Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I was Hashing in arctic conditions near Madrid last weekend, when the conversation turned to Scotland.

I mentioned to a fellow Hasher named “The Godmother” how much I enjoyed my first taste of haggis during a recent trip to Edinburgh, and she stopped in her tracks.

“Haggis?!” she said. “Why...I have a can of it in my car. I'll get it for you.”

The Godmother, I should mention, is married to a Scot—although, to be honest, that still doesn't strike me as a satisfactory explanation for having a can of haggis in the trunk. But I'm not one for splitting hairs.

And so it was that I drove home a few hours later with a can of Grant’s Traditional Recipe Haggis sitting prettily in the passenger seat of my car.

I haven’t eaten it yet. Haggis should be served with a “wee dram,” and my basement bar is currently out of Scotch whisky (I'll plead the 5th on that one). So I’ve chosen to wait until my next liquor run before breaking out the can-opener.

But that hasn’t stopped me from scrutinizing the label on the can. And let me tell ya...there's some “attention-grabbing” text on that label. For example:

Lamb Lungs (45%)
Oatmeal (19%)
Beef Suet
Scottish Water

Pretty much speaks for itself, no?

But there’s more! Turn the can 180 degrees, and you'll find the following cooking preparation tip:

Open both ends of the can and carefully push through.

So apparently, neither dumping the can’s contents into a pot nor scooping them out with a spoon are feasible options. To prepare a can of haggis, the chef must use the Play-doh Fun Factory method.

This may not explain why a can of haggis was in The Godmother's trunk last weekend, but it certainly explains why there isn't one now.


At 12:27 AM, Blogger Angie said...

“Why...I have a can of it in my car. I'll get it for you.”

lol... further proof that it's a small, small world.

The best part about those Play-doh Fun Factories were the little things you could put over the tube to press the Play-doh through (excuse my inarticulate description, but it's been a long day of work)... Surely your daughter has one that you could use to press your haggis into shapes like hearts and stars? Not sure that would improve the taste, though.

At 4:34 AM, Blogger Culinary Fool said...

Threr are just so many things about this post...

Haggis in the car is indeed an odd thought! And if this is the "traditional recipe" haggis, what would be the "untraditional recipe"??

Pleading the 5th does you no good if you've already taken it! Oh, those were probably litres not fifths, though, weren't they? Even the hermetically sealed one is gone??

I could go on but for your sake I won't. In fact I should never read blogs after a full day of back-to-back meetings at the big M. :-)

At 7:01 AM, Blogger Lisa said...

hi Sal,
Just dropped in to say hi and I haven't abandoned you...just lurking here lately...can't think of anything as witty to say as your other "groupies" so I'll leave the clever responses to them.

At 9:55 AM, Blogger The Big Finn said...

MMMMMM....haggis GOOD!!!

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Angie said...

now we're groupies? lol... I thought we were just regulars at the bar, like Norm and Frasier.

At 9:29 PM, Blogger woman wandering said...

groupies ... can i be carla?

so you're really going to eat the haggis?

i presume you have to have a big enough dram to distract yourself from the 45% lung content ... or you could just pretend that you ate it and only mention how good the whisky was.

At 10:23 PM, Blogger Angie said...

Maybe I could be Lilith. It would be fun to be so evil. Slightly off-topic, but I'd just like to share my favorite "Cheers" quote:

Norm (In response to Sam's "How's it going?"): "Well, it's a dog-eat-dog world, Sammy, and I'm wearing Milkbone underwear."

(It's just a good Wednesday quote, in my opinion.)

At 10:42 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Phew! Finally got the baby to bed. And now it seems that I have some mail to answer...

Ang: We do indeed have a Play-doh Fun Factory that gets a lot of use...especially when I'm try to get her into bed or off to school. I never thought to use it for making Haggis Churros, but I see great marketing potential in this product in the snack bar of St. Malcolm of Oaxaca High School.

Beep: I believe that "Untraditional Recipe Haggis" is the version made from soy lungs. It is to haggis what underpants are to kilts. BTW...it's not entirely true that my basement bar is Scotch-free at the moment. That hermetically-sealed bottle of Cardhu remains sealed, as does another bottle of Chivas Black. What I meant was that I don't have any opened bottles of Scotch with a wee dram or two remaining. It's a bit complicated to explain, but it goes like this: I have tremendous will-power when it comes to not opening new bottles of whisky; but zero will-power once it is opened. My Cardhu and Chivas are good bottles, so I know better than to open them...because that good bottle will be gone two or three weeks later. [Have you noticed that a meager one drink per night will nonetheless kill a bottle in 2-3 weeks?!] So I typically buy a not-as-good bottle with the intention that I will open it in the near future...in full knowledge that it will not be on this earth for long...but will have died for a noble cause (i.e., sacrificing it's inferior contents so that my Cardhu and Chivas may live). Make sense? Didn't think so. But it does to me. Just keep in mind that I've had both the Cardhu and Chivas sitting down there for 2.5 years.

Hey Lisa: Wisconsin's Michelangelo. No wit is required to stop in for a virtual visit. Just a spring in your step and a driver's license evidencing a pre-1980 birthdate. Obviously, my discipline when it comes to Cow Pies is considerably less than my discipline as pertaining to Cardhu.

Big Finn: The man whose biceps are so big that they poked him in the eye. Ya, bro! Haggis ees good! Do they make haggis in Finland? And if so, do they use reindeer lungs?

Mmmmmm...reindeer. But that's a story for another day.

Ang: Didn't I just talk to your twin sister? Yes, I consider you all my "Regular Irregulars." I don't think the terms "groupies" or "harem" are fitting, because that would imply a level of charisma that I don't possess. And finally...

Lady Di: Well, sure...if you want to be Carla DelPonti, I don't have a problem with that. And yes...I do intend to eat the haggis, although it may indeed call for more than a wee dram. A WHEEEEEEE!!!!! dram is more like it. Funny thing about lung. Of all the organs in a sheep's, cow's or rabbit's body (and believe me...spend five minutes in a Spanish market and you'll see all of them), lungs are the only one that consistently gross me out. They are the oddest shade of marbled, pastel pink--kinda like the main lobby of a Trump hotel. Perhap 45% is a bit more lung than I'd like in my fantasy can of haggis, but beggars can't be choosers. Besides, a squirt of ketchup will make anything taste good...even lung.


At 11:22 PM, Blogger woman wandering said...

But I'm not old enough to be that Carla (Di wails) and I haven't done war tribunal work for quite a while ... I am sarcastic mocking Carla from 'Cheers'. Silly billy.

Lung ... I was in Edirne with Turkish friends and they wanted me to experience the local delicacy ... a type of deep-fried sliced 'lung' only found there.

I thought about suggesting that it might only be found there because it was so WRONG WRONG WRONG to eat lung but stayed silent. I'm polite.

The dish came to the table, I thought 'Hmmmmmmmmm?' and asked 'Is this lung or liver?'
They consulted and replied laughing and sorry ... 'we meant liver'.

I can do liver but lung ...

Anyway, will you let us know when you release the pretty little baby lambs lungs from can captivity?

At 3:14 AM, Blogger euro-trac said...

'Scottish Water'???

At 4:46 AM, Anonymous Culinary Fool said...

Oh, soy - not that I mean to insult anyone who likes it but - why bother? It's always flavored to taste like "something else". I say eat the something else!

I guess I'm happy to know that some of those bottles are still hermitically sealed but I'm making a little note in my "book about Sal", she says as she licks the pencil tip, focuses on something slightly up and to the left, then begins to write in her book....

Although it does make sense, you know some things are meant to be kept for special occasions and some things are meant to BE or create the special occasion. I always say one good drink deserves another! And another and(Hic...) Excuse me!

And (on a side note) I'm glad to see there are a few males infitrating the harem, although the Big Finn, being a stay at home Dad with no children is sort of on the border. (Sorry, Big Finn and nice to meet you!) :-)

That's enough insulting people for today - gotta run!

At 8:09 PM, Blogger christina said...

Irregular regular checking in!...

I kept wanting to comment on this post, but every time I read the phrase "45% lamb lungs" I had to go lie down until I felt better.

Liver? Well, if you insist. Kidneys? OK, just a bite. But lungs? I don't think so. "Awful offal" was the first thing that came to my mind. Organ meats can catch you off guard if you're not careful.

I guess the reason you have to gently escort it out of the can is because it's probably encased in whatever haggis is usually encased in. A sheep's stomach, isn't it?

Are you actually going to eat this at some point, or just use it as a paperweight for your desk? And did you check to see what *else* The Godmother had in her trunk?

At 8:16 AM, Blogger Ms Mac said...

Is it 12 year old Chivas or the 18 year old stuff? If it's 12 year old, just open it and enjoy your haggis man!

Och aye!

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Hey Ms. Mac!

I see that my day-trip through The Big Finn's Big Blog has beared fruit.

Thanks for dropping in, and thank's for the plus on your blog. We're (all of us) are really, really spreading the gospel of Bash the Haggis. No wonder the creator felt compelled to stop-by for a VTB visit.

But on to your question. I went downstairs to my much-neglected basement bar and dusted off that bottle of Chivas. Guess what. It's not Chivas at all. It's Ballantine's Special Reserve 12 year old whisky. I've neglected it for so long that I had forgotten the brand.

Believe me...there's nothing I'd like more than to crack-open that puppy and lift a wee dram while watching The Simpsons on Canal-Digital. But don't you see? For me to open that bottle, I'd first need to buy *another* bottle of the exact same whisky.

Don't you understand? Well...to be honest, I don't either. But I seem to have fallen into this pattern is illogical inventory rotation that has endured for years.

But regardless of which bottle gets opened, that can of Grant's Traditional Recipe Haggis is destined for the microwave fairly soon.

Thanks for the peer pressure. Sometimes we all need a little nudge.



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