25 January 2010

Just in Time for Burns Day: Haggis Legal Once Again for US Import

Read all about it in The Guardian right here.

For the uninitiated, haggis is a traditional Scottish dish involving lamb parts, oatmeal, suet, and cooking in the stomach of a lamb.  Sounds disgusting?  Och, nae, mate, it's jes' Scottish scrapple--the only difference is you substitute oatmeal for cornmeal and  lamb for pig.

What  I fail to understand, however, is this:
Meanwhile, butchers in the US have tried, and failed, to make their own versions of the pudding without using the vital ingredient: sheep. "It was a silly ban which meant a lot of people have never tasted the real thing," said Margaret Frost, of the Scottish American Society in Ohio. "We have had to put up with the US version, which is made from beef and is bloody awful."
Who in hell ever tried to make a haggis with beef?  And what the heck--have none of you bloody Yank butchers ever heard of lamb?  It's not just something you throw on an Afghan shish kabob, after all!

And for those of you determined, here's  a 21-step-by-step photo guide.  (Not for the vegetarians or squeamish--and there's actually a bumper sticker, supposedly based on a graffito in a Scottish loo: "Scotland is not for the squeamish."  And if you insist, there's more discussion on haggis and vegetarian versions here--though, to my mind, that goes over just as well as vegetarian steaks at Ruth's Chris Steak House or Fogo de Chao..  Or non-alcoholic single malt whisky.)

Back on topic: The Scottish Ale at Pratt Street Ale House is selling probably as briskly as any seasonal they have ever had, and a second batch is in the works as a result, according to owner Justin Dvorkin and brewer Stephen Jones.


Unknown said...

The Scottish Loo graffiti that says "Scotland Is Not For The Squeamish" was first shared by Andy M Stewart of the renowned band "Silly Wizard". It is also the title of the second book in a 3 volume autobiography written by one of their good friends Bill Watkins. Check him out at Amazon.

Authentic sheep haggis has been available for years at the Highland Games at Loon Mtn NH

Alexander D. Mitchell IV said...

As someone who owns every Silly Wizard and Andy M. Stewart commercial recording ever released, including a couple that were never released in the States, as well as an autographed copy of his songbook, I am well aware that AMS (not to be confused, of course, with the more commercially well-known Andy Stewart) claims or has been credited with the popular "Scotland is not for the squeamish" anecdote. At the same time, however, I am also keenly aware that ten thousand or more websites, and a like number of t-shirt sellers, credit Benjamin Franklin with the saying "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" when, as I revealed in my Jan. 2006 cover story for Mid-Atlantic Brewing News, he only said a similar saying about wine in a farcical letter to an associate. If I Google the phrase, the first 23 hits returned refer to a book by Bill Watkins; can we affirm that he didn't coin the phrase?

For the record, I'm closing out Burns Night with AMS's "Songs of Robert Burns, 1989 release by Wundertute Musik in Germany.... and maybe I'll follow that with the Stewart/Cunningham/Lunny masterpiece, "Fire in the Glen".... all the while, sipping from a pint of Oliver's Scottish Ale, maybe to be followed by a Harviestoun Ola Dubh 16 and a dram of Dalwhinnie.....

Unknown said...

Good on all the Google hits. That's why I slipped in a less than subtle plug for Bill's book.

BTW, Bill wrote the lyrics to the song "The Errant Apprentice" as recoded by AMS

Unknown said...

Please pardon the typo. Should read "recorded". There's still too much blood in my caffeine system.