Monday, January 31, 2011
My evening at the Burns' Supper
Last night, January 29, 2011, my cousin, Diane, and I went to the Burns' Supper sponsored by The 42nd Royal Highlanders. It was from 5:30-10 p.m. and we had a fun filled evening.
* My tartan scarf represents Clan Macpherson and Diane's represents Clan MacAfee.
We arrived at The Trails at 5 o'clock. Upon entering, we signed in, registered for door prizes and were seated. The Pipers were in the center of the room practicing. How fun it was to be surrounded by the music of the bagpipes. Two tapestries hung from a beam in the center of the room. Both with Highland Pipers on them. Another tapestry hung behind the podium with a picture of the thistle. Tables circled around with a path down the middle leading to an opening where there would be dancing later.
The lights were set to a nice soft glow with white lights strung around all of the beams. Blue and green napkins were placed on each table setting; same colors in the 42nd's kilt.
When we started the evening, we had an introduction, a prayer, and then upon standing, The 42nd came out with the color guard. They played our National Anthem, God save the King, and Scot's Wae Hae. We had a prayer and then a lone piper played Amazing Grace.
Red and white wine was placed on every table along with a basket of the Queen's Scones (biscuits). Dinner music was performed by Travler's Dream.
The Presentation! Now, if you have never had haggis or been to a ceremony, the Haggis is a big deal. The Haggis isn't just brought to your table, it is presented. There is a Piper, then the haggis bearer and the trencherman who carried a knife. The procession circled the room for everyone to see, and then went to the front. Mrs. Isobel Stuart Miller took the knife and read a poem about the Haggis, and then stabbed the Haggis.
The first course was Cock-a-Leekie Soup. This is a traditional soup of Scotland and often served at Burn's Suppers. This wonderful broth was thought to have originated in Edinburgh and the Lothians. It contains chicken, leeks, onions, rice, parsley and prunes. This was my favorite part of the meal.
The Haggis is the highlight of every Burns' Supper. It is traditionally cooked in the stomach bag of a sheep. Unfortunately, this is banned in the United States. Here, is is cooked in a muslin bag or a sausage casing. Normally, the contents are oatmeal, sheep's liver and heart, chopped onion, suet, and stock. Neeps, (which are boiled, buttered turnips or Swedes) are the traditional accompaniment. Now, I can say that when I saw the haggis, it wasn't what I expected to see. It looked like a meatloaf, but a little more grey in color. I really liked it. I didn't care much for the turnips, but I did like the Haggis. I am wondering though, how much of a difference between the American version and the Scottish version.
Next, we were brought lamb, mint sauce, and Rumbledethumps. I have never had lamb before, but I enjoyed it. The mint sauce looked like green jelly and I have to say that the lamb dipped in it was very good! Rumbedethumps is from the borders of Scotland is made from mashed potatoes, cabbage, chopped onions, and grated cheese.
Last, but not least, was Dunvegan Trifle. This, I can tell you, was something I could have had seconds on. It reminded me of strawberry shortcake and I was in heaven!
Mrs. Miller, who was born and raised in Glasgow, teaches Scottish dancing here. Her group, The Whole Nine Yards, performed the Jubilee Jig. Then they invited everyone to come out and perform the Friendship Waltz.
After dinner, the entertainment began again with the Highland fling. A lone piper came out with two men from the 42nd who danced for us. They were very good. The poem, Immortal memory, was read and then we had a toast to the lassies and a reply from the lassies. Very funny!!!
We ended the evening by getting into a circle and holding hands while we sang Auld Lang Syne.
This is event that I will be attending again. I loved being able to absorb myself in the Scottish traditions. Every thing was wonderful and I want to thank The 42nd Royal Highlanders for putting on such an exciting event.
For more information on The 42nd Royal Highlanders Regiment, please visit their web site at http://www.42ndrhr.org/. or you can visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/42ndRHR.