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Haggis is the poster child of Scottish cooking, held up by proud Scotsmen (or at least, by Burns enthusiasts) as the pinnacle of Scottish cooking, and by the rest of the world as a good reason not to eat Scottish food.

In my opinion, haggis is, in fact, the king of Scottish foods. He holds a ceremonial position above the rest, and is called forth upon important occasions with great pomp and ceremony. And he is delicious.*

Like real kings, though, the Haggis is not trotted out for everyday functions. The prime minister–fried haddock and chips–appears on a more regular basis. Scottish shortbread, like a first lady, appears for tea now and then, if the occasion calls for something rich. Whisky fudge is trotted out as a sweatmeat on special occasions, when we don’t mind it staying up past its royal bedtime.

Yes, after a perusal of traditional and modern haggis recipes, I am now convinced that the cooking of a haggis is not to be undertaken lightly. As I rather doubt many of my readers would consider eating a haggis even without knowing its exact contents, I see no need to go into the ingredients now. Suffice it to say, I doubt I would be able to procure several of them without a special trip to the butcher shop, and then it has to be boiled for at least two hours, and that’s after the meat has been boiled once and ground/grated.

No, the ‘Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race’** will be trotted out only for ceremonial occasions, and only by someone else. It’s too much work for two people!

* The neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes), the Haggis’s traditional bodyguards, could use some sprucing up, though; the delicious spiciness of the haggis just barely compensates for the deadly dull duo of starchy root vegetables. Historically, they made sense; root vegetables were the only ones you had left by the end of the winter. I’m not so worried with historical accuracy as to be completely blind to taste or nutrition, though. Left to my own devices, I would update one or the other with a green vegetable. (I actually did once, toward the end of our honeymoon. Such a look I got from the serving girl! She was incredulous. I got my mixed vegetables, though. It was a great improvement. But never tell a Scotsman I said so.) 

** From Address to a Haggis by Robert Burns

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