You Can Host a Burns Supper!

Hey everyone, it's January and time to start getting ready for your Robert Burns Supper!!

Eight years ago, right around this time of the year actually, I went off to live in Scotland for 3 months. I had only been living there a few weeks when I got to attend a Burns Supper. I haven't been to one since, but this year on January 19, I will not only get to attend one, I'll be playing at it too. The one I'm attending is being put on by a local church and the guy who caters it is a drummer in our band, so pipers who play get to eat for free!

I thought some of my readers might be interested in attending or possibly even hosting their own Burns Suppers so I wanted to get this post out early on in January.

So, with all of my enthusiasm here, I need to backtrack a bit and first explain who Robert Burns is. Robert Burns was a poet and lyricist in Scotland in the late 1700's. He's basically one of Scotland's most loved historical figures, and is widely considered their national poet. The Burns poem that you are probably most familiar with is Auld Lang Syne. My favorite Burns poem, also set to music, is Scots Wha Hae. A very distinctive aspect of his writing is that a lot of it was written in the old Scots language which is beautiful and wonderful to hear.

He is such a wildly popular figure in Scotland that January 25 (the day Burns was born), is known as Burns Night in Scotland, celebrated with a Burns Supper. Many Burns Suppers (like the one I'm attending), are held right around January 25, so yours doesn't have to be right on January 25.

It is great fun to attend a Burns Supper, try googling one for your area. If you can't find one, you can put one on for your friends and family. There are plenty of resources on the Internet that can assist you in the general format and food for a successful Burns Supper, but I'll post everything here too.

This is going to take several posts, so I thought I'd start by posting about the food you'll need to have on hand for a successful Burns Supper.

The first course at a Burns Supper is a soup. At the Burns Supper I attended we had Cock-a-Leekie Soup. But Scotch Broth would probably be a bit easier to serve as I think you can buy it canned at most grocery stores.

Next up is the Haggis. The Haggis is a vital part of your Burns Supper as Burns wrote a poem called Address to a Haggis that is recited at all Burns Suppers.
If you are desperate to make your own Haggis, here is a whole collection of recipes. But you can also buy Haggis and have it shipped right to your doorstep if you like, there's even vegetarian Haggis! What kind of crazy paradox is that!

The McKean Family of Haggis, is a British based company, so their prices are in pounds, but they ship to the US too.

I also found the Caledonian Kitchen This is a US based company and they have both canned or fresh Haggis for you to choose from.

Other traditional Scottish food that you can make can be found at this great BBC web site I found. It also looks like you can buy a lot of traditional Scottish food at the Haggis sites I listed above.

There are lots of special toasts throughout the night so your guests will need plenty to drink. Whisky of course is a good Scottish beverage of choice, but wine is fine, and we actually had Irn-Bru too at the Burns Supper I attended.

I'll post more on the format of the evening later. But now is the time to find a Burns Supper in your area, or to start planning your own Burns Supper, I'm sure you'll find that after your first Burns Supper it will be an annual tradition.

Pipe on!!

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