I think most Scottish cuisine is based on a dare

So I ate a traditional Scottish meal on Friday, complete with haggis, neeps, and tatties. Also, I had no idea that what the British call a "swede" is the same thing as an American rutabaga. Not that I eat rutabagas, but I know my grandmother does at one of those cafeteria-type places that elderly Southerners are so fond of. Also it turns out that when UK people talk about coriander, they actually mean cilantro. Who even knew?

Landlady J made the meal with the haggis she bought during her recent trip to Scotland and invited me to have some. I figured this was probably one of those essential cultural experiences, so I gave it a go and was pleasantly surprised. Of course, when she was taking it out of the plastic "sheepskin" bag it looked like a big fat turd on a plate, but that's what no-bake cookies look like too, and I love me some no-bakes.

The haggis smelled surprisingly great while cooking, also I was quite hungry. And Landlady J was smart enough to make an entire shedload of vegetables just in case the haggis turned out to be rubbish--she swore it had a "tinned smell" when she took it out. I don't know what a tinned smell smells like, but she's the haggis cook and I'm not.

So anyway, yes. The haggis was pretty good. And I wasn't too grossed out by what was in it, because really, any time we eat preformed chicken nuggets or cheap hamburger patties (or, ahem, Asda sausage rolls) we're probably getting much, much, worse. Turns out you might as well eat the bottom of your shoe after smearing it with animal guts. Of course, I just ate sheep lungs, so what do I know? I'll just go from the words of Jamie Oliver here, edited for the young and pure:

Those ******* horrible burgers, reconstituted, mechanically reclaimed sacks of old **** pressed into shapes of drumsticks and fish. I wouldn't ******* feed that to my dog! I mean, I would feed it to my dog, but I wouldn't feed it to my mate, my children.

I would have expected that from Gordon Ramsey, but I didn't know cute li'l Jamie had such a mouth on him. Well said, though, Jamie. Well said.

The haggis was not like that. The haggis & vegetables were nice and quite filling and then we had a good light puddingy thing afterwords and I staggered upstairs to sleep it off and to go dream about Mel Gibson in Braveheart.


Ciarán said... [reply]

I saw David Tennant (the new Dr. Who) and his Dad on "Ready, Steady, Cook" a few weeks ago & it was almost all Scots dishes. No haggis, but there were some other things that they gushed about that sounded more like they'd violate the Geneva Convention if fed to POWs. At least they didn't deep-fry any Mars bars, I guess.

That said, I watched the Ant & Dec "Alien Autopsy" special & the Geordie lads take a private jet to the premiere of the film in Newcastle. Some of the stuff (pork pies, etc.) Ant was eating on the plane ('cause "It's ALL FREE!") looked positively revolting as well.

What ever happened to good old bland, overcooked English cuisine?

kristen said... [reply]

Um, am I seeing double or are there two of the same post?

Everytime I hear the word haggis, I think of that great sort-of-scottish movie "So I Married an Ax Murderer" Classic. (Hede! Pants! Now!)

The McCulloch Family said... [reply]

You should've defined haggis on the blog.I think it would've made it more interesting. I had no idea it was so disgusting looking. But the nobake cookies were a good point. Only when you look at those cookies you can pick out all the individual ingredients. You can't really do that with Haggis.

Cicada said... [reply]

I'm impressed! I think that haggis is one of those things that I would never give a chance to. But now, under your inspiration, maybe I would. I can also say that safely because I don't think that the opportunity will present itself. Phew!

Nemesis said... [reply]

Hi Ciaran--yes, I agree that pork pies are nasty. Only I think I would be all OVER a deep-fried Snickers bar if one was ever offered to me.

Yeah, Kristen. There are two. Sort of. There shouldn't be, though. Blogger is just being stupid to me. Also, that movie is where my headline comes from!

Jen, would you please make me some nobakes? I'm really going into withdrawal. Also is that recipe the same as yours?

Hah! This is because I am adventurous, Cicada. Except for the parts where I'm not. But still. Now I finally have something on you!

Rachel said... [reply]

An excellent time to bust out the "So I Married an Axe Murderer" quotes. Fantastic.

I can't believe you ate the haggis. I'll be headed your way in a couple of weeks and I have NO intentions of dining on local cuisine. My first item on the agenda is to locate every McDonald's, KFC, and Pizza Hut within a 10-mile radius. :D

Th. said... [reply]


Thank you, Rachel. I couldn't place it.

JB said... [reply]

Wow. You ate haggis and actually liked it? I agree with Cicada that it's something I probably wouldn't have tried before but, because an American whose opinions I have a good deal of respect for liked it, I might try it. Especially if it didn't smell nasty. Way to be open-mindend, Nem.

JB said... [reply]

Okay, so thanks to this post I decided I'd try haggis the other day (at the Scottish Games). It wasn't bad. It was street-vendor-ish, but it was still kind of a fun flavor. :)

Mary said... [reply]

In Chicago, I used to work at this Scottish Pub called the Earl of Loch Ness (now closed unfortunately). We used to hold All-You-Can-Eat-Haggis on Tuesday nights. We had a few regulars. It really is not bad eatin'!

What was strange is that most of the Haggis fans originally hailed from Cuba, which is a thing I would not have thought.

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