That my husband gave me for my 34th birthday, forgiveness for the long delay, as expected, it was gross
My birthday was in May. Who knows why I took so long to eat the Haggis? I ate the Ambrosia. I ate the Spotted Dick. It seems I promised in September that haggis in a can was “coming soon”. Yet still I could not bring myself to open up the can.
At first I was waiting to find a sheep’s stomach to get the full effect but it turns out those aren’t so easy to come by and expensive to boot.
Then I was waiting for Halloween, but I got busy and forgot.
Then I was waiting for New Year’s Eve. See, I figured Burns Day would be good, but it was getting embarrassing putting it off so long, so why not another day when you sing “Auld Lang Syne”?
Only I forgot to buy the turnips.
Then I bought the turnips but as you can see, still I procrastinated. Also, I needed a rutabaga but the only one they had at the store was already as forlorn and wrinkly as these four wasted turnips.
Finally I decided that the perfect moment for haggis would never come, so I would have to have less than ideal haggis.
Wikipedia has this definition of haggis:
There are many recipes, most of which have in common the following ingredients: sheep’s ‘pluck’ (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally boiled in the animal’s stomach for approximately three hours.
The haggis I recieved was made for the American market and contains: Highland beef, hydrated pin oats, water, refined beef suet, liver, spices and onions. According to the BBC only offal-free haggis is available for sale in the States, because of concerns of BSE. So considering it was lung and heart free, why did I hesitate?
Because it’s freaking beefy oatmeal, that’s why. Again, we could go on and examine why I find beefy oatmeal so unpalatable when I’ll eat beef and barley soup or beef tips over rice or a sloppy joe on a wheat bun but frankly I don’t have to answer to anyone. It’s just wrong.
Yummy congealed suet!
Upright tower of beefmeal!
I decided to follow the instructions for preparing it in the microwave, to save washing a pan.
Since the turnips were too far gone, I decided not to make any real potatoes and instead served my haggis with Schwans Potato Krunchies.
And so I took a little bite and gagged. I can’t exactly say what was wrong with it, only that it was peppery and the beef had the texture of canned corned beef and my stomach just didn’t want to accept it. So I moved on to dessert, which was also a birthday gift: Treacle Sponge Pudding.
It’s very similar to the spotted dick pudding I linked earlier in the post in concept, so instead of going the full boiling route this time, I decided to microwave it.
All you do is take it out of the can, invert on to a plate, cover with a microwave safe bowl and nuke for 1.5 minutes and let stand for another 2 or 3.
As dessert it’s pretty homely, compared to haggis in a can, it’s manna sent from above.
And even prettier a la mode. It was pretty tasty for dessert in a can. I’m sure homemade is better but I realised I was rather hungry and ate it with relish.
As I finished my husband starts talking to me about the haggis, asking why I barely touched it and reminded me that it’s very much the same thing as black pudding, which I adore. I realized that eating a new food stuff that I had a psychological aversion to on an empty stomach was probably why I gagged and decided that perhaps the answer would be to shape it into patties and fry it like black pudding.
I wish I’d remembered to take off my wedding ring before shapping it. My goodness is haggis greasy. No fear, it is titanium and impervious to beef grease.
I realized too late that it was awfully loose and I probably should have added an egg or something as a binder.
And even though it looked like dinosaur doodoo, it was much better this time around. I’m not sure if was having something in my stomach or my new way of looking at it or the shaping into patties and frying it like sausage that did the trick, but it was vastly improved. It was, in fact, a lot like black pudding. I think maybe if they called haggis jumbo sized sausage instead of haggis (which is not entirely unrhyming with gag us) people wouldn’t be so biased against it. We’ll eat all kinds of things if it’s called sausage or baloney or hot dogs, won’t we? But haggis? Spam? Souse? These things invoke a revulsion out of all proportion to their ingredients, which most of us will consume happily in other contexts.
Thank you for joining me on my haggis journey. I hope it has been pleasant and educational. Next time, join me for Nutella dunkers!
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