A bit of Haggis; A lot of Sunshine

Posted on November 3, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Games, Health, HowTo, Musings |

My previous post contained good wishes for any of various holidays you may have been celebrating over the weekend. Part of my celebration included attending my local Celtic Festival and Highland Games. Among other things, I’m part Scottish, and played in a bagpipe band for some years, so this was familiar territory for me.

It happened that the festival was held on the very weekend of the Celtic New Year, a three-day celebration in some circles. There were two fire celebrations; one on opening night, which was “The Scottish Clan Torchlight Ceremony of Honor” at which the Clan names are read. The next night had “Celtic Fire” including fire dancers, music, and general mayhem. I learned something I hadn’t known in all these years of being part Scottish:

The word ‘bonfire‘, or ‘bonefire’ is a direct translation of the Gaelic tine cnรกmh. With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family then solemnly lit its hearth from the common flame, thus bonding the families of the village together.

Did you know the term “bonfire” is a shortened form of “bone fire”? Apparently my ancestors tossed the bones of the cattle they’d slaughtered and preserved for the winter onto the fire! The ceremony was for the entire harvest, and to ask for divine assistance for the supplies to last through the long upcoming winter.

Here in the desert, we don’t have a “real” winter, with snow, and all (although it can get c o l d ), and we can get food all year long (would that this will continue!) so the ceremony doesn’t have the emotional urgency it would have in other times and places, but it’s quite a spectacle nevertheless, and made me feel a connection with the more “earthy” aspects of our existence.

The games themselves were fun, although it was unseasonably warm for November. It must have felt very hot to be in traditional dress—all those woolens! I had the opportunity to hear several really good pipe bands, saw some highland and Scottish Country dancing, browsed some shoppes, and heard some wonderful Celtic music (particularly a “jam” session which included harps, whistles, guitars and fiddles—just great!)

The other thing I did, finally, years after I actually visited Scotland and couldn’t bring myself to do it there, was…I ate some Haggis! It was sold in a small bowl with some crackers. The idea of it had never appealed to me, and much to the disdain of the Bed-and-Breakfast owner in Glasgow, I chickened out there (literally; I ordered chicken stew instead) when encouraged to eat this dish.

I needed to record this momentous event here, on this very blog, because a question on this meme asked me to name a food I hadn’t tried yet, but would, now I’d been asked. I named “Haggis” and then regretted it after pushing the “publish” button. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I had visions of having to report back here when I was 96 and finally got up the nerve to partake of this dish, but, fortunately (?!?) I had the opportunity presented to me on Saturday, and I lived to tell the tale.

It looked and tasted like a kind of ground-up stew; tasty, really. The only problem with it is the way it’s prepared, and I didn’t have to watch that, or think about it too much. (If you’d like to know what I ate, and how it’s made, check out this recipe from the BBC! — you’ll need a strong stomach before you read this, though. Haha. A pun. You’ll see why if you look at the recipe) ๐Ÿ˜Ž

So, as you are my witness, I did do this thing I said I would do!!!

A h-uile lร  sona dhuibh ‘s gun lร  idir dona dhuib. (May all your days be happy ones.)

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13 Responses to “A bit of Haggis; A lot of Sunshine”

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does it taste like kebab? ๐Ÿ˜› if people can eat raw fish these days, surely something like haggis is no problem! as you said, it tasted like stew. ๐Ÿ˜† how long did you hesitate before gobbling it?

Connecting to your roots eh? Well, I would never ever try haggis…ever. I am a lacto vegetarian ๐Ÿ™‚

I just don’t think I could eat haggis no matter how hungry I was. I just looked up the recipe. Nope, absolutely not. I don’t even like lamb. The Celtic Festival and Highland Games sounded like fun and I learned something new about the word bonfire.

Muse – now that you have tried Haggis, you HAVE to try “faggots” LOL

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database/faggotswithoniongrav_3899.shtml

I think my post went into the spam queue. LOL

I can’t believe you ate it! Holy crap, Muse…
I had no idea you were part Scottish, it has been one of my sister’s dreams to visit Scotland.
A town nearby puts on the Highland Games every year. I’ve never been, but I know someone who tosses the logs. Thanks for telling us about the bonfire. That is an interesting tidbit of new info.

And you used to play the bagpipe! You’ve done so many things! You’ve been to Scotland too! I can’t look at the recipe, it’s still morning and I don’t think I could handle it. ๐Ÿ™‚

You DID it though! Congrats!

I read the recipe and I might eat it. I’ve eaten cow brains, I do eat liver and panza… so maybe the flavor is not that different.

I have to confess, though, that reading the recipe, made my mouth watery.

I love Scotland! And Scottish folk music is awesome. That festival sounds like great fun!

And you liked the haggis, then? Yay! ๐Ÿ™‚

Good for you!

Haha, sulz. It does not taste like kebab. I’d rather have kebab. ๐Ÿ™‚ I stared at it for a while, then held my nose for the first bite. It was more OK than I’d have thought, so I then un-held my nose. I kept thinking “oats and onions; oats and onions” to try to get my mind off the rest of the ingredients! ๐Ÿ˜€

I’m mostly a veg, too, Apar. I just had to do this, though. As you say, roots! ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh, yes, the festival was great fun; thanks, Joan. I wouldn’t recommend eating this unless you had something to prove, as I did. It was pretty good, really, but there are so many other things in the world to eat!

Yes, Will, your first comment went into SPAM, because you used THAT word, you rascal, even if it really is called that. {For those who wonder, Will is referring to the “colloquial” name of a dish; I know him well, and he is not being offensive, just cheeky!} That recipe you included sounds even more, um…challenging than Haggis. Don’t think I’ll be trying it soon! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I can hardly believe it either, BD, but I’ll take the congrats, thanks! Yes, I’m a bit of a mutt, ethnically, but “Scottish” is my second-largest ethnic identity. ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you don’t want to look at the Haggis recipe, by all means DO NOT look at the one Will posted! Fair warning! ๐Ÿ˜€ I thought that was interesting about the bonfire, too. I miss the pipes, sometimes…

Really, Juan? You must have an adventurous palette! ๐Ÿ™‚ Do let me know if you ever cook up a batch of Haggis. Cow brains… ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ๐Ÿ˜€

Very fun, B0bby, thanks! I loved the music, and, gulp, liked the Haggis. Scotland is lovely; it’s people warm and welcoming. Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen.

Thank you, C.! Aren’t I brave? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Very cool Muse that you have visited Scotland! I think it would be neat if we could all at some point visit the place or places of our family’s roots.

Wow, I just read the ingredients for Haggis. I’ll admit, I’m a wuss when it comes to trying new foods, so I would chicken out on the opportunity to try that, lol. Congrats to you on doing it though!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you Shane! I had to really screw up my courage (and if you’d looked at my face you would know what screwed-up courage looks like ๐Ÿ˜‰ I can be adventurous about food; this was a challenge.
And yes, Scotland is beautiful. I bought some of my family tartan in Edinburgh, And I still have a way-cool cape in that.
Seriously, though, once you get past the first mouthful, it tastes like some kinds of sausage. Still, unless you’re Scottish yourself, you have no obligation to try it!


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