I ever find a place here that serves haggis, I’m in for trying it.

  4. Nib's End permalink
    January 26, 2014 9:46 pm

    Even though my mother had Scottish roots, her people had been too long in the USA to even remember haggis. My dad, also born in the States, was full-blooded Norwegian and was raised eating lutefisk. As children we ate a lot of dishes from the homeland, but we were never made to eat lutefisk. Thankfully. Google it and you’ll see what I mean!

    • January 28, 2014 11:35 pm

      Having read about lutefisk, I count myself lucky to have a father who is Scottish rather than Norwegian – haggis sounds like manna by comparison! 😉

  5. January 31, 2014 9:29 pm

    Oh, haggis. How my scottish colleagues used to swoon over it in all details. Just to put us off. I should try it once. But then again, I also bravely tried andouilettes when in France. Not a good decision….

    • February 1, 2014 12:28 am

      I promise you, haggis would be a breeze after andouilettes! What with that and lutefisk, I think Scottish cuisine is coming off quite well! 🙂

  6. January 31, 2014 9:57 pm

    DH and I have developed quite a taste for haggis in our Scottish travels, but Burns Night passed sadly unnoticed this year. We even managed to have chicken curry a day early. 🙂

    • February 1, 2014 12:29 am

      I hope that you will both be up and doing and ready to disembowel a haggis in no time. 😉

  7. February 4, 2014 1:03 am

    I always get a bit of a giggle that curry take-out exists in Scotland. Life is so strange, right?

    • February 4, 2014 11:38 pm

      Seems unlikely I suppose! Our predilection for curry goes back to the days of Empire and the British East India Company, when Brits in India got a taste for the local cuisine. Even Queen Victoria enjoyed a good curry, apparently! These days there are many British Asians in this country, bringing the delicious food of the Sub-Continent to the rest of us. Yum.

      • February 5, 2014 12:16 am

        I know London has many curry places – it makes sense Scotland would have it, too. (Haggis is what first comes to mind.)
        Had forgotten the history- thanks

      • February 5, 2014 11:08 am

        Just butting in here 🙂 to say I wouldn’t think there’s a town, however small (our local market town in Mid-Wales has fewer than 3000 inhabitants) without a curry restaurant or takeaway. Until recently we had a Chinese takeaway too. 🙂

      • February 5, 2014 2:14 pm

        Didn’t mean to step on any toes. First impression (stereotypic , yes…pictures of kilts) of Scotland didn’t bring up curry images. Upon reflection, of course the influence from the British empire spread widely and very early. UK was worldly far faster and earlier than most places. It’s even mentioned in literature. Lapse of sense. My Scottish ancestors would be appalled at the bad manners.
        (And if I thought I could get entrance and make a living with a take-out place featuring Tex-Mex – not California Mexican food – wouldn’t do that to ya’ – I’d pack up in a minute. Sigh. Never enough take-out places anywhere. Insert giggles here)
        Appreciate the heads-up

      • February 5, 2014 2:31 pm

        Toes completely unstepped-on. 🙂 If Kentucky Fried Chicken can sweep the UK, then why not Tex-Mex? My husband for one would love it. The British appetite for other cuisines has widened beyond belief since my childhood.

      • February 5, 2014 4:10 pm

        KFC , too? Poor things.Sorry. Here in Houston we’ve got just about every type of food – and well prepared, too. (Luckily the weather is normally mild enough to work it off…or there’s air conditioning in the gyms….although many don’t seem utilize the opportunities either)
        Never would have guessed so much would be readily available in my lifetime. (There’s a South American chicken chain that has KFC easily beat.)

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