Yes, Burns' Night has come round again - well it will on January 25th but last night was the nearest Saturday night so, as we do every year, kind friends invite us round for a celebratory 'Burns' Night for the English'. It is always a lovely, relaxed evening in good company.
We are all getting older - many of those there are now in their eighties - but often we don't meet between one year and the next. Our friends lay tables in various parts of their bungalow and we choose a table, collect our meal from our hostess, serving in the kitchen, and then we just have a lovely chatty evening with lots of laughs. What could be better?
Yours truly does not eat haggis although it is always on the menu. Well, to be truthful I have never tried it, but I don't care for offal so presume I wouldn't care for haggis. Interesting how every country has some cheap filling dish which dates back to when times were hard and which fills us up nicely. In Scotland it was the haggis, made with offal and oatmeal basically; in the North of England it was the steamed suet pudding and/or the Yorkshire Pudding.
When I ate my first meal at the farmer's table his parents were still alive and his mother invited me to Sunday lunch (i think to look me over and see what she thought!). The meal started with a plate of Yorkshire Pudding and onion gravy. I said something to the effect of it being interesting having the pudding on its own rather than with the meat and the famer's father replied, "You're in Yorkshire Now!"
I suppose pasta takes the same role in Italy. When you think about it, all these things are made with basically the same ingredients but put together differently (or as the late Eric Morecambe used to say "I am playing the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order!)
So - for any Scots reading this - Happy Burns Festivities. Eat all the haggis you like, but go easy on the whiskey.