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Burns Night 2024


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Got my haggis.  Canned, unfortunately, because I wasn't able to find a cased full-offal (within U.S. limits) haggis until @Wilfrid pointed me to one after I'd already bought the can.

Just smoked a haddock to put into a Cullen Skink.

Because of the cold weather, most vendors were absent from my Greenmarket last weekend.  INCLUDING THE ONE WHO SELLS RUTABAGAS.  No nearby supermarket or fruit stand has any.  So instead of neeps with my tatties, I'm stuck with a turnip (which I guess sounds more like "neeps" than rutabaga does, even though rutabaga is what neeps means).

Have the Whisky.

See you Thursday!

Edited by Sneakeater
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Burns Supper!

I don't want be maudlin or anything.  But although, as will emerge, I'm not enthused about Whisky as a beverage pairing for food, I needed to be drinking it tonight, having spent a good part of the day going through my late wife's papers.  I totally lost it when I got to her college ID.  She was so young.  Now she's so dead.

I started with a Cullen Skink.  I smoked the haddock myself.  This had to be one of the better Cullen Skinks ever made by a Jewish guy in Brooklyn.

Preparing the smoked haddock a few days ago, I thought it kind of remarkable how memorably Cole Porter, a native of landlocked Indiana, wrote about seafood.  You (by which I mean I) can't have finnan haddie without thinking of "My Heart Belongs to Daddy".  It's the same with shad roe and "Let's Do It".  And don't get me started on oysters.

Then, my reheated canned haggis (so shoot me, it was fine).  With Neeps on one side and Tatties on the other.  Except, as whined about above, they weren't Neeps.  In the absence of the appropriate Greenmarket vender last weekend, I couldn't get any rutabaga; none of my local stores had any.  But I did have a turnip in my fridge, so it stood in for its child.  Contrary to my fears, a huge guy in a kilt bearing a Claymore didn't burst into my apartment, screaming, to cut me in half for this infamy.

But what about green vegetables?  I know they eat kale in Scotland.  But I couldn't find any Scottish recipes that didn't involve cooking it with a starch, more of which this meal definitely didn't need.  I could have made a cream of kale soup instead of the Cullen Skink -- but I was eager to show off my haddock-smoking skillz.

So what I did was, I snuck some finely chopped celery into the Whisky Sauce I made for the haggis.  And I put a leek into the Tatties.  I hoped this would all fool my body into thinking I'd provided a green.

I have to say, in all modesty, that this was a sensational triumph.  Everything was just delicious.  I have to thank Bryan Z's wife for remotely reminding me that Burns Night was coming.

You don't have to think about what you're going to be drinking with a Burns Supper.

Octomore Edition 07.3

I had just enough of this old bottle left to drink with (and after) supper.  (I'm all about finishing things off before I move.)

This is BIG and FIERCE.  And deep.  The nose is floral and smoky.  On the palate, it's TOUGH:  lots of flavors, but they're all running your tongue over.  (Peaty smoke on the palate, too, of course.)

The thing is, though, that while that sounds pejorative, it isn't meant that way.  You don't often drink something this flavorful -- and inside all that toughness, the combination of flavors is almost what you could call subtle.  I'd say "refined", but there's nothing refined about this Whisky.

The finish is looooooonnnnnngggggggg.  Smoke and maybe lemon?

I don't get this (or any Whisky) as a pairing for food, though.  It burns your tongue:  you have to wait a couple of minutes before you can taste anything.  And while you'd think the flavor of a haggis could stand up to anything, the large flavor of this Whisky came near to overwhelming it.

I'm not going to tell the Scots not to drink Whisky with their Burns Suppers.  But in my heart of hearts I don't think it's a great idea.

Edited by Sneakeater
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