A stooshie (row) erupted over Catherine Brown’s investigation into the origins of haggis. She made it onto the airwaves, not just on national and regional programmes in Britain but also around the world. Sky TV news broadcast an interview live, with a mobile satellite transmitter parked outside her home.
The truth is that the habit of cooking the chopped innards of an animal in its stomach bag goes back to the beginnings of cookery. But its development in Britain has certainly taken some curious twists.
Most intriguing is the fact is that it was greatly loved by all classes in England for the best part of four centuries: then apparently rejected. So what happened in the middle of the 1700s which prompted English cookery writers to start naming it a Scotch Haggis? That’s the mystery.
It could be argued that the Scots were making better haggis than the English. Good Scotch Haggis appears in 1773 in Susanna McIver’s Cookery and Pastry. But it could also be argued that the 1700s found the Scots in rebellious mood. The catalyst in this scenario was Robert Burns, with his emotive rousing Address to the Haggis – raising haggis to national status in Scotland
Read the full story in the 2013 revised edition of ‘Scottish Cookery’.