The battle for Haggis HQ
Yes, there were leftovers. But not as much as I’d feared.
We transported the haggis, under armored cover of 4 guard cars, 2 motorcycle cops and a helicopter. Twenty people attempted to haggisjack us, but we held them off with kukris, light sabers and a detailed description both of what was in the haggis, and of what they would smell like if we smeared lanolin behind their ears and left it to fester.
The battle ended, we joked about reupholstering Buckley’s car with haggis. "I don’t think the smell would go over," he said.
"Ah, but just think of it as a steady supply of road snack. You get hungry, you just scrape a bit off the door panel," I replied.
"You could use it for house plaster too," said Kevin.
I nodded. "It makes great sheeprock."
Then a ninja in a facemask and black kilt attacked the car with cabers. We covered him in lanolin, hung him to a lamppost by his sporran, and continued to Haggis HQ.
The night was off to an auspicious start.
No meat in the house
At the Burns Night party/ Haggis HQ, Andy the bekilted Glaswegian guided us to the crockpot area downstairs. However, there’d been some miscommunication between Andy and Petra, whose house was serving as Burns Central and Haggis HQ. "There’s meat in that?" she asked, as we propped up a "This dish contains meat" sign Andy had given us.
"Yes. It’s the traditional haggis," I said.
"Does Andy know?"
"Yeah — he told Buckley it was fine to bring one."
"It’s just that I don’t normally allow meat in the house."
"Oh. I’m sorry," I said. We’ve been making this thing all bloody day! I thought.
"No, it’s okay, we just didn’t have the communication right between me and Andy."
On that note I decided to take drink orders and wheel off to the liquor store for beer and single-malt whisky. I waved to the bekilted ninja, still hanging from the lamppost. A block away, I could still smell the greasy lanolin.
It’s on the patio with the beer
Returning with a bottle of Glen Moray Speyside single-malt whisky and a few beers (Orkey Skullsplitter, Belhaven Scottish Ale and a Newcastle Brown Ale — for Pam), Petra told me that our meat haggis was on the patio, on warm in the crockpot.
We laughed. I opened a beer. At least that had worked out.
Andy rounded everyone up. Pam and I held glass and bottle at the ready. Buckley piped in one of the vegetarian haggi. One of the lads did the cutting-open honors with my kukri. Pam and I tipped back a jolt in honor, and promptly got in line for grub and real haggis. "There’s real haggis on the patio," we whispered and shouted and pointed."
Many nodded. Few sampled. But those who did, approved, and by the end of the night there was a distinct lack of fullness in the crockpot. Buckley still got sent back to Salem with a good-sized bit of leftovers, and I’m sure I’ll be haggising for lunch for part of the week, but all told many people at the party ate and enjoyed some proper haggis.
End of Burns night
We munched and drank and laughed and slaint’ed all through recitations from various guests and music from Buckley, Pam, Andy and Kevin. (Andy and Petra also put an awesome Burns supper, with loads of great food, toasts and recitations from the guests. Thanks guys.) After "Auld Lang Syne" and a lot of dancing, we trucked home, haggis leftovers secure in the seat between me and Pam. We all took turns singing Celtic tunes. We’d given the armored escort the rest of the night off; the word had gone ’round not to mess with the Buckley Haggismobile.
Back at my wee sheep-smelling apartment, I carried up the crockpot and grinned. Home would need some airing out, but Buckley and I had pulled off our second successful haggis. Last year’s had been easy — a piece of cake, in all but the literal sense. This year’s had had many challenges — not getting the stomach, the bag breaking and us having to figure out an on-the-fly substitute — but we’d turned out a damn tasty bit of traditional Sco’ish fare.
We grinned and nodded. After some chat, Buckley took his leftovers and headed back to Salem. I started to get ready for bed, but stopped and went back to the kitchen. Filling a bowl with the good stuff, I walked out to the bekilted ninja, still hanging from his lamppost.
"Would you like some haggis?" I asked.