Haggis: Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!

 January 25 1759 is the birthday of Robert Burns.

Many will celebrate with the piping in of a haggis.


Among other things, Burns wrote a Ode, or Address to a Haggis.

Address To A Haggis


Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!
Aboon them a’ yet tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin was help to mend a mill
In time o’need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin’, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an’ strive:
Deiltak the hindmost! on they drive,
Tilla’ their weel-swall’d kytesbelyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckles as wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ blody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

Butmark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walienieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ hands will sned,
Like taps o’ trissle.

Ye Pow’rs, whamak mankind your care,
And dish them out their billo’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants naeskinkingware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer
Gie her a haggis!

Click here for the Burns Glossary

A haggis or haggasse or haggus is old school pudding, a pudding that is something that is stuffed into guts. Now we think of a haggis as a meat and oats creation that is boiledin the stomach of a sheep. Alton Brown, from the Oat Cuisine episode  of Good Eats has a simple to follow recipe..


the earlier haggises (haggi?) are puddings, but often flavored with rosewater and sugar….now, that’s a twist!

16th century English Haggis recipes


A Haggas Pudding.

Take the Haggas of a Calfe, perboyle him, and when he is colde choppe him very small: then take a little grated bread and put two yolkes of Egges with good hearbes chopped very small, and currans Nutmeg and salte.

  • The Good Hous-wiues Treasurie. London. Edward Allde. Leaf 19.



To make a Haggas Pudding.

Take a piece of a Calves Chauldron and perboile it, shred it so small as you can, then take Beefe Sewet as your meate, shred likewise, and a good deale more of grated bread, put this together, and to them seven or eight yolkes of egs, and two or three whites, & a little creame, three or fower spoonfull of rosewater, a little Pepper, Mace and nutmegs, and a good deale of sugar, fill them and let them be sodden with a very soft fire, and shred also with a little Winter Savory and Time, and a little Peniriall with your meat.

  • (Dawson.) The Second Part of the good Hus-wiues Iewell. London. pp. 53-4.


To make Hagges Puddings.

Take the liuer of a Hog and perboyle it, then stampe in water and straine it with thick creame, and put therto eight or nine yolks of egges, and three or foure whites, and Hogges suet, small raisons, Cloves and Mace, pepper, salte, and a little sugar, and a good deale of grated bread to make it thick, and let them foeth ???.

  • (Dawson.) The Second Part of the good Hus-wiues Iewell. London. pp. 54.


To make a Lenthen Haggesse with poched egges.

Take a Skillet of a pinte, and fill it halfe with vergious, and halfe with water, and the take Margerome, Wintersauerie, Peniroyall, mince, Time, of eche five crops, wash them, and take foure Egges, hard rosted, and shred them as fine as you can, & put the hearbes thus in the broth, then put a great handfull of currants, and the crummes of a Quarter of a Manchet, and so let it seeth til it be thicke, then season it with Sugar, Sinamon, Salt, and a good peece of Butter, and three or foure spoonfulls of Rosewater, then poch seaven Egges and lay them on sippets, and pour the Haggesse on them, with Sinamon and Sugar strewed on them.

  • (Dawson.) The Second Part of the good Hus-wiues Iewell.  London. pp. 56-7.


For more check out The Art and Mystery of Food


Robert Burns on a stamp – 1956



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