In celebration of Burns night, here’s a wee list of things you may or may not know about its traditional centrepiece…
The earliest known version of haggis dates back to around 1430 and came from – ahem – England. Swiftly moving on…
In all honestly, it’d be easier to name the bits of sheep that aren’t in haggis – pretty much everything is used apart from bone and muscle. If you want the offal truth, haggis includes hearts, kidneys, lungs, livers, windpipes and worse – you name it. Even suet (the hard, white fat around the kidneys and loins) is in there. Thank God they came up with an alias.
The English will tell you that haggis should be served with turnips, mashed potatoes and a glass of whisky, while the Scots will argue that it should be partnered with neeps and tatties, thank you very much. And a dram of whisky (whay!)
Haggis hurling. This, erm, sport, began in 1977 as a practical joke, and has since become a very competitive arena for, erm, serious athletes. The current world record stands at 217 feet. This hefty hurl by 19-year-old Lorne Court broke the previous long-standing record of 180 feet and 10 inches in 2011.
No, I never thought I would see those two words in the same sentence, either. Apparently, many Scots believe in the haggis as a species in itself; a wild and endangered Highland inhabitant, wonkily winding its way through malt whisky rivers, mating on November 30th and giving birth to ‘hagglets’ on Burns Night. There’s even scientific proof. Fancy that!
The largest haggis known to mankind was created by the Mauchline Burns Club in Mauchline, Scotland in 2009. Tipping the (industrial-sized) scales at over 88 stone and with an impressive six-foot circumference, it measured seven feet in length, three feet in width, and just under two feet in height. Woah. I imagine they’re still working their way through that one at some poor unfortunate dinner table…