It’s Robbie Burns Day, which marks very nearly a year since I started this blog. I hadn’t actually been planning to blog this meal, so please excuse the relative lack of pictures, but when I realized it was almost my blogiversary, I took a picture of my plate just before I dug in. Good thing too. Because my impromptu creation in honour of Rabbie Burns turned out truly delicious.
Last year, I made a modern haggis in the slow cooker, eschewing the traditional sheep’s stomach casing as well as the sheep’s heart, lungs, liver and whatever else goes into traditional haggis. This year, however, I decided to take modernizing haggis a step further. I decided to turn it into burgers. Continue reading →
I had proper haggis once. Well, as proper as you can get in Canada, anyway. It was at a Robbie Burns Day celebration in the small town of Ayr, and if I remember correctly, the haggis was from a specialty shop in Hamilton, Ontario. There was an old guy in a kilt who recited “Address to a Haggis” and, at the appropriate moment, stabbed the haggis with a dagger to let the “gushing entrails” spill forth, “warm-reekin, rich!” What little I got was delicious but years later, I don’t remember the details of exactly how it tasted. I have every reason to believe it was stuffed in a sheep’s stomach and the “entrails” involved heart, lungs, kidneys and assorted other parts I prefer not to think too much about.
This is not that kind of haggis.
This haggis was inspired by my friends Dan and Meredith, who had/have a food blog called The Haggis and the Herring, a name that brings together their respective British and Jewish heritages in the sort of cultural mashup I love. Dan, sadly, died suddenly about a year and a half ago, and his brother Abisaac, who runs the blog Gluten Free Edmonton (it’s sheer coincidence that Abisaac’s wife is celiac and that Edmonton is my hometown – I didn’t meet Dan there), posted a slow cooker haggis recipe in memory of Dan on The Haggis and the Herring.
I first heard the term “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” when I was a teenager in Western Canada. It was coined by “Toddish McWong,” a Vancouver student of Chinese descent whose university asked him to help out with their Robbie Burns Day celebrations. Since then, Gung Haggis Fat Choy has, according to McWong himself, “come to represent a celebration of combining cultures in untraditional ways.” And that is what this blog, my family and I are all about.
I’m a Canadian of Japanese descent and my husband is a Canadian of Scottish descent. We now live in England. We have two daughters, aged one and four, and I just went back to working full time after the New Year. Since I started working, I’ve gotten into the habit of doing a ton of cooking on the weekend and freezing some of the output so we can have dinner on the table quickly when I get home after work during the week. Since I love trying different types of international cooking and since I want to teach my older daughter about the world, I had the idea of doing a particular country’s food and tying it in with related educational activities every weekend. Continue reading →