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How To Throw A Burns Supper At Home

How To Throw A Burns Supper At Home

Hey there, bonnie lads and lassies! Gillian here, your go-to gal for all things splendidly Scottish. Today, as Burns Night (the 25th Jan) approaches, we are exploring all things Burns Supper.

Perhaps this Burns Night you are cooking your own haggis from scratch to entertain a fancily decked out table full of pals. Or maybe, like me, you’ll be grabbing some Macsween's haggis from the local Co-Op for a quick nod to Rabbie on a busy school night (I like to think that this is how the man himself rolled, back in his day).

Either way, I hope you can take some inspo from my infographic above - How To Throw a Burns Supper at Home - but remember keep things simple, easy and - most important - fun!

Get Your Kilt On

Let's face it, a Burns Supper without tartan is like haggis without neeps and tatties – just not the real deal! Encourage your guests to embrace their inner Scot by donning their tartan best. And for those not quite ready to flash their be-kilted knees, a wee tartan scarf, hankie or even socks will do the trick. I’ll even take Harris tweed, Argyle pattern or a See You Jimmy hat at a push. Fashion-forward and culturally on point – you're welcome! 

Bagpipes or Bust

Nothing says "Burns Supper" like the stirring notes of the pipes. It's the auditory equivalent of a dram of a rare single malt – warming, with just a hint of rebellion. But don’t worry, if you have no piper to hand, Spotify will provide. Eddi Reader Sings the Songs of Robert Burns is a great starting place for some serious mood music for the proceedings.

Address to a Haggis

A few years ago one of my offspring played the role of chef and paraded the haggis to the table on a platter. Events took an unplanned and very amusing turn when the Great Chieftain o' The Puddin' Race rolled off the platter and made a short-lived bid for freedom under the table! Decorum was soon restored and the cheeky wee haggis got his comeuppance in the Address to a Haggis.

Address to a Haggis is a wonderfully fun and rousing poem and a real delight to recite. If the assigned reciter needs any help on the delivery, check out John Gordon Sinclair's rendition on the BBC Works of Robert Burns. I defy you to listen to this and not feel hungry! 

Getting Everyone Involved

Giving each of your Burns Supper guests (even if it’s just the family) a role to play really creates a sense of occasion and bonhomie. 

 To a Mouse or To a Louse are brilliant poems for children to read out and lots of fun for all. Tam O 'Shanter, although long, moves along at a cracking pace and is so much fun to recite. Don’t stress about learning anything off by heart (unless you really want to); there’s no harm in reading from a book or even your phone or iPad.

Whisky Galore

A final word, on the essential topic of refreshments. Not many drinks could stand up next to and complement the taste and texture of haggis. Enter the mighty Scotch!  Whilst a number of fine single malts provide an equal measure of pepperiness and oiliness to match the haggis, that bottle of Whyte & Mackay languishing in your cupboard will do just as well for a wee dram. And don’t forget our other national drink (IRN-BRU of course) for for the drivers, non-drinkers and kids!

For Auld Lang Syne

So there you have it, my fellow revellers – the ultimate guide to hosting a Burns Supper that would make Rabbie himself proud. Have fun, re-engage with the spirit of Burns and try not to drop the haggis. Slàinte mhath!


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