A haggis crisis was narrowly averted in Mazama on Friday night. Yes, you read that right. You see, a fun and lively party was hosted by Louise Stevens and Midge Cross in honor of Robert (Robbie) Burns on Friday at the Mazama Community Club. The theme, due to Robert’s heritage, was Scottish. And what foods are Scottish? Well, haggis, neeps, tatties, shortbread and oatmeal. If you, like me, are not keen on these Scottish delicacies despite your Ancestry.com DNA results coming back to tell you that you are descended from Robert the Bruce, here’s a quick primer:
Haggis — a Scottish dish consisting of a sheep’s or calf’s offal mixed with suet, oatmeal and seasoning and boiled in a bag, traditionally one made from the animal’s stomach. Yes, the synonym for delicious.
Neeps — turnips, often served with haggis because, well, haggis.
Tatties — mashed potatoes.
Shortbead and oatmeal — I think you know.
Back to the haggis crisis. It seems as though Midge and Louise really know how to throw a themed party, as the agenda was chock full of anything Scottish that a person could conceive. Three local musicians, Dee Christensen, Susan Ernsdorff and Kristi Skanderup, provided lively Scottish music. There also were readings of Scottish poetry, Scottish fiddle music, a country contra dance, and the piping in and presentation of the haggis. The organizers had planned to bake the haggis in the oven at the Mazama Community Club. However, when the time came to heat the oven, the old gas oven wouldn’t heat up. As Louise says, “Cooked haggis is pretty bad, but raw haggis could be fatal”! In desperation, Louise went to the Mazama Store and asked Missy if she would cook the haggis in the store oven, and Missy saved the day. However, if you bought a loaf of bread or a pastry at the Mazama Store on Saturday and it had a rather strange, lingering scent of animal stomach, the mystery is now solved as to why. That was just a joke, there were no reports of anything of the like.
The party for Robert was well attended and the gatherers got into the spirit by wearing their tartan. Mark Wolf-Armstrong was looking quite spiffy in the full Scottish regalia, while others sported tartan vests, tams and shirts. There was a Scottish resource table set up that included a history of clans and their tartans, a rolling slide show of Scottish adventures, and maps and guides in case the haggis inspired guests to plan their own Scottish adventure.
By now, you are probably wondering why there wasn’t any Scotch whisky, Scotland’s most famous export, to burn the flavor of the haggis from one’s mouth. Yes, a wee dram of Scotch would have topped off this Scottish evening in honor of a beloved Scotsman from Mazama. All I can write is that if you were there you would know. Instead, I can report that the evening concluded with a singing of “Auld Lang Syne,” written by Robert Burns. In 1788. Not the same Robbie. Happy birthday, sir.