Cry Me a Haggis River!


In 1872 in the Perth Courier the following offences were published:

Robert McVeigh, charges brought by John Cameron, was fined 20 cents. George Thornton, charges brought by Patrick Tovey, fined 20 cents
James Tovey and Patrick Tovey, charges brought by George Thornton, fined 20 cents each.

What was it all about? It was over a bowl of haggis and too much beer. Loud pipes save lives after all!



The food historian Catherine Brown has claimed that the first printed reference to haggis is in a 1615 book called “The English Hus-Wife.” The first Scottish reference dates to 1747. But Scots are crying foul, claiming that haggis is a Scottish invention introduced to England. One Edinburghian haggis-maker summed up his feelings: “I didn’t hear of Shakespeare writing a poem about haggis.”


Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish. There are many recipes, most of which have in common the following ingredients: sheep’s ‘pluck’ (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally boiled in the animal’s stomach for approximately three hours.

Haggis somewhat resembles stuffed intestines (pig intestines otherwise known as chitterlings or the kokoretsi of traditional Greek cuisine), sausages and savoury puddings of which it is among the largest types. As the 2001 English edition of the Larousse Gastronomique puts it, “Although its description is not immediately appealing, haggis has an excellent nutty texture and delicious savoury flavour.” (p592)

Most modern commercial haggis outside Scotland is prepared in a casing rather than an actual stomach. There are also meat-free recipes for vegetarians: these are designed to taste like the meat-based recipes.”

I personally am not attracted to the idea of eating hearts and lungs, simply because I didn’t grow up eating those things. Of course people frequently eat rabbit and horse, and think nothing of it.  Would you like some horse?  Of course Fruit Cake gets a bad rap too!

Haggis also comes in different colours, from light brown to black. If cooked too long, its insides can burst out like a haggis river. Trust me I have seen it once as a child. I think I will stick with vegetarian haggis.



Vegetarian Haggis NorthernLight1


Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat, and saute the onion 5 minutes, until tender. Mix in carrot and mushrooms, and continue cooking 5 minutes. Stir in broth, lentils, kidney beans, peanuts, hazelnuts, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Season with thyme, rosemary, cayenne pepper, and mixed spice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in oats, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 5×9 inch baking pan.
Stir the egg into the saucepan. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan. Bake 30 minutes, until firm.

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun

The Perth Courier can be read at Archives Lanark

Art Evoy on the pipesin Carleton Place as they bring in the haggis

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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