Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Had Lunch Yet?

And the debate rages on. The protesters rail against the lawmakers, the bureaucrats issue memoranda with vague language, and the people of the United States of America are denied a seemingly basic freedom. It's a freedom for which William Wallace would have donned the face-paint. It's . . .

. . . the inalienable right to consume sheep's heart, liver, and lung after it's been encased in a sheep's stomach and simmered slowly.

Damn you, big government.

Sounds delicious, no? Haggis, as this delicacy is known, is perhaps the most famous dish served in Scotland. It certainly was the one that leapt off the menu when I was in Edinburgh a decade ago. (Leapt in a John Hurt abdomen alien way, not in any sort of a savory way.) I suppose in a sense it's no more vile than the sausage or hot dogs Americans consume regularly, but it sounds, looks, and smells pretty nasty. Plus, there's just something about using the "offal" (definition: the by-products, viscera and trimmings of a butchered animal removed in dressing; other definition: rubbish; pronounced: "awful") of an animal as the primary ingredients of a meal that doesn't entice.

The Scots, however, love it. "If it's not Scottish, it's crap" takes an ironic twist.

So what's the debate all about?

It seems that since 1971, sheep's lung has been banned in food in the US. Since 1989, the heyday of the mad-cow madness, haggis has specifically been targeted as off-limits to Vandelay Importers and the like. In a small place like Scotland (albeit one "colonized by wankers"), you can gleefully eat this treat in most any pub, but in a big country like ours, bureaucracy rules the day. Such simple minds. So Scottish expats go hungry and get angry, and if you've seen an angry Scotsman before, you do not want this.

This week marks the annual celebration of Scotland's favorite poet, Robert Burns -- as recognized with "Robert Burns Night" occurring in pubs inside and outside of the motherland. Traditionally, these "Burns Suppers" feature haggis on the menu, whiskey on the rocks, and a reading of Address to a Haggis on the docket. Yes, that last bit is indeed the poet's ode to sheep's innards sewn into a sheep's stomach. To be honest, I get that -- there's a Random Idiots single called "You're My Gyro" as well as another lost track professing love to the late night Jersey sandwich the "Fat Bitch." (Equal parts decorum and a loyalty to the cheesesteak w/ egg prevented the latter's release.)

The Burns Suppers in America, however, will be sadly missing that sheep's lung in every asterisked version of the haggis. As such, the US FDA has made these renditions of the dish inauthentic to the millions, nay dozens of Scottish-Americans clamoring for the right to savor those bronchi and bronchioles. This week news leaked through various US media outlets that the government may indeed be lifting the ban. And then . . . the FDA said that while the ruling was being reviewed, there is no timetable and no definite action is pending.

Until that day comes, lads and lassies, let us pray for the day when we have the liberty to pursue such happiness as haggis. While many of us don't know what we're missing, we stand (way) behind our kilt-donning friends as their dreams stay with them like a lover's voice, the proclaimers of that familiar primal scream: "Freedom!"


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Those who were looking for Haggis, aka Kid Chaos, the former touring bassist of The Cult and member of Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction, should look here. Sorry for the confusion.

24 comments:

zoltan said...

I thought the casing was a sheep's bladder, not a stomach, although both are equally improbable ingredients.

Dan said...

haggis isn't bad really, much better than blood pudding in my opinion

Whitney said...

I believe stomach was the traditional vessel, though I've heard that it's not as often used in modern haggis. Cheaper versions can use artificial encasings.

I'd have to guess, though, that you don't want to be too frugal when you're going for haggis. Bargain-brand haggis sounds highly dangerous.

Michael said...

roddick looked like crap yesterday. I was openly disgusted with his effort in the second set. he did redeem himself somewhat in the third and fourth, but I started to root for the other guy in the second set.

zoltan said...

Roddick's coach should forbid him from going to the net. He's a trainwreck up there. I had high hopes for him and his alternate backhand. I thought the extra variety would help him out. Unfortunately he uses his new slice backhand to approach crosscourt. Unforgivable. His coach should make him watch hours of Rafter footage.

Shlara said...

Interesting side effect of the recession.

Man Threatens Wife For Canceling ESPN

http://tinyurl.com/yabvuex

TJ said...

Post count!

Dave said...

rock trivia: what band(s) did bassist "haggis" play for and what was his original (and also ridiculous) rock name?

Whitney said...

Did Dave read the entire post?

TJ said...

Mr. Shoop reads in the three minutes between the bell ringing...

zoltan said...

Dave only reads dense picquaresque copiously footnoted works of fiction by obscure dead mustachioed central European men.

zoltan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
zoltan said...

As opposed to Whitney's tripe.

rob said...

tripe, get it?

zoltan said...

Took long enough.

rob said...

don't you have a tennis match to watch?

TJ said...

Tomorrow on Z-Man and the Teej...z-man makes love to a foot fault while the teej asks yannick noah what he fed his kid as a child...

TJ said...

Oakland A's...good luck with Ben Sheets.

Marlin said...

Ben Sheets at $10M a year plus incentives?! Really?

That's a JaMetsian signing.

Michael said...

I saw Yannick Noah in the Paris Airport in 1989. true story. and not interesting in the least bit except for the pudgy Indian kid (dots not feathers) from my school ran after him for an autograph like it was Michael Jordan.

Whitney said...

The Mets wanted Ben Sheets but couldn't even sign him to a JaMetsian (nice word, Marls) deal. Omar, don't get too comfy.

KQ said...

I bumped into Yannick Noah (literally) on the streets of London during 1987 Wimbledon. I think I said something really cool like "oh!"

Mark said...

TJ just wants to know what Yannick fed Noah so his kid has a shot at being a top 5 NBA rebounder too.

Mark said...

If you turn on ESPN right now you'll get a glimpse of the rarely seen SEC court storming. A $25,000 fine South Carolina will be happy to incur, I'm sure.