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Great Scott! Celebrate Scottish poet Robert Burns with verse and haggis

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It’s Burns, baby, Burns!

You can explore Scottish culture through the country’s most famous foods at “Burns Night,” a celebration of the 18th century Scottish poet Robert Burns held at Greenpoint’s Museum of Food and Drink on Jan. 25, the poet’s birthday. One of the chief foods in the United Kingdom’s northernmost country is haggis — a puree of intestines and spices encased in an animal’s stomach lining. Outside of its native land, the dish is not known for its appeal, but taste is one of the best ways to learn about another culture, said the event’s organizer.

“It does not sound like the most appealing thing, but apparently it tastes delicious. I will probably be forced to taste it,” said Anna Orchard, who lives in Sunset Park. “But that’s what we do — push people to challenge themselves to think about food and culture. Our audience is very excited about that.”

The evening will kick off with a procession of bagpipers, led by Pipe Major Patrick Duffy, and the traditional Selkirk Grace, a prayer that pays tribute to Burns — the man behind the iconic New Year’s Eve song “Auld Lang Syne,” along with many other poems in the Scots dialect.

Guests can also sample several varieties of Johnnie Walker Scotch whiskey, accompanied by a guided tour through the history of the liquor by expert Darron Foy, said Orchard.

“[He’ll be] taking people through the culture and history of whiskey in Scotland and how it’s different than whiskey in America,” she said.

And the Williamsburg museum’s in-house Scottish chef John Hutt will serve up several other traditional foods native to his homeland, including black pudding — a blood sausage dish — and Scotch eggs — hard-boiled eggs wrapped in sausage meat, coated in breadcrumbs, and baked or deep-fried.

And Hutt will also cook up some dishes designed for those who do not eat meat, said Orchard, including the country’s most iconic meal.

“Vegetarian haggis — he’s making that with vegetables rather than stomach lining and things like that,” she said.

The event is a perfect way to explore a different country, and get out of your comfort zone by trying foods other than the typical American grub, said Orchard.

“It emphasizes our tag line — food is culture,” she said. “This program is really the perfect blend of learning about a culture through food.”

Burns Night at the Museum of Food and Drink (62 Bayard St. between Lorimer and Leonard streets in Greenpoint, www.mofad.org). Jan. 25 at 6:30 pm. $30.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Posted 12:00 am, January 19, 2018
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