on January 28, 2011 in Scotland with 18 comments by

Let me go ahead and relieve your troubled minds- I survived it.

But also let me go ahead and warn you- the following pictures are graphic.

Oh yeah, Americans. There she is. You don’t know what haggis is, you say? Well, I’m just gonna let you read up on the Wikipedia page for haggis. Cause there are some things that I just can’t type.

I had already warned James [the chef extraordinaire] about you people and your need for photographs, so he was not ruffled as I walked through his kitchen and took pictures around his masterpieces.

I did manage to take a picture the exact moment that James stabbed the haggis. *shudder* It still makes me feel weird, the whole thing. But the team loved it. There was lots of cheers and laughter and one small whimper. [No need to identify the source of that whimper. Ahem.]

So here’s my plate starting at the fork and going clockwise – tatties [mashed potatoes], haggis [mashed other things], minced meat [ground beef], and neeps [yeah, I don’t know- looks like sweet potatoes, tastes like cauliflower? I think it is a turnip or something]. And a tall glass of IRN BRU.

And here I am, living without fear, having my first bite of haggis…

And you know what? It was not bad at all. I mean, a certain friend of mine [who I am SUPER close to outing on this one but I won’t] said that haggis tasted like cat food, so it was mind over matter those first few bites. But then it was really pretty good.

And the tatties. Good gracious. I told James he cooked potatoes like my grandmother. In fact, I think I said, “You cook like an old southern woman…. which is a total compliment.”

I saw the concern on his face. That’s why I said that last part.

Then I did this….

While James made this….

And I said, “Leisa, how is your dessert and by the way, what is this beautiful work of culinary art that we are holding?” [I felt very enthusiastic about the dessert because see, it wasn’t haggis.]

It’s called Cranachan. It’s way good. Like, probably really bad for you good. Here is the recipe.

Raspberries? Honey? DOUBLE whipped cream? Toasted oats and a splash of whiskey?

I’m not mad about that. Not mad about that at all.

So I did what any red-blooded American would do.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the night I ate a Burns Supper in Edinburgh.

[Curtsy, exit stage left.] [See y’all Monday.]


  1. posted on Jan 28, 2011 at 7:00 AM  |  reply

    What a trooper. It doesn’t look very appetizing. Have you never tried the southern delicasy of hogshead cheese? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hogshead_cheese
    Put that on your bucket list when you get home. (For the record, I’ve never tried it, but I have tried fried chitlins. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chitlins – notice the food safety caution.
    Horrible stuff.)

  2. Merideth
    posted on Jan 28, 2011 at 7:29 AM  |  reply

    Thanks for the description of what was on your plate, Annie. I appreciate it! I have to ask, though. What is IRN BRU? Is that a beer of some kind over there, or soda, or what?
    That dessert sounds really good. May have to check that out(if my computer would ever decide to let me click on the link. I love my computer, but sometimes it drives me nuts.).
    So glad you are having such a great time over there. And, hey did you get the potato recipe from James?

  3. Face
    posted on Jan 28, 2011 at 8:03 AM  |  reply

    We’re actually going to a Burns night party tomorrow, and from what I’m told there will be the same cheering & laughing & SALUTING(?) when the haggis is presented.
    There will also be a lot of whiskey.
    Stay tuned.

  4. posted on Jan 28, 2011 at 11:34 AM  |  reply

    I’m glad you survived it! Thanks for the pictures. Oh, what did you think of the IRN BRU?

  5. posted on Jan 28, 2011 at 11:55 AM  |  reply

    I clicked on the haggis link…oh, Annie you are sooo brave.

  6. posted on Jan 28, 2011 at 12:55 PM  |  reply

    LOVE it! I love food and am willing to try almost anything. I am pretty excited about trying haggis now…Well, sometime when I get across the pond. 😉

  7. posted on Jan 28, 2011 at 12:58 PM  |  reply

    I love that you were able to experience a Burns Supper while you’re in Scotland. Aren’t they fun? My husband and I attended one here in Chicago just last weekend and had a blast eating the Americanized haggis, honoring our favorite bard, and dancing during the ceilidh.

    Oh, I’m wondering along with Calista what you thought of the Irn Bru.

    You’re making me miss Scotland!

  8. posted on Jan 28, 2011 at 1:06 PM  |  reply

    well that is super duper interesting. i mean, i did not know there was a day dedicated to having a dinner memorializing a dead poet.

    or that haggis was so…haggisy.

    :S you are a braver soul than me! glad you enjoyed yourself 🙂

  9. posted on Jan 28, 2011 at 2:02 PM  |  reply

    I am sorry, but V.O.M.I.T!!!

    When we felt called to move to the Middle East the first thing I did was start looking up what kind of food they ate in our city. Praise the Lord it is really good.

    I am a big baby when it come to eating nasty stuff! No way. No how.

    Hats off to you, Annie! You are a better woman than me!

  10. Son
    posted on Jan 28, 2011 at 2:46 PM  |  reply

    Um…seriously…I admire you Annie Downs.

  11. posted on Jan 28, 2011 at 2:51 PM  |  reply

    You, Annie Downs, are THE most bravest women ever. 🙂

  12. posted on Jan 28, 2011 at 7:44 PM  |  reply

    Yay! Glad it was better than expected. Reminds me of the time I tried blood sausage in Ireland.

  13. posted on Jan 28, 2011 at 7:52 PM  |  reply

    I found haggis to taste a lot like Pennsylvania Dutch scrapple. It was pretty good actually. Enjoy Scotland!!

  14. Hannah Stevenson
    posted on Jan 30, 2011 at 12:32 AM  |  reply

    Oh annie. that first picture. Barf. But I was so proud you ate the whole thing. also. I wish I was in Ireland with you so bad.

  15. cameron conant
    posted on Jan 30, 2011 at 10:55 PM  |  reply


    Glad to find you in Edinburgh – it’s a wonderful city. I recently accepted a place in the University of Edinburgh’s Creative Writing program. I will be moving there in August, which is to say you will have a Nashville friend / acquaintance there if you stay. Wishing you the best and happy to see all is well (and will continue to be well, in all manner of being well).


  16. Kim
    posted on Jan 31, 2011 at 12:16 AM  |  reply

    I think I’m starting to realize just how American I am when it comes to food. That’s one wild dish! Sounds like you’re having fun in Scotland. 🙂

  17. posted on Jan 31, 2011 at 7:47 PM  |  reply

    It looks so bad….but I hear that it’s real good.

    I may have to try it now.

  18. posted on Feb 01, 2011 at 3:04 AM  |  reply

    Oh, so proud of you for making this, and tasting this. Although our Cairn Terrior’s name is “Haggis” (that was his papered name when we bought him), none of us in my famiy have tried this delicious dish … yet! 🙂

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