in spite of this tradition of Scottishness, there are many - noted
food writer Clarissa Dickson Wright included - who think haggis
has Scandinavian origin and linguistically there is some evidence
(the hag part is certainly Scandinavian). She feels its emergence
into Scotland may have come over the North Sea with the raiding
voyages of the Norsemen. See her book The
Haggis - A Little History for more fascinating haggis lore.
whatever its origins, the humble haggis was merely a staple part
of a Scotsman's diet until Rabbie Burns celebrated it in mock heroic
verse and Meg Dods gave it a starring role in The Cook's and Housewife's
Manual in 1826.
Dods was the landlady of the Cleikum Inn near Peebles which hosted
the gatherings of the Cleikum Club. The aim of the club, which counted
Sir Walter Scott among its members, was to celebrate our National
Literature. They certainly were among the first organisations to
celebrate a Burns' Night.
of course, Burns fans the world over commemorate the Bard's birthday
with their own dinners. And one thing that has stood the test of
time and still plays its central part is the haggis.
many people bypass the determination needed to create the dish at
home and head for the ready-made variety.
of local butchers make their own special recipes but to many Scots
the world over haggis means Macsween of Edinburgh. This family firm
have taken haggis-making to new heights - along the way making a
52lb giant, a highly successful vegetarian version and conquering
top food halls like Harrods and Fortnum & Mason.
can take a look behind the scenes
at Macsween with our special feature..