Members of America’s vibrant Scottish community were rubbing their hands with glee last year when the news broke that haggis, banned in America since 1971, might be back on the menu in time for Burns Night on January 25. For those who don’t know, haggis is a sort of sausage stuffed with spiced oats and sheep’s offal—including the lungs, which is what led to the ban. (The USDA classifies this part of the sheep as unsafe to eat, although no other country seems to have a problem with it.) Sadly, however, these reports appear to have been premature; the USDA has no plans at the moment to lift the ban on this Scottish delicacy.
Which is a shame, because it should be the focal point of Burns Night, the annual celebration of Scotland’s favorite son, the poet Robert Burns. (It’s a close call for that title between him and Sean Connery.) It consists of an evening of feasting, speeches and poetry. A piper plays a traditional song on the bagpipes, as someone brings the haggis into the room. The master of ceremonies then recites Burns’s “Address to the Haggis.” It begins:
- The Dos and Don’ts of Burns Night
- 6 Scottish Recipes for a Burns Night Celebration
- Tips for a Whiskey Pairing Dinner Party
“Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face
Great chieftan o’ the puddin-race!”