Robert Burns Day Dinner


Robert Burns is the Scottish poet who wrote, among other things, Auld Lang Syne and is probably the reason why any of us know what Haggis is. All throughout the world, people host Burns Day dinners on or around the Poet’s birth date of January 25th (1759). Wouldn’t you like to be legendary enough in your enjoyment of Scotch and Haggis to have an honor like this one? I certainly would.

Here is the recipe for the Burns Day dinner we held last year:

  • Walnut Oatcakes & Cheese (a good strong cheddar)
  • Whisky Cured Salmon – Okay, this recipe calls for very specific things (like 10-year-old Talisker whisky) that we substituted with less specific things (like the Canadian Club whiskey I keep on hand). You may also find a cooking conversion calculator handy to get things out of “British”. Or just find a salmon recipe from the U.S.
  • Fried Pickles
  • Scotch Eggs
  • “Haggis” – We chose to make a crockpot version then read Burns’ Ode to a Haggis over it to do a sort of sheep stomach transubstantiation thing. I felt a little cheat-y about that – even after reading the recipe’s intro about failed traditional haggis  – until I heard this Vermont Public Radio story that describes how difficult it would have been to get our hands on the correct ingredients.
  • Roasted Root Vegetables
  • Cabbage in Red Wine Sauce
  • Shortbread, Ice Cream & Apples with Scotch Hard Sauce

We also gratuitously included this Robin Williams clip in the invitation that has nothing at all to do with Burns Day except for the Scottish accent.

Personally, I think that in honor of Robert Burns everyone should embrace birthdays as a chance to have people who love us join in cheerfully with all our food eating quirks (my sister insisted on funfetti cake for her birthday which, in our house, was completely against all rules of decency and homemade baked goods). I’m planning my Birthday Food Day dinner already. . . it begins with anchovies on buttered dark bread and it will end with cigars and bourbon . . .following the Angel Food Cake with mango ice cream and frosting on the side. . . and probably a Bruce Springsteen soundtrack.

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