Category: possibly meat-ish
Price: Purchased on sale, 2 for £2.
Ingredients: pork lung (33%), oatmeal, pork fat, pork liver (11%), water, pork rind, salt, onion, pork heart (1%), spices, rusk (wheatflour, salt, water), preservatives
Haggis is the national dish of Scotland, officially. (Unofficially, it’s tikka masala, but that’s a whole nother story.) As you can see by the ingredients, it is the guts of an animal (in this case pig, but often sheep or some other animal) mixed with oatmeal. The traditional haggis is stuffed into a sheep’s stomach and steamed. Ours had a plastic casing like a sausage, so that’s some consolation. It is heated (either by steaming or microwaving) and then served with mashed potatoes and mashed rutabagas (called “Swedes” over here). It can also be served on oatcakes as an appetizer. We had haggis today because it is Burns’ Night, a celebration of Robert Burns and some poem he wrote about haggis.
My husband cooked the haggis because a) he is Scottish and knows how to do that, and b) he is not afraid of our microwave, like I am. It smelled like a mix of sausage and liver. Kind of like the worst parts of my grandmother’s stuffing recipe. It looks completely indescribable. It’s dark brown, almost black, with little light flecks where the oatmeal is. Kind of like maybe some kind of wild rice and squid ink casserole. Or the poop of someone with advanced colon cancer.
I didn’t eat a whole big plate of it because I have done that before. The flavor isn’t too bad. It’s very much like sausage, but with more of a “liver and lung” flavor. There is usually a lot of black pepper in it to cover the organ meat smell. But it can’t cover the organ meat texture. The texture is what I really don’t enjoy. It’s a chewy oatmeal texture, but with organ meat. Kind of like dry chewy sausage. If I’m going to have to eat organ meat, I want to be able to wolf it down without tasting it, but with haggis, you can’t. You have to keep chewing and chewing to break down the oatmeal before you can swallow. And by that time the oatmeal has sucked all the fluid from your mouth. If you mush it together with the potatoes and rutabagas, it isn’t as bad. That’s how I choked down a whole big plate when I was dating my husband. Now that we’re married and I’m allowed to say that I don’t like haggis, for Burns’ Night I had 2 spoonfuls of haggis, then filled the rest of my plate with baked beans.
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