January 25th marks the annual celebration of Scotland's national poet Robert Burns. Find out about his life and poetry, the Burns supper, and this year’s festivities at this link.
I invited Nancy Lee Badger, author of Scottish themed romance books, to share her experience with Burns Supper.
Celebrating the Birthday of Scottish Poet, Robert Burns
Scots living outside the borders of Scotland, and folks of Scottish descent, are proud of their history. A large segment take the time to attend Highland games and festivals, Tartan day parades, and Robert Burn’s Suppers. All can be found in several countries such as the United States of America, where I live. I have talked about the Scottish games I attend in New Hampshire, North Carolina, and elsewhere. I have dreamed about marching in New York City’s Tartan day Parade, usually held around the 6th of April. Another holiday that dwells on kilts, haggis, and whisky is the celebration called the Robert Burns Supper.
Have you ever heard of the poem Tam O’Shanter, or A Red, Red Rose? Did you ever sing Auld Lang Syne while sipping champagne on New Year’s Eve? No other poet is as well-loved as Robert Burns, who was born in 1759, and no other Scot is celebrated with formal suppers.
Since his birthday is January 25th, the deep winters are a good time to warm up with a delicious dinner and spirits. When we lived in northern New Hampshire, we trekked through the snow and sleet to attend a Robert Burns’ supper put on by a group called the St. Andrew’s Society of New Hampshire. We dressed in our best Highland attire, listened to a speech or two, sipped glasses of single malt scotch, and enjoyed such dishes as:
scotch broth: usually made of barley and lamb
cock-a-leekie soup: leeks cooked with chicken broth
bangers and mash: sausage and mashed potatoes, sometimes served with gravy
neeps and tatties: mashed rutabaga and potatoes
shortbread: a simple sweet, heavy cookies
We all stood as a piper piped the arrival of the chef carrying the haggis, then listened to Burns’ Address to the Haggis.
Generally, Burns’ Selkirk Grace is spoken:
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.
Here is a quick description of haggis: it’s a savory pudding that contains sheep’s pluck, otherwise known as a heart, liver, and lungs. It is ground up with onion, oatmeal, spices and salt, then traditionally encased in the animals’ stomach before baking. In the United States, we do not include the lungs, and it is usually cooked in an artificial casing. To me, it looked and tasted like a nutty, gritty goose paté. The best way to eat it is to smear a dollop on a cracker, followed by a swallow of whisky.
Robert Burns Suppers are fundraisers, and it takes many volunteers to plan the event. Anyone can generally attend for the price of a ticket, and should not be missed.
More About Nancy Lee Badger
After growing up in Huntington, New York, award-winning author Nancy Lee Badger attended College in New Hampshire, married, and raised two sons in a small town in the shadow of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. She is the proud mother of an Army veteran. She moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, the Celtic Heart Romance Writers, and the Triangle Association of Freelancers.
Nancy and her family volunteer each fall at the New Hampshire Highland Games surrounded by…kilts! Contact Nancy Lee Badger here…
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Her latest Release, MEDIEVAL REDEMPTION, is available at AMAZON
When his clan convicts Cameron Robeson of treason in 1598 Scotland, the last thing he thought his cousin the Laird would do was banish him to the future. With a certain woman on his mind, he plans revenge while surrounded by the sights and sounds of the modern day New England Highland Games. His plans go awry when a comely redheaded lass wearing the Mackenzie plaid lands at his feet.
Iona Mackenzie is worried about her friend, Haven, and searches for answers among the tents at the games. Whom can she trust to help? When a magical amulet and an angry sorcerer send this unlikely couple back through time, more than one heart will be broken. Will the strong-willed Highlander and the present day witch stop fighting long enough to listen to their hearts? With a letter in her hand and a Highlander at her back, what could go wrong?
I am giving away a digital copy of MEDIEVAL REDEMPTION to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about BURNS' SUPPER - have you attended one? Would you try any of the dishes Nancy shared? Have you read any of Burns' poetry?
2. Comments are open through Saturday, January 30, 10 pm in Baltimore.
3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, January 31, on SOS Aloha (link).
Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City