January 25, 2009

Burns Night 250 Preview: Neeps, Tatties, Vegan Haggis

We're throwing our annual Robert Burns Night supper, this year in Lake Tahoe. We spent the afternoon snowshoeing from in fresh powder. Burns was born in 1759, so this Robert Burns Day marks his 250th birthday. It is also Mr Quill's Birthday! Hoorah!

A full & glitteringly written itinerary for a Burns Night supper is provided by RobertBurns.org, I recommend it. I have several
adapted versions of Burns songs which have developed over the years, including "Gorgeous Borges:" ("Borges was a Gorgeous Boy / Gorgeous Borges, Georgeous Borges..." &c., to the tune of Rantin' Rovin' Robin - - see video below for the original 2004 Burns Night performance), & one of the anthems for the Mimosas Witnesses, "Morning Mimosa", to the tune of "No Churchman am I" aka "Big Belly'd Bottle". We'll work our way thru all the standard poetry (Ode to a Mouse, Tam o'Shanter, et cetera) as well as a few personal favorites, such as Cock up your Beaver:

When first my brave Johnie lad came to this town,
He had a blue bonnet that wanted the crown;
But now he has gotten a hat and a feather,
Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver!

Cock up your beaver, and cock it fu' sprush,
We'll over the border, and gie them a brush;
There's somebody there we'll teach better behaviour,
Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver!

The recipe for vegan haggis I'm using this afternoon is here, it's basically a lentil loaf. Any complaints about not using proper haggis can be sent to the governor's office in Alaska: veggie haggis has a long & rich tradition in Scotland, & it's also damned near impossible to procure real haggis in California. Miss Williams & Mrs Eley-Nelson will be in charge of the Neeps & Tatties. (I learned, Mr Mary, that what the brits refer to as turnips are in this country called rutabegas, now we know.)

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