Monday, January 23, 2012

Burns Night 2012

This year's Burns Night came early for us and started, as it must do for most who celebrate, with food preparation. Here's Jonathan peeling the rutabaga, which apparently no one in town eats. The girl at the checkout had to ask what it was to ring it up, then asked how to prepare it and what it tastes like, and I finally had to admit I only eat it once a year myself. She said no one ever buys them, which is a shame because they're really good. But then as much butter and salt and cream as I added, it probably could have been any old root.


The big difference in food from this year to last (besides the blending of the neeps and tatties instead of serving them separately--careful, it's getting wild around here), was the addition of honest-to-goodness lamb heart...in a can.


I was excited about having real haggis in the house until Jonathan opened it and started to cook. It looks like dog food and smells like potted meat. The vegetarian kind is mostly bean and has a good flavor, but it was still so meat-like it turned my stomach. Or maybe the organ smell in the kitchen was to blame. Either way, I think you need a strong constitution to be in the same room with the stuff. Jonathan's summary: "It was good. It reminded me of corned beef hash but with organ meat." So there you have it.

I made sticky toffee pudding again, which was even better than last year because I doubled the caramel topping.


And of course, there was the Selkirk Grace and the whisky...


...and my cutie patootie tartan apron...


...and Harvey licking the floor in hopes of finding a tiny crumb of anything-at-all...


...and Jonathan playing Auld Lang Syne on the piano as I sang along.


But the great Burnsian adventure came today. In what we imagined to be very Scottish weather conditions, we ventured out from the northern suburbs south into the misty cold through a city of fogged skyscrapers, slipped under spaghetti junction in surprisingly light traffic, and turned off into an otherwise unremarkable neighborhood to find the jewel of the Burns Club of Atlanta, "a building unique in the world--the only exact replica of the Robert Burns Cottage near Kirk Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland," (according to the plaque out front).


The place was cold and muddy and deserted, but according to the National Park Service, Wednesday night will see a celebration of Burns and his legacy--a party the Burns Club has been throwing since 1898 (though presumably having their Burns Supper in the replica only since sometime after 1911 when it was completed). The house is closed to visitors, but walking around outside was interesting enough.







My big hope for next year is to have pictures of the original Burns Cottage, but we'll have to wait and see if the future holds that kind of luck. Till then, a little poetry and a little more pudding. Oh--and this, if you're so inclined.

~*~

Ever To Be Near Ye!
by Robert Burns

Ever to be near ye!
Whaur ye bide or whaur ye stray,
To comfort and to cheer ye!
Be your fortune what it may,
Hearken noo and hear ye:
I'd be happy nicht and day
Ever to be near ye!
Happy I'd be nicht and day
Ever to be near ye!

Ever to be near ye!
Neither rocks nor currents rife
Ever need to fear ye
Frae the stress and frae the strife
Couthiely I'll steer ye, --
Thro' the stormy sea o' life,
Ever to be near ye!
Thro' the stormy sea o' life,
Ever to be near ye!

Ever to be near ye!
Good and bonny as ye are,
Wha could nae revere ye?
In your circle or afar
Nane there is to peer ye:
O, for better or for waur,
Ever to be near ye!
O, for better or for waur,
Ever to be near ye!