Tonight was Burns Night, a sombre and serious festivity in Scotland. Oddly enough, it doesn’t involve burning anything at all, which I pointed out several times to Senga before she cooked our evening meal. I just wanted to be sure she understood.
The night is a profitable one for Angus McFlatulent, the local haggis-hunter. He makes almost all his annual income in the days leading up to this night, which is just as well since haggis-hunting season lasts from January 1st to January 25th, after which only carnivorous haggis can be shot and then only if they get into the hen house or eat a child.
The haggis is an essential part of the meal, as is the mashed Swede (we didn’t have any Swedes but I still had a Norwegian in the freezer. Close enough) and pulverised potato. Here, you can have whatever you want for Christmas dinner and nobody minds, but to not have haggis on Burns Night can get you, well, burned.
It’s a strange creature, the haggis. Immediately upon death, all its hair and limbs drop off and its insides turn into a homogenous mush. This makes it very easy to prepare because you don’t have to shave off that tartan fur and rid it of parasitic bagpipe-mites. Those drop off with the hair and that’s a good thing. A kitchen infestation of bagpipe-mites is messy and noisy.
Angus sold us a particularly excellent specimen, enough to satisfy even Caligula’s appetite.
Another aspect of the meal is the whisky. That, too, is essential because nobody can read Burns’ poetry sober.
I think it’s because he didn’t write it sober.