Haggis is English?

haggisHaggis, a traditional Scottish dish, is – according to Wikipedia – made of the following ingredients: sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally boiled in the animal’s stomach for about three hours. Today the dish is prepared in a casing rather than an actual stomach.

But BBC just broadcast a shocking news that haggis, in fact, comes from England!

Historian Catherine Brown claimed that she found references to the dish inside a 1615 book called The English Hus-Wife.  She said: “It was popular in England until the middle of the 18th Century. Whatever happened in that period, the English decided they didn’t like it and the Scots decided they did. We had Robert Burns come along who saw in it a very practical dish using up the odds and ends and making something good out of them. Obviously the English turned up their noses at it and ate their roast beef, and the Scots for 350 years have been making it their own.”

But former world champion haggis maker Robert Patrick said the idea haggis originated in England was akin to claims by the Dutch and Chinese to have invented golf.

He added: “Anything that’s to do with Scotland, everybody wants to get a part of it.”

James Macsween, whose Edinburgh-based company makes haggis, said it would remain a Scottish icon whatever its origin. He said even if the haggis was eaten in England long before Burns made it famous, Scotland had done a better job of looking after it.

And he added: “I didn’t hear of Shakespeare writing a poem about it.”

The dispute is not the first over the origins of haggis, which is traditionally made using sheep’s heart, liver and lungs cooked in a sheep’s stomach with oatmeal and onions, and served with neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes). The chef Clarissa Dickson Wright has suggested the dish may have had Scandinavian origins, while other theories have pointed to Homeric antiquity, the Romans and the Norman French.


  1. I thought ‘neeps’ were originally made from swedes (and not today’s parsnips)?

  2. Well, I hope i can stay ‘on topic’ and still get in a bit of auxillary history.
    That the word is English has become quite a controversy around my blogs. Fact is, there turns out to be many ‘English’ versions of ‘English’
    There’s English English, which is from England. I suppose that’s where it got its name. It was probably a toss-up between the words “ENGLISH” and “STICK-UP-THE-BUTT” and being proper folks, they chose Stick-up-the-Butt. however, Queen Victoria (even though she brought the nude to England) interjected and chose “English”
    Good for her.
    There’s also “Canadian English, eh”
    “I speak Canadian English,eh” and rather like it. Even though I’m an American (I don’t know how they seperate the two…We’re both in the same continent. Canadians are Americans, too. North Americans…well. Whatever.)
    Anyway, it’s more like English from the states is called “English, y’all” It used to be called “English stupid” but stupid people started complaing. So, hey use the Souther suffix, and everyone figures it out.
    Then there’s Australian Crikey English. That too has evolved from other sects of English, the earlier being “Bloody English” but, when the Queen visited many many years ago, they shed the “Bloody” and poked in “Crikey” although you may ask Rob (from http://therabexperience.blogspot.com/) for the specifics there. Of course, be careful if you go over as he’s written about that lady who’s pregnant with twelve babies. And that ain’t English so much as it is cruel. Rob, of course, just a fresh father, himself, with one child.

    OK, so, that’s my journey through “English” and what I’ve learned is, the same words sometimes means different things.

    None-the-less, haggis, a dish called Scot, is also called something else from Africa and parts of the Southern USA. Chitlins, I believe.
    It isn’t anymore Scot than my last name (Connell) as at some period of time, most nations went throuigh a drought of food, so, it was important to get as much product from the animal as possible. (just about enough to make a vegetarian out of anybody, if they thought about it long enough)
    Here abouts, hillbillies used to say they cooked everything but the squeal, when they cooked pig.
    (I think I’ll have some of that squeal, please)
    No, really. Different nations did different things when the cupboards got thin. They eat squirrel, possum, racoon, fish, gator, snake, lizard,….wait. SQUIRREL?!? Those cute little beggars that eat nuts and sit around trees looking cute?
    That would be like eating Bambi.
    DEER!? Oh you’re kidding me!
    (not at all)
    Oh well. The thing I’ve come to realize recently is this.
    Tuna and whales live in the ocean peacefully. They don’t bother anybody, they have languages of sorts, and still we eat them
    Us. Humans.
    So basically, I’m thinking we eat animals that are smarter than us!
    (true, maybe…but terrible, eh?)
    (see? There’s some of that Canadian English, now)
    .-= boneman´s last blog ..TOM HANKS and MEG RYAN =-.


  1. […] vs. Malaysian Myths August 21, 2009 By Finally Woken 9 Comments I read in disbelief when Catherine Brown, the food write, revealed her discovery that haggis, a very unique Scottish dish, in fact, appeared […]

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