January 25th was the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet. My husband is Scottish (from Scotland) and for many years, we have toyed with the idea of having a traditional Burns Night Supper. But we usually forget to plan for this until it is too late, or miss the date altogether. Last year, we managed to remember the date, but were completely unsuccessful at hunting down a haggis, the traditional main dish which plays an important part of the festivities. Janet @ Adventures in Ethics and Science made a lovely, non-haggis meal that I could definitely imagine being served in Scotland, but I'm not that creative, so last year we just read poems to each other, and hubby and I toasted with some Scotch whiskey.
But this year, we were really on the ball, and as Rabbie's big day approached, we had everything in place for the celebration. Hubby actually deserves the credit for this - at Christmastime he found a shop that imports all sorts of stuff from the UK and came home with a box full of Cadbury chocolates, Licorice Allsorts and other goodies that he loved to have at Christmas when he was a child. Also in the box was a Christmas Pudding and four haggis!
So we had a (relatively) proper Burns Night Supper last weekend. Hubby dressed up in his kilt, and though he skipped the formal Prince Charlie Jacket, he looked damn fine! Thing 1 wore her kilt as well, and she looked just beautiful! Thing 2 is in full-on "I'm a Princess" mode, so we convinced her to be a Scottish princess for the evening - she wore her tartan Christmas dress with her tiara. I wore a little black dress. Sorry, no pictures, but just trust me - we looked good! We served our guests cheese with oatcakes, some other appetizers and, of course, whiskey while I finished preparing the dinner.
The dinner went over amazingly well! We served haggis, mashed neeps (mashed turnips), tatties (mashed potatoes), and this really nice cabbage dish with bacon and sour cream (not traditionally Scottish, but it went well with the rest) and doused it all with a whiskey, mushroom and mustard cream sauce. YUM! Hubby read the "Address to a Haggis", and, with much drama, slit open the haggis with his sgian dubh, and everyone cheered (though I doubt they really understood much what was going on, what with the accent and dialect). Then he handed the knife to Thing 1, who slit open the second haggis. At some point, Thing 2 started chanting, "Kill the haggis!" and our guests joined in. Only one guest declined the haggis; everyone else tried it and several people had seconds. We finished off the dinner with a rich and delicious chocolate bread pudding.
We drank many toasts, and tossed about a fair bit of poetry. Thing 2 went off to bed prety early, but Thing 1 helped her dad read "To a Mouse" before she retired (they found a website that "translates" the poems into more standard English, but I'm not finding it right now). I read "A Man's a Man, For A' That" substituting in "Aw dat", since my brogue is, well, nonexistent. Then we drank some more toasts. A jolly good time was had by all. The only thing I would have liked to add to the evening is a ceilidh, but we have a pretty small apartment, and none of us play the right intruments.