Monday, January 31, 2005

"Gie her a haggis!"

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' yet tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o'a grace
As lang's my arm.

So we went to the Burns Night party at Rich's co-worker, Keith's, house. There were mostly Scots there (of which I can partly count myself, way back in the heritage on my Dad's side is Scottish, reflected in my last name), with some Brits, a German and his lovely Japanese wife, and a few brave Norwegians. It's actually fairly unusual for Norwegians to hang out with us auslanders, so I was very happy to talk to them and get to know them a bit. There were only three of us Americans. (Good!) None of the men wore kilts, I am sad to say. But it was bloody cold out, so I guess they had an excuse.

I can't say it truly felt any different from a normal party, except there was an awful lot of single malt Scotch around and we ate haggis. Yep, I have now eaten haggis. It wasn't bad. I expected a horrid bloody bag of gore, to be honest. Something red and bloated and kind of slippery looking. But no, it was not in its sausage form, it was just in little chopped up innocuous bits on a platter. Harmless. Non threatening. It was kind of savory, with the texture of mincemeat, I suppose. Yummy. They said that traditionally it is eaten with a bit of scotch poured over it, so I tried that and did not like it.

(My confession? I don't like Scotch. If I drink whisky I prefer Irish whiskey. I tried making an "Irish coffee" using Scotch and it tasted, as Rich rather eloquently pointed out, as though I "had melted a Band Aid in my coffee". Yeah, Scotch is a taste I don't think I wil lever acquire.)

We were supposed to "address the haggis", which we kind of did. Well, Keith had a print out of the poem and a few people attempted to read it in the Scots language which it required. It's harder than it seems. The one who did it best was a Norwegian! We were also, by tradition, supposed to have a bag piper play while the chef carried in the haggis high on a platter, but that did not happen either. I was ok with that.

All in all we had a good time. Some of the parents brought their kids, three little girls, who livened things up a bit by playing a game where they would run up and smack me on the ass, giggle and run off. (Don't ask, I don't know why either.) We listened to traditional Scottish music, like, you know, the Bay City Rollers.

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