Monday, 3 August 2009

The Haggis is English – apparently

Can you imagine the uproar this has caused in some parts of Scotland?!

According to Catherine Brown, author of Broths to Bannocks: a history of Scottish food and a leading food historian, the Haggis, Scotland’s most iconic dish, was an English invention that was adopted by Scottish nationalists. Brown has discovered references to haggis in an English recipe book dated 1615, which shows that the haggis was a popular delicacy in England at least 171 years before the poet Robert Burns wrote his famous poem Address to a Haggis. Brown believes Burns claimed the pudding as Scottish with his poem in 1786 because it was a thrifty counterbalance to the elaborate French cuisine popular in Edinburgh at the time.
According to Catherine Brown, the earliest reference to the pudding is in The English Hus-wife, written by Gervase Markham. It was originally an English dish that was very popular among all people in England in 1615. Brown also highlighted that by the middle of the 18th century another English cookery writer, Hannah Glasse, had a recipe called Scotch haggis, the haggis that we know today.

Brown believes that nationalists may have appropriated haggis as a symbol of Scottish nationhood in the 18th century after the country lost its own monarchy and parliament following the treaty of union. Brown also claims that the word haggis is also of English origin.
James Macsween, director of Macsween’s, the award-winning Edinburgh haggis-maker, said that whatever its origin, the pudding would remain a Scottish icon. I agree, wherever it’s origins the Scots have truly made the haggis their own – afterall where else would you hear of the Vegetarian haggis, haggis pakora and haggis samosa. Scotland of course! To read more, click here.


  1. i really enjoy the vegetarian (of course) haggis, in fact i have a tin in the cupboard that begs to be opened and served sometime soon.

  2. Hi
    I enjoy eating vegetarian haggis on those 'special occasions too', but I have never had it out of a tin. Mmm that is interesting.

  3. I don't like that woman much! Pah, I say! I also heard reports that it has been dated further back in other countries, although they don't make a song and dance about it. Why do the English always want to discredit us. I feel like saying to Catherine Brown - "Get a life!".

  4. Oh Jacqueline,
    Fortunately, I am Welsh - phew!
    I don't know what to say - but I hear you loud and clear.

  5. I saw that piece on the news and thought anybody of Scottish origin would not take it lightly!Wherever it came from it is now well and truly a Scottish tradition.


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