Address to a Haggis

by / 0 Comments / 174 View / February 4, 2016

By Lindsay Starr Platt, Correspondent

Saturday night, 40 lads and lassies donned kilts, tartans and sashes for the second annual Robert Burns Supper at The Gin at Nolan Creek. The Scottish American Society (SAMS) SGT John MacGregor Post 1298 hosted this event to celebrate the birthday of Scotland’s revered poet, Robert Burns.

Piper, Doctor Martin Docherty led the attendees to dinner as he piped in the haggis, bellowing on his bagpipes. The haggis was carried in on a tray and followed by a “Toast to the Haggis”. Attendees had the chance to fill their glasses from a cask containing a single malt scotch, before the toast of the haggis and a few more toasts that would follow that evening.

Haggis is the beloved national dish of Scotland. It is a savory pudding (sausage) made of offal mutton cuts, such as stomach, heart and liver and mixed with steel cut oats and spices and boiled in a casing made of sheep’s stomach. It is similar in texture to boudin, except it contains oats instead of rice. Authentic Scottish recipes use sheep’s lung, but in the United States it is illegal to use lungs in food for human consumption.

Nicole Stairs, director of program development, Belton Area Chamber of Commerce was a guest at the dinner and described her first taste of haggis as having an earthy, savory and nutty flavor.

George Shott, commander, Post 1298, Scottish American Military Society said, “There are no other poets, other writer heroes, yet we do not afford them the veneration given to Robert Burns. All are internationally known and respected, but none have an evening in their honor. Around the world and around the clock, on the 25th of January each there is not an hour in the day or night when a Burns Supper is not taking place somewhere on this earth. We celebrate his birth, we don’t mark his death, because Burns’ work is all about life and living it.”

Following the toast and the haggis course was dinner accompanied by song and music by acclaimed Scottish folk singer, Ed Miller.

Miller was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and is currently a resident in Austin. Miller is known for helping with the movement of Scottish folk music revival.

“This is great a dinner and a show,” said Stairs. “I loved it.”

“This is my first time at this dinner. I was not even planning to come. At the last minute, my dad asked if I would go to Belton with him. And well, within a few hours …. Here we are,” commented Abbey Monroe, age 17, Katy resident.

The “Immortal Memory” and toast to Robert Burns followed dinner and music. After attendees raised their glasses of scotch to Burns, an interlude of bagpipe music was enjoyed.

A “Toast to the Lassies” was led by Sir David Hathaway and was replied to by Liz Patranella in a comical toast and received many laughs from attendees.

The evening was concluded by one of Burns’ most famous works “Auld Lang Sang” and of course a chance for attendees to finish that last drop of scotch.

SAMS is an organization that recognizes the Scottish and Irish heritage of United States military members. SAMS hosts programs to educate people about Scot/Irish heritage.