Monday, July 22, 2013

haggis, the horrible

One of my favorite comics strips is the one started by the late Dik Browne in 1973, titled Hagar the Horrible. After his death in 1988, his son Chris continued with the strip under his own name. The strip has done well over the years, and now appears in 1900 newspapers in 58 countries (including Norway) and has been translated into 13 languages.

The strip below was printed fairly recently. By no small coincidence, it happens to be related to “the topic of the week”.

If you’ve done any research on the ancient Vikings, you’ll discover that they enjoyed a healthy diet.To a very large degree, the food that they ate wasn’t markedly different from what we eat today, except for the fact that they occasionally ate horsemeat, and just about everybody drank ale (or mead) instead of water.

The ancient Scots, though, were a “horse of a different color”, and some of their favorite dishes will definitely give you pause.

One of those dishes is something called haggis, which was first consumed in the early 15th century . It’s now considered the national dish of Scotland, and it’s normally served with potatoes and a wee dram of scotch whiskey.

When you read what’s in it, you’ll probably say, “ yer aff yer heid”, which is translated as, “you’re crazy!”. I reviewed a couple of recipes online, and found them to be very similar. Here’s the basics:

You start with a thoroughly rinsed sheep’s stomach. To that, you’ll add a sheep’s liver, a sheep’s heart, a sheep’s tongue, onions, oats, salt, pepper, and spices. After cooking all the ingredients together for about 3 hours, it’s ready to eat!

Until this past weekend, I had never eaten any, simply because it didn’t sound all that appealing. However, since the Celtic Fest was in town again on July 20 and 21, I decided to try it, if only to say that I had done so. Naturally, I ordered a wee dram of scotch to go with it, and (so far) haven’t suffered any ill effects.

If you can envision eating meatloaf that tastes a bit like liver, you’ll have a pretty good idea what it was like.

Would I eat it again? I’m not saying that I wouldn’t, but I’ll also admit to the fact that it took me a long time to work up to calamari, which is actually a pretty good dish, even if it IS fried squid.

Naturally, there's a song about haggis, which I WOULD recommend listening to:

the haggis song

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