Last weekend I was invited to my first Burns Night party. What fun! What kilts! What delicious food, amazing hosts, and excellent entertainment!
According to Wikipedia, a Burns Night party is an annual celebration in honor of the life of Scottish poet Robert Burns. According to my husband, Mr Kitchen, every party involves at least a few minutes of a kilted Scotsman standing, reciting poetry, followed by lots of toasts and drinking of whiskey.
In other words … my kind of party!
I presume that a small part of Robert Burns’ popularity has to do with the fact that the man was very easy on the eyes–a Ben Affleck of his day.
Actually I think Burns may be more popular for his “Address to a Haggis”, which our host recited (from memory!) to an actual haggis, smuggled in his luggage all the way from Scotland. I will confess to understanding approximately ten of the words he spoke, and reading them later didn’t help much since the poems are written in dialect!
We enjoyed our Haggis with tatties (potatoes) and neeps (turnips). Though perhaps not the easiest on the eyes (everything was brown, and haggis is, well, haggis), everything tasted fantastic. We washed the meal down with a selection of whiskeys, not all of them Scottish. I seem to have developed a taste for Japanese single malts.
After the food, a guest read a rousing toast to the “lassies”, followed by the “lassies” sweetly singing, “Ae Fond Kiss.” At this point I should have had enough whiskey to actually understand the Scottish accents, but it was still hard going!
I’ll end this post with the Selkirk Grace, which usually opens the meal, but I think does just as well ending it. Here’s a chance to try your best Scottish accent:
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit.
Image of Robert Burns and Selkirk Grace from Wikipedia