Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Bizarre?



A survey, commissioned by the takeaway service Just-Eat.co.uk, has found that one in five Britons think haggis is a hilltop-dwelling animal.

The poll showed 40% of people in the UK have no idea what the traditional Scottish food is. It also revealed that even many Scots are left baffled by their national dish.

18% of Britons believe the myth that haggis is a real beast which roams the Highlands.

Bizarre? I suppose it is in a way although I'm surprised the survey didn't mention the most unusual characteristic of the haggis. It has three legs.


32 comments:

Hythlodaeus said...

Having previously and briefly worked as a tour guide and knowing several other tour guides, I have to say Scots encourage this myth whole heartedly. It's astounding how many tourists walk away really believing that the haggis has three legs and lives on mountains.

It is rather naughty though.

Dick Puddlecote said...

"It has three legs"

Has it?!?

Thank God I always try to keep well away as I've heard about its three layers of razor-sharp teeth. It's why I never set foot further north than Newcastle. ;-)

Mrs Rigby said...

Oh come on, it isn't bizarre at all, everybody knows it's true.

They also know haggis are very difficult to pluck cleanly, which is why they're always turned inside out and fastened with string.

subrosa said...

Naughty Hythlodaeus? Naw. It's a way of promoting one of Scotland's national dishes without calling people bigots. :)

subrosa said...

Dick, they shuffle through the heather at a such a rate of knots that it takes one of these posh cameras to catch the slightest glimpse.

Mind you, if you catch one you're feted by your friends every Burns Night.

subrosa said...

Ah Mrs R, a knowledgeable lady as I've always known.

The heather bells which are diffcult to pluck dissolve in the cooking but they certainly look more appealing when turned inside out.

I mean, who would want to eat something covered in heather?

JRB said...

As I sit and write this epistle from my little cottage in the Highlands, I can quite clearly hear the distinctive call of the Hagii drifting through the night air from the hills opposite.

These charming, but rarely seen, diminutive tripeds, have all but been hunted to extinction by international gourmands in search of their delicate and succulent flesh.

Thankfully, trials of Hagii farming, here in the Highlands, is proving to be a success.

Hopefully we will once again see significant numbers of wild Hagii scurrying about the heather cover hills. And, like the osprey and ptarmigan we will soon be able to remove the Hagis from the endangered species list.

Apogee said...

Had a photo of a sign in the West Highlands that I took years ago giving warning that people should " Beware. Haggis crossing", so they do exist.

subrosa said...

Ah, you're a haggis aficionado John. Doesn't surprise me in the least. You, like me, are situated on top class haggis country. I wouldn't change these moments of watching them rustle through the undergrowth for even a bottle of malt.

subrosa said...

Apogee, I'm surprised at you. Of course they exist. If you look closely, just after the dawn chorus, you'll see them in your garden. They like to have a look at us when they think we're unconscious.

G said...

I remember one burns night having Haggis and discovering a nice blue chefs plaster on my fork. At the end of the meal the Chef was presented to the table and all heads turned to me. So I just started clapping and everyone congratulated the chef on the meal.

If I had realised it was some poor wee critter from the wild I would have complained !

Leg-iron said...

Haggis have longer legs on one side of their body so they can run around the sides of mountains. This makes them easy to catch, because they can only go in one direction.

It must be true. I read it many, many years ago in the Beano.

subrosa said...

I'm not aware if there is any plaster code used for injured haggii G, but I do know the food industry uses blue.

Mind you, red or green wouldn't be suitable for haggii as it would blend too well with their environment wouldn't it.

subrosa said...

Down here LI the haggii have evolved to three legs of equal length. The hills here aren't as unfriendly to them as they are up your way. Not so many lumps and bumps here. :)

Should I phone DC Thomson and inform them?

cynicalHighlander said...

"Haggis have longer legs on one side of their body so they can run around the sides of mountains."

Depends which clan they are descended from ie. right or left that is why they are difficult to capture. Cross breeding is aiding to their decline as hopping makes them easy targets as they can only go up or down which affects their flavour.

BTS said...

I was under the impression that haggis was more of a weapon than a an animal..?

Macheath said...

BTS - I suppose you could call it a weapon; specimens too old and tough to eat are, of course, carefully tanned and upholstered and turned into bagpipes.

I mentioned some time ago that my primary school served haggis every other Thursday - funnily enough, Jamie Oliver has brought English schoolchildren salsa and thai curry but never thought of haggis.
They don't know what they're missing!

Surreptitious Evil said...

Young (well, not that young any more) Miss S-E teaches in American summer camps and duly educates the impressionable souls of Maine (and parts thereabout) regarding the physiology and behaviour of the haggis.

Having said that, any animal that thinks that bright plaid counts as camouflage, even amongst gorse and heather, was always going to have problems after we moved from bow and arrow to rifles for hunting ...

subrosa said...

Cross breeding is discouraged here CH, but we still see the occasional hybrid. They're easy to spot because, as you say, they hop rather than run.

I'd agree, the flavour is more like rabbit in cross breeds.

subrosa said...

It can be BTS, especially if it's used straight from the freezer. A neighbour of mine is an expert haggis thrower and used to win trophies at competitions all over Scotland.

The younger generation started using frozen haggis and that, although not against the rules, spoilt the fun for the traditionalists.

subrosa said...

And they do make superb bagpipes don't they Macheath.

Yes I remember you saying that and me telling you we used to get it too.

I think it's now too expensive for school dinners. A good haggis from a good butcher is expensive - but worth it.

subrosa said...

What a lovely part of the US Miss SE visits SE. I have friends there and they insist I know about their traditions and history so good for Miss SE.

Ah, the Grumpi Haggii (which is the clan usually found around here) is a muted tartan, grey background with varying shades of grey, beige and black. Not too colourful on the eye but offers good protection from those with guns.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Come off it folk's

You'll have folk believing we sent them down to Westminster and called them Gordon.

We didn't, did we?

Jim Baxter said...

How sad though that the sabre-toothed haggis is now extinct, dying out during the Caledonian neep famine which followed the last ice age.

Mrs Rigby said...

"Haggis have longer legs on one side of their body so they can run around the sides of mountains."

Depends which clan they are descended from ie. right or left that is why they are difficult to capture.


The same evolutionary principle as the Welsh Mountain Sheep?

subrosa said...

RA, as any good advocate would advise - 'No comment'.

subrosa said...

Jim, you can still see one in the Dundee Museum. It was found in a show box in the basement during the recent refurbishments. I'm reliably told the shoe box looked 'ancient' and so did the contents which was well preserved. Must have been the salt in the ice.

subrosa said...

Now Mrs R, as I have only ever seen a Welsh mountain goat and not a sheep, I'll leave it to others to comment.

Rightwinggit said...

Without googling, for some reason I'm thinking of Spike Milligan or maybe Michael Bentine...

wv= plarph, sounds faintly disgusting.

BTS said...

It sounds like you just stepped on a rather bloated haggis..

Btw, if anyone wants really bizarre, I once had some vegetarian haggis.

And yes, it was as awful (not to mention ridiculous) as it sounds.

Leg-iron said...

Vegetarian haggis is on sale here but if I want to eat something vegetarian, I buy beef. The carnivorous haggis is the one for me.

Best get on the phone to DC Thomson. An august Scottish journal such as the Beano will surely want to update their research!

subrosa said...

Have you tried vegetarian haggis LI?

It tastes like pure oatmeal with a bit of vegetable stock thrown in. Then there is a peculiar ingredient which tastes rather strange. I'm sure you could analyse it I wouldn't bother. Best to leave them for those who don't like natural food.

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