Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"They Actually Eat That:" Haggis.

The stereotypical Scotsman looks something like this:

The kids found out the hard way that not all people wearing skirts were women. 

Red hair, bagpipes, lots of plaid, kilts...all that's missing is Nessie, bad poetry, some bashing from the English, and haggis. You know, whatever haggis is.

What is haggis, anyways?

If Cthulhu grew honeydew melons, we are pretty sure that they would look something like haggis. Haggis also comes in sausage form, where it looks...well, just about as pleasant as any other sausage. (Now, you can read into this all you like, but I am not posting a sausage on this blog. You all had your fun with hagfish and lampreys.) Other sausages are just as disgusting in terms of what they look like inside.

It gets worse. You know that sausage is the combination of all the parts of the animal that nobody wants to eat, right? Well, haggis has some disturbingly specific ingredients. As per Wikipedia:

"Haggis is a dish containing sheep's 'pluck' (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally simmered in the animal's stomach for approximately three hours." The version that looks more like a sausage than Hell's melon substitutes "intestine" for "stomach," but that does not make it sound any less like an offering to the eldritch gods. IA SHRUB-NIGGURATH!

They Actually Eat That?! 

Yes, and they love it. Haggis is the national dish of Scotland for a reason: Despite how gross it looks and sounds, it is delicious. This is not like dog in Korea; there are countless stories of "haggis virgins" being converted overnight. Apparently it really is that damn good. (Sorry, I have never been to Scotland, nor do I eat sausage. No offense to any Scots reading this.) Haggis sounds like it is worth a try if sausage is up your alley. If you like turnips and mashed potatoes, so much the better.

Haggis looks slightly less disgusting as mush (like everything else on the plate).

Haggis is so popular that it has its own holiday in Scotland. Part of its fame is due to the poetry of Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet, who wrote Address to a Haggis. If you thought writing to a Grecian urn was stupid, at least the urn was not about to be eaten; regardless of his poetry's premise, the poem was popular enough to warrant a fresh haggis-cutting on Burns' Day (January 25th).

As this video says, haggis was created to use up more of the animal. They went the extra mile to make it taste good as well. The need to use up unpleasant parts of the animal created almost all sausages, as well as the "mystery meat" that used to go into McDonald's chicken nuggets. People eat what's around them and tend to make the most of whatever it is. That said, haggis has an undeserved reputation for being gross. Just wait until you see what's in a hot dog; it's just as bad.

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