Robert Burns, poet, farmer and philosopher. (25th Jan. 1759 – 21st July 1796)
A Burns Supper is a celebration of the life and poetry of Robert Burns. Burns suppers are normally held on or near the poet’s birthday of 25th January and are often referred as Burns Nights.
For a starter, you may consider a home-made Scots broth or cock-a-leekie soup.
And then the centrepiece of any good Burns Supper menu, the iconic haggis! (Or as the bard himself described it, the ‘great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race’)
Traditional accompaniments to the haggis are neeps and tatties or as they are more commonly known swede! (turnips are fed only to pigs!) and potatoes. These are normally served mashed and well peppered.
The haggis is most often bought already cooked and just needs a good re-heating.
Finally, to round off your Burns Supper menu, you may consider a traditional Clootie Dumpling or a cranachan.
Whisky is the usual choice of slurp at Burns Suppers, either malts or blends. Contrary to popular belief, adding a little water to your malt should improve rather than dilute the flavour, although some whisky drinkers may not take kindly to watering down their drams! Should you seriously consider hosting a Burns Night at home, (and you have no living Scots relatives, particularly of the plaid wearing, Sassenach hating variety who may leap out from behind a curtain and massacre your guests with his/her mashie niblick for chronic heathenism) then literally anything goes! But it is definitely recommended that you wear at least a little bit of tartan! Whether it be a tartan hat, a tartan tie, or the full kilt get up, it’s entirely up to you! To be honest, once the whiskey begins to kick in nobody is going to give a stuff anyway so just go for it!
But if you don’t actually, really like whisky, and are prepared to weather the withering glares of the more traditionalist Scots relatives and other more dubious hangers-on, then robust red wines make a reasonably good alternative! For those who prefer a soft drink then perhaps Irn Bru, being Scotland’s ‘other national drink’ could be a feasible alternative!!!
The proper Scots Toast is Slainte Mhath! (Good Health) to which the correct response is Slainte Mhor! (Great Health).