The monthly cycle club dinner being the last Friday of the month, this January it happened to coincide with Burn’s night; what, we wondered, would the French make of haggis? It’s a standing joke here, due to a very amusing sketch that was televised a number of years ago and which seems to have been watched by the entire population.
We suggested a Burn’s night supper; cock-a-leekie soup, haggis, tatties and neeps, followed by cranachan. There was much sucking of teeth, after all ; January is poule au pot – had we offended by introducing the possibility of something different?? They mulled it over for a few days and finally decided to let us go ahead, though we had to promise to cook sausages for some people.
We ordered the haggis, researched recipes for the soup and the dessert, got friends who were visiting Britain to bring some Cheddar and Stilton back, had a trip to Spain for the whiskey and made sure that the veg man on the market would have plenty of swedes.
Josette and Dédé, who usually cook the meals, offered their assistance, which was invaluable as they knew such things as how long the potatoes for 50 would take to come to the boil, how many baguettes we’d need and where to order them. We peeled, chopped, sliced and cooked for a couple of days, I made the dessert at home and Jacques sorted the wine.
I found a length of tartan fabric in a charity shop, to make two kilts, which, if you didn’t look too closely, looked the part, with the tartan hat( orange wig attached) that I bought for Nick and our hair sprayed bright orange too. I hardly dare mention what I made for Nick to wear under his kilt; suffice to say it was impressive and caused more than a few “oooh la la’s”!
I liked the idea of doing the “address to a haggis”, but on listening to it, found that I couldn’t understand a word of it – this would be no good for the French, but a bit of research unearthed a French translation; I knew just the man to ask to read it. Christian agreed immediately and spent several days not only learning his lines, but studying videos to get the gestures right. He borrowed Nick’s hat on the evening and did a brilliant rendition accompanied by bagpipe music courtesy of YouTube.
All in all, it was a great success; everybody enjoyed their first taste of haggis and went home very happy.