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Thread: Happy Burns night

  1. #1
    Gripper's Avatar Dexter's Apprentice.
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Mansfield, Nottinghamshir
    Burns Suppers have been part of Scottish culture for about 200 years as a means of commemorating our best loved bard. And when Burns immortalised haggis in verse he created a central link that is maintained to this day.

    The ritual was started by close friends of Burns a few years after his death in 1796 as a tribute to his memory. The basic format for the evening has remained unchanged since that time and begins when the chairman invites the company to receive the haggis.


    Chairperson's opening address

    A few welcoming words start the evening and the meal commences with the Selkirk Grace

    The company are asked to stand to receive the haggis. A piper then leads the chef, carrying the haggis to the top table, while the guests accompany them with a slow handclap. The chairman or invited guest then recites Burns' famous poem To A Haggis, with great enthusiasm. When he reaches the line 'an cut you up wi' ready slight', he cuts open the haggis with a sharp knife.

    It's customary for the company to applaud the speaker then stand and toast the haggis with a glass of whisky.

    The company will then dine. A typical Bill o' Fare would be:

    Cock-a-leekie soup
    Haggis warm reeking, rich wi' Champit Tatties,
    Bashed Neeps
    Tyspy Laird (sherry trifle)
    A Tassie o' coffee

    The Immortal Memory

    One of the central features of the evening. An invited guest is asked to give a short speech on Burns. There are many different types of Immortal Memory speeches, from light-hearted to literary, but the aim is the same - to outline the greatness and relevance of the poet today.

    Toast To The Lasses

    The main speech is followed by a more light-hearted address to the women in the audience. Originally this was a thank you to the ladies for preparing the food and a time to toast the 'lasses' in Burns' life. The tone should be witty, but never offensive, and should always end on a concilliatory note.


    The turn of the lasses to detail men's foibles. Again, should be humorous but not insulting.

    Poem and Songs

    Once the speeches are complete the evening continues with songs and poems. These should be a good variety to fully show the different moods of Burns muse. Favourites for recitations are Tam o' Shanter, Address to the Unco Guid, To A Mouse and Holy Willie's Prayer.

    The evening will culminate with the company standing, linking hands and singing Auld Lang Syne to conclude the programme.

    Address to a Haggis
    Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
    Great chieftain o the puddin'-race!
    Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
    Painch, tripe, or thairm:
    Weel are ye wordy of a grace
    As lang's my arm.

    The groaning trencher there ye fill,
    Your hurdies like a distant hill,
    Your pin wad help to mend a mill
    In time o need,
    While thro your pores the dews distil
    Like amber bead.

    His knife see rustic Labour dight,
    An cut you up wi ready slight,
    Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
    Like onie ditch;
    And then, O what a glorious sight,
    Warm-reekin, rich!

    Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
    Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
    Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
    Are bent like drums;
    The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
    'Bethankit' hums.

    Is there that owre his French ragout,
    Or olio that wad staw a sow,
    Or fricassee wad mak her spew
    Wi perfect sconner,
    Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
    On sic a dinner?

    Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
    As feckless as a wither'd rash,
    His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
    His nieve a nit:
    Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
    O how unfit!

    But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
    The trembling earth resounds his tread,
    Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
    He'll make it whissle;
    An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
    Like taps o thrissle.

    Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
    And dish them out their bill o fare,
    Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
    That jaups in luggies:
    But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
    Gie her a Haggis!

    The Dreaded Haggis (from Delia Smith's Complete Cookery Course)

    1 sheep's stomach

    1 sheep heart

    1 sheep liver

    1/2 lb suet, fresh (kidney leaf fat is preferred)

    3/4 c oatmeal

    1 ts salt

    1/2 ts pepper

    1/4 ts cayenne

    1/2 ts nutmeg

    3/4 c stock

    Wash stomach well, rub with salt and rinse. Remove membranes and excess fat. Soak in cold salted water for several hours. Turn stomach inside out for stuffing.

    Cover heart and liver with cold water, Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Chop heart and coarsely grate liver. Toast oatmeal in a skillet on top of the stove, stirring frequently, until golden. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Loosely pack mixture into stomach, about two-thirds full. Remember, oatmeal expands in cooking.

    Press any air out of stomach and truss securely. Put into boiling water to cover. Simmer for 3 hours, uncovered, adding more water as needed to maintain water level. Prick stomach several times with a sharp needle when it begins to swell; this keeps the bag from bursting. Place on a hot platter, removing trussing strings. Serve with a spoon.

    Think I'll just have a wee dram to celebrate
    Last edited by Gripper; 01-25-2006 at 06:19 PM.

    All spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in my post's are intentional.

  2. Lounge   -   #2
    Lilmiss's Avatar Poster BT Rep: +4
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Hobbit Shire
    had neeps n tatties for dinner, but me gay gordon days are over.

    Some hae meat and cannot eat.
    Some cannot eat that want it.
    But we hae meat and we can eat,
    Sae let the Lord be thankit.
    They can tak' oour lives, but they cannae tak' oour troousers!
    Last edited by Alien5; Today at 12:51

  3. Lounge   -   #3
    JPaul's Avatar Fat Secret Agent
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    I've been to a few Burns Suppers, it can be a good night.

    The best one was absolutely fan-tastic, the meal was 6 courses.

    As I recall.

    Soup (Cock a Leekie)
    Fish Course
    Haggis Neeps Tatties
    Main Course (steak in whisky sauce and trimmings)
    Pudding (can't member, coz too much drink by that time)
    Cheese and Biscuits.

    Drink till your hearts content.

    It was in a big fancy dan hotel, Mrs JP was an invited guest and I was +1. Great food, free drinkage throughout, top speakers, B&B included.

    Which was nice.
    Last edited by JPaul; 01-25-2006 at 10:27 PM.

  4. Lounge   -   #4
    manker's Avatar effendi
    Join Date
    May 2004
    I wear an Even Steven wit
    Sounds like a top night. JP = Chief blagger.

    Hope all the celebrants have a fansmashtic time tonight
    I plan on beating him to death with his kids. I'll use them as a bludgeon on his face. -

    --Good for them if they survive.

  5. Lounge   -   #5
    JPaul's Avatar Fat Secret Agent
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by manker
    Sounds like a top night. JP = Chief blagger.

    Hope all the celebrants have a fansmashtic time tonight
    It were a few years ago old pulse.

    Hence my use of the passed tents.

    fansmashtic it was, in deed.


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