Haggis star of Fringe show

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A HAGGIS maker has teamed up with a playwright in a bid to rescue the reputation of Scotland’s national dish.

‘Haggis, Haggis, Haggis,’ by playwright Stuart Delves, will tackle foodie prejudice against the meal made from sheep’s lungs cooked with oatmeal and spices in stomach lining.

And haggis makers MacSween’s will even provide hungry audiences with enticing haggis fusion foods, such as haggis pakora and haggis nachos – and even haggis Scotch quail’s egg.

Photo: Colin / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-4.0
Photo: Colin / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-4.0

The Fringe show – whose title is a play on the classic Pearl Harbour movie Tora, Tora, Tora – is a declaration of war on those who denigrate or wilfully misunderstand haggis.

According to one survey, as many as a third of Americans believe the haggis to be a small animal.

Mr Delves has recently been working as storyteller-in-residence at a MacSween’s haggis factory – helping staff celebrate the company’s 60th anniversary celebrations by putting on a continuous performance around its history.

But now the in-house celebration has been rewritten for the Fringe to tell the story of haggis and the people who make it.

Mr Delves said: “The false story is that people believe it’s a wee beastie.

“The true story is that many cultures have an offal or black pudding kind of dish – like the Spanish morcilla, or the French boudin noir.

“The ancients knew that you can preserve meat with salt but that the offal had to be eaten quickly.

“There is mention in Aristophanes’s work of offal in a stomach lining.”

Haggis was helped into the limelight by Robert Burns’ famous ‘Address to a Haggis’ – but co-owner of MacSween’s Jo MacSween said its fame had been a mixed blessing.

She said: “Haggis is the only food I know prefixed with the word ‘the’.

“It is therefore a thing before it is a food.

“That’s a big challenge for haggis makers, turning it from this thing of ridicule that you stab and wear kilts for, and pour whisky over – because it is apparently so horrible you wouldn’t want to eat it – into that we know it can be: utterly delicious, savoury and worthy of its place among the great world of charcuterie.

“You don’t talk about ‘the’ salami, you just show it respect.”

She added: “I’m not saying we haven’t sense of humour round here.

“I’m saying just put your prejudices aside for one minute and look at the facts.

“Don’t wait for Burns’ Night to haul it out, address it with a poem and then forget it for the rest of the year.”

‘Haggis, Haggis, Haggis: The True Story’ will run from 4-24 of August at the Storytelling Centre.

Human-sized haggis Morag and Hamish will be distributing publicity for the show on the Royal Mile.

 

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