A Burns Night menu consists of certain traditional Scottish recipes. I’ve done all the work for you and put most of them here in one place. Lang may yer lum reek!
What is Burns Night? What is a Burns Supper?
Have you ever heard of Scotland’s National Poet: Robert Burns, also known as Rabbie Burns? He is the reason for the celebration of Burns Night on January 25th (his birthday). It’s an evening of celebration in honor of this famous Scottish writer which includes the piping in of the haggis, poetry readings, whisky drinking and a Scottish supper (dinner).
The piping in of the haggis is a central part of the evening where a piper leads the haggis into the dining room from the kitchen, to begin the recitation of “Address to a Haggis”, by Robert Burns. A Scot usually “addresses the haggis” and then plunges a knife into the haggis during the recital of the famous poem.
What is Haggis?
All this talk about haggis won’t mean anything to you if you’ve never heard of it before.Haggis is not for the faint of heart (no pun intended) as it contains sheep’s heart, liver and lungs. It’s typically prepared and then put into a sheep’s stomach, which gives it its unappealing look. However, if you’re brave enough to give it a try, I bet you’ll find (like many others have) that it’s delicious!
What are Neeps and Tatties?
During a traditional Burns Night Supper, haggis, neeps and tatties (haggis, turnips (UK)/rutabagas (US) and potatoes are served as the main course.
How Does a Burns Night Supper Begin?
Before the meal begins, Selkirk Grace (which Burns either wrote or is attributed to him) is recited:
Some hae meat, and cannae eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
but we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.
My unprofessional translation:
Some have meat and cannot eat,
And some would eat that want it,
but we have meat and we can eat
So let the Lord be thanked.
What Happens After Grace?
The starter is served, then the haggis is carried in on a tray following a piper who “pipes in the haggis”. The host recites Address to a Haggis, which includes cutting into the haggis with a theatrical air, and everyone gives a toast to the haggis. The main meal is then served, followed by dessert which you can read about below.
What do you eat on Burns Night?
Typically, Cullen Skink (smoked haddock chowder) or Cock-a-Leekie (chicken, leek and rice) soup is served to start the meal. This is followed by haggis, neeps and tatties or roast beef. The dessert is most likely to be Cranachan, a raspberry, oat, cream and whisky concoction, or Typsy Laird, a boozy Scottish trifle. The meal may end with a cheese course, naturally, serving Scottish cheese.
End of the Burns Night Supper
There are other traditional parts of the evening, including a toast to the lassies and more, but at the end of the night, the event closes with everyone singing Auld Lang Syne.
What is on a Traditional Burns Night Menu?
Dessert for a Burns Night Menu
– Dunlop or Scottish Cheddar served with Oatcakes
– Shortbread and Whisky
I hope you enjoyed this post! If you’d like to get a “firsthand” look at a Burns Supper, follow me on Instagram where I’ll be posting from Altadena, California at the St. Andrew’s Society of Los Angeles event on January 26th. There are still some tickets left if you’d like to go, too.
My friend Janice has an Ultimate Burns Night post which is lovely, too!
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