Thursday, 27 December 2007

Talking about Scottish - they eat Haggis don't they?

While they might shoot horses elsewhere... in Scotland they eat Haggis.

We were having a discussion on how to make Scotch eggs in my crit group and somehow we swung around to Haggis. If you've ever wondered how it's made then I have it in my current Work in Progress. I'm working on the last chapter and shortly to write THE END. It's set in Scotland because by the time I'd written Sharra I'd all but moved there. It was still totally inside my head and I did not want to leave the highlands, though it's a contemporary comedy.

Here's the excerpt the bold is to help you with clarity only. I really had fun with this recipe, it's just too revolting to be real, although you probably don't mind it if you wear and kilt and dinna means more to you than a meal taken at nighttimes.


"Let’s have some tea,” he said. They were back in the kitchen.

“Don’t you ever have coffee?” She sat on the kitchen table, swinging the riding boots.

“Don’t you ever sit on a chair?"

"I thought you liked me sitting on the table. It brought out the best in your imagination last night. I’d love a coffee."

"Of course you like coffee. You’re American. Yanks drink coffee don’t they? Sorry. No coffee.”

“At least I’m not in a desert.”

“But lucky for me, I have been into the dessert.”

She grinned. “What are you going to do when the dessert leaves on Thursday?”

“Have a cup of tea.”

“Brits are funny creatures.”

“Yanks are funny creatures. Here let me take off those boots.” He did. Took them out to the scullery. Brought back her the one pair of his shoes that fitted with thick socks. Slipped them on her feet. It was an intimate act.

“What’s Haggis?” she asked.

“It’s what got the Scots their name for thriftiness.” He tied the shoelaces.

“Oh? What’s in it?”

“Well, Daphne, steel ye bonnie wee stomach for this…” he poured hot water into a pot.

“Why do I have a premonition that I’m going to regret asking?”

“You take the sheep’s stomach bag…”

“You mean the stomach?” she squeamished.

“The very one. And soak it overnight.” Two mugs clinked onto the table.

“Just the thought of it makes my head reel.”

“You cook the ‘pluck’.” He grinned with teasing malicious joy while he poured the tea.

“Pluck what? Feathers?”

"No not the feathers. It’s what we term the ‘lights’; the liver and heart and you know… things… And leave the windpipe hanging over the edge so the impurities dribble out into a bowl.”

“Oh no! How revolting” She gripped her mouth in mock shock horror.

“And then you grind mutton, the contents of your ‘pluck’; onions, suet and some toasted oatmeal and salt and pepper.”

Surely he must be exaggerating! “Simply disgusting!”

Milk came out from the ancient green refrigerator. It was normal supermarket milk

“And then you fill the stomach bag with the ‘pluck’! Half way to let it swell up during the cooking of the bag.”

This is just too revolting to be true! “Stop! This is just too revolting to contemplate!”

Milk back into the refrigerator

He was enjoying himself immensely – inkwell eyes teasing glinting taking mental notes as her revulsion grew. “Sew the bag closed and boil till swollen… three to four hours.”

Sugar. Two spoons into each mug.

Yew! It’d be easier to drink urine like Gandhi… “How can you eat this shit?”

“Sure can. Robert Burns wrote an ode to it…”

He stirred the tea. The mugs clanked like twin bells off key, making a sound so welcoming and homely.

“Did he also maybe write an Ode to the Commode?”

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,”

“Sonsie?” She accepted the mug from him.

“Cheerful. Great Chieftain o’ the puddin-race! Aboon them a’ye tak your place,”

“Aboon?” It was hot. She wrapped her grateful fingers around the mug.

“Above. Painch, trip, or thairm.”

She raised her eyebrows. Sipped the tea.

“Paunch.” He banged his stomach. “Guts! Weel are ye wordy of a grace worthy as lang’s my arm.”

“You feed me that and I’m outta here even on foot.”

He put his head close to hers. “Ye pow’rs wha mak mankind your care, and dish them out their bill o’fare, Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware…”

“Skinking?” Skanking? Scots are mad! “You mean skanking?”

“No, dirty minds in the gutter – this is poetry! It means watery.” He laughed. “That jaups in luggies.


“Splashes in porringers,” he laughed again. “But if ye wish her gratfu’ prayer,

Oh how she loved to extract that laugh from him.

He kissed her forehead. “Gie her a haggis!

And the magic kiss out of the blue lingered on her skin like a butterfly…“Was that English?”

“Sure. Since when did you Yanks think you spoke it?”

1 comment:

EJ McKenna said...

Love the punchline :-)