Tonight Scots celebrate Burns Night by eating haggis with neeps (swede) and tatties (potatoes). Nobody knows why Robert Burns wrote ‘Ode to a Haggis’, but in his day a haggis was a common food amongst poor Scottish folk. Haggis was an excellent way of using cheap cuts of meat (offal) mixed with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, salt and mixed with stock. It would be placed in a sheep’s stomach (now an artificial casing is used), which meant it was easy to store and quick to cook. An early example of a ready meal.
Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796) spent most of his life as a poor man, and his ‘Ode to a Haggis’ was a humorous, respectful tribute to a food he was very familiar with. A few years after Burns died, some of his friends held a supper to remember him. They ate haggis, recited his poems and started the traditions that surround Burns Night. Nowadays Burns night is held on Robert Burns’ birthday. Click here if you want to make your own Burns Night.