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The Flyting 8 August 2009

Posted by The Inimitable M in Culture, Society, Religion, Diplomacy.

HaggisNPR 3 Aug 2009

Food historian Catherine Brown’s claim that the most Scottish of dishes, haggis, originated in England has prompted consternation from Aberdeen to Inverness. But former world champion haggis maker Robert Patrick is having none of it.

“As simple as apple pie is American … haggis is Scottish,” he tells Melissa Block. “End of story.”

Haggis, a mixture of sheep innards — heart, liver and lungs — mixed with oatmeal, fat and spices, and cooked, ideally, in a sheep’s stomach, is so much a part of Scottish tradition that the poet Robert Burns wrote an Address to a Haggis in 1786.

Brown, who is herself a Scot, says she has found a reference to haggis in an English cooking guide from 1615, predating any Scottish reference by more than a century.

“So she claims, anyway,” says a skeptical Patrick, who won the haggis-making world championship in 2004 and was runner-up in 2007. “As we all know, Scots are a well-traveled nation. A lot of phrases in America come from Scottish origins. So it could quite easily be that somebody’s been down there [to England] with their cookbook and dropped it.”

Mr. Patrick is not the only one having none of it. 

Clearly Ms. Brown’s literary research has been confined to cookbooks and recipes throughout her life.  It’s a wonder she has  made it through as any sort of legitimate historian, except I ken she received her education at some English school.  Of course, at an English school, she would have learned absolutely nothing about the literature or traditions of Scotland, itself.  I’d say she was an idiot, but that’s not quite true.  She is, however, an ignorant and arrogant sassenach, no matter her claim to being a Scot.

In refuting Ms. Brown’s claim that The Haggis is English, I point out reference to it in The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedie, which was written prior to William Dunbar’s death in 1520.  This predates her claim to the 1615 reference found in England by yet another century. 

Read the entire flyting and then take issue with me, Ms. Brown.  I bloody dare you.

As I read the comments to the aforementioned NPR article as presented on Facebook, I noticed the closed minds of most of them, not to mention their command of the English language (and they were Americans!).  What a bunch of idiots.  Out of the 200+ comments I read, not a one of them took issue – and provided evidence – that Ms. Brown was incorrect…except me.

I noticed, in fact, that one of them whinged and moaned about the kilt having been created by an Englishman.  Excuse me, dolt extraordinaire, but that was simply the modern kilt.  The Great Kilt  goes back many more centuries than that, and was created by the Scots as a reasonable and practical use of material for more than just clothing in the highlands in particular.  

I really despise the stupid Scottish-Americans (many generations out) who think that all there is to their heritage is castles, the modern kilt, single malt and the annual tradition of “The Haggis”.  I have never joined any sort of “Scottish-American” society for this very reason.  What a bunch of loons.  There is much more to Scotland’s heritage than such prideful material trappings.  You are not a true Scot in any sense of the word if you do not know more than this.

And you embarrass me.



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