Saturday, January 26, 2008

Rabbie Burns' Birthday, just a day late

Mark 9:35 
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, 
"If anyone wants to be first, 
he must be the very last, and the servant of all."

"Burns Night is celebrated on 25 January with Burns suppers around the world. The format of Burns suppers has not changed since Robert's death in 1796. The basic format starts with a general welcome and announcements followed with the Selkirk Grace. Just post the grace comes the piping and cutting of the Haggis, where Robert's famous Address To a Haggis is read, and the haggis is cut open. The event usually allows for people to start eating just after the haggis is presented. This is when the reading called the "immortal memory", an overview of Robert's life and work is given; the event usually concludes with the singing of Auld Lang Syne."

I was so tired on Robbie Burns' birthday that I just couldn't have the event on the correct day. Now I usually like to have an event on the correct day, but I am not a fanatic about such things. We had just as much fun on the next day. It was quite up in the air for a while as to who was coming to dinner. It turned out that Sarah and Zac couldn't come because Zac was rather sick. But in the end we had 14 of us for dinner: Riley and I, Ken and Marilyn, Annie and Corey and Tia, Heidi and Christopher, Christian and Emily, and Jessie and Carissa and Lauren. That made 9 adults and 5 children.

Burns Night Supper


cock-a-leekie soup (chicken, leeks (greens and all), potatoes, carrots, broth, seasonings)
Yorkshire pudding (made in little muffin pans)

haggis (I buy it at the Scottish Shoppe)
bashed neeps (mashed parsnips with butter and brown sugar)
champit tatties (tashed potatoes)
pot roast (cooked with a package of onion soup mix, 325 for 2 1/2 hrs)
pot roast gravy (just add water and flour to the remaining liquid)
green peas (frozen, cooked in the microwave)

Atholl Brose Syllabub (1 cup heavy cream whipped with 1/4+ cup Atholl Borse and 2 Tbls sugar)
carmelized oats to sprinkle onto the syllabub (toast oats in hot pan with brown sugar and butter until nice and toasty)
Vanilla Pound Cake with whipped cream
Vanilla Pound Cake with dried cherries and Atholl Brose syrup
Atholl Brose

Ken and Marilyn showed up at about five and Marilyn began to help. Then came Annie and Tia to help. Followed by the Brady bunch - Heidi, Christopher, Christian, Emily, Jessie, Carissa, and Lauren. And finally, just before time for dinner Corey came home from work. Carrisa and Lauren were a bit distressed that they did not have any plaid on and asked if I could find something for them. Which I did. I gave Carrisa a lovely 1950s outfit that had been Sarah's - pleated gingham skirt, white peter pan collar uniform blouse and a green cardigan. And for Lauren I found a pink and black plaid shirt that I had made for Corey when she was seven.

With everyone there, and the table set i just needed to get the Yorkshire puddings made. They don't taste nearly as good when they are cold. I must confess that I used a mix that I got on sale at Williams/Sonoma. We dished up the cock-a-leekie soup in the kitchen and placed the soup plates on the dinner plates.  You can see that the Christmas tree is still up.  We never take it down before Rabbie Burns Dinner, its such a festive thing.  We've been known to still have it up by Valentines day.  But I can assure you that if it looks like it could catch on fire we take it down.  The fake tree in the living room is still up, as are the stockings, which still have stuff in them.  The kids like to know they still have their own personal treats hanging about when they come over.

With everyone gathered Riley recited the Selkirk Grace and then he restated it so that the children could understand, and then the dinner began. The cock-a-leekie soup was a big hit as usual Annie had done an excellent job compiling it.

Selkirk Grace

Some hae meat and canna eat, 
And some wad eat that want it; 
But we hae meat, and we can eat, 
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

The soup was cleared away and I went to the kitchen to get the main course ready. I asked who would like to be 'Pussy Nancy' and Carrisa was very quick to raise her hand. She was the perfect choice, being the oldest female child at dinner. She was instructed to march slowly around the table 1 1/2 times when the bagpipe music started playing, and then to place the haggis in front of Riley (Papa to her).

With the haggis on the table Corey came round to the haggis and delivered the Address to the Haggis. She did an absolutely fantastic job of it. REALLY! It is an amazing talent that she has. The haggis was well liked by all who ate it. And the pot roast gravy went well on everything. We usually have barbecued Chateaubriand with the haggis, but it was entirely tooooo cold to be thinking about barbecuing. Riley would have frozen. Being a Scot I liked the pot roast because it was $1.99 per pound, up against $9.99 per pound for the Chateaubriand that day.

Address To A Haggis
by Robert Burns

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 o' 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 sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony 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 lyke drums;
Then 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 ower 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 mak 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 Translation

Fair is your honest happy face
Great chieftain of the pudding race
Above them all you take your place
Stomach, tripe or guts
Well are you worthy of a grace
As long as my arm

The groaning platter there you fill
Your buttocks like a distant hill
Your skewer would help to repair a mill
In time of need
While through your pores the juices emerge
Like amber beads

His knife having seen hard labour wipes
And cuts you up with great skill
Digging into your gushing insides bright
Like any ditch
And then oh what a glorious sight
Warm steaming, rich 

Then spoon for spoon 
They stretch and strive
Devil take the last man, on they drive
Until all their well swollen bellies
Are bent like drums
Then, the old gent most likely to rift (burp)
Be thanked, mumbles

Is there that over his French Ragout
Or olio that would sicken a pig
Or fricassee would make her vomit
With perfect disgust
Looks down with a sneering scornful opinion
On such a dinner

Poor devil, see him over his trash
As week as a withered rush (reed)
His spindle-shank a good whiplash
His clenched fist.the size of a nut.
Through a bloody flood and battle field to dash
Oh how unfit

But take note of the strong haggis fed Scot
The trembling earth resounds his tread
Clasped in his large fist a blade
He'll make it whistle
And legs and arms and heads he will cut off
Like the tops of thistles

You powers who make mankind your care
And dish them out their meals
Old Scotland wants no watery food
That splashes in dishes
But if you wish her grateful prayer
Give her a haggis! 

After a very leisurely dinner, we cleared things off a bit and I went into the kitchen to get dessert ready. Christopher volunteered to do the oats for me, and I must say he did an excellent job. Carrisa got the cakes on plates and I doused the one with whiskey and cherries with a syrup of Atholl Brose water and sugar which I heated in the microwave. For the whipped cream, I whipped up the pint, removed half, and then whipped in 1/4 cup Atholl Brose. Upon seeing that the whipped cream did an excellent job of accepting the liquor I added some more. It always amazes me how much alcohol you can get into whipped cream. When the desserts were on the table riley poured Atholl Brose for those who wanted some. Actually, some people who didn't want it immediately asked for some upon taking a small sip, When set Riley gave a toast to the lassies. Carrisa said that that made her feel very special. We then commenced to do a very good job of eating a lot of the desserts. The children devoured their cake and cream. And of course more Atholl Brose was poured for those who wanted more. When all was finished, at around 10 o'clock, Heidi said that she hadn't felt that relaxed in a very long time. This was nice to hear.


cookworm said...

I *love* that you celebrate Burns Night, being a huge fan of the man and his musical collections myself. Your menu looks just brilliant.

Judy said...

Thanks for visiting my site. It was interesting to read about you -- I used to live in Portland, I knit and quilt, and I have an acquaintance in Portland who also went to Burns Night. Glad to see you are part of Daring Bakers, and I'm sure you'll still be one in 2009!