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Irish-America - let's back our Scottish cousins in their bid to overturn the USDA's haggis ban

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Poet Robert Burns, whose "Address to a Haggis"
inspires the desire for the 'plucky' Scottish dish
at this time every year.

{Photo from CeltNet}
Haggis is banned in America and our fellow Celtic-Americans (new to me too), Scottish-Americans if you will, are none-too-pleased about this. Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish, the composition of which is probably best not considered around meal-time.

As explained recently by the BBC's Jon Kelly, Haggis is made from a 'sheep's "pluck" (heart, liver and lungs) minced with onion, oatmeal, suet and spices, all soaked in stock and then boiled in either a sausage casing or a sheep's stomach.' Mmm mmm. Don't that sound good.

Okay, to be quite honest, it doesn't sound like my cup of tea. Although I'm sure if I knew what was in the white and black puddings I enjoy as an essential part of my Irish breakfast it might be equally off-putting. Maybe if I could blank out what I know and force a forkful of haggis into my mouth I might really enjoy it. I'm at least open to the possibility that I might enjoy it, if not quite as open to the possibility of actually tasting it.
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Whatever about my personal preferences, Scottish people like to eat Haggis, especially on January 25, when they celebrate Burns Night commemorating the birth of their national poet Robert Burns, aka Rabbie Burns.

So in Scotland later today they'll be sitting down to a fine haggis dinner, but their cousins over in America won't be able to do the same because the US Department of Agriculture has banned haggis.

The ban has been in place since 1971. The USDA apparently doesn't care for human beings eating sheep lungs. Who can blame them, but is it really that unhealthy? I mean sure the Scots are nuts, but I doubt the nuttiness is caused by the food so much as the desire for the food is caused by the nuttiness.

So the Scots are battling the American bureaucracy and not getting very far. It's not hard to understand why either. Let's face it, the Scots' star has waned in America just as the Irish star has waxed. Irish-America is a much more potent force than is Scottish-America. On this issue I say let's give them a hand or at least offer some moral support.

Sure it's not our battle and I'm not asking people to go to the wall for the right to eat a sheep's lung, but we do like to toss around the word "Celtic" now and again, even impress upon our friends that it should be pronounced with a hard 'C' (Keltic). Some of us even (secretly) enjoy the Thistle and Shamrock radio program, which celebrates the music of Scotland as well as Ireland.

I'm not asking you to abandon the rivalry with the Scots, such as it is. We can still smirk when Braveheart comes on the television, knowing that those beautiful "Scottish scenes" were mostly filmed in Ireland. We can continue the fight to see Irish whiskey reclaim its place on top in America, having seen it swiped by the Scots during prohibition. I just think we could and should join in the chorus demanding that our Celtic cousins be allowed to eat sheep's lung.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer
Gie her a haggis!

{From Address to a Haggis by Robert Burns.}

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