But on Saturday, Groundhog Day, 254 years and 8 days since wee Rab was born, two Scots, one Frenchman, and eight Americans got together to eat haggis, drink whisky and mangle vowels. The Lion Rampant was flying at the Ugliest House in California. I don't think I've ever seen it in sunshine before. It's quite garish.
It was a wonderful gathering, but here's a behind-the--scenes look at how it all very nearly went horribly wrong.
It has been said of me that I never knowingly under-cater; the first sign of trouble came when I looked at the haggis ingredients mixed so far + the four humungous onions still to go + the liquor (sounds nicer than the water the liver was boiled in, eh?) + the note in the recipe to leave plenty room for oatmeal expansion . . .
. . . and couldn't help but notice that I needed a bigger basin. Horrors! The rhubarb and ginger trifle (half-made) was in the bigger basin! What to do? Two haggises? A thirty mile round trip to the Bigger Basin Shop? Clean out a wheelbarrow and wing it?
Or . . . was it possible? Could it be done? Dare we try the world's first recorded trifle transplant?
A fish slice, a spatula, a skimming spoon and a salad server. Hold your breath and-
Oof! Transplant successful. Trifle in smaller basin. Bigger basin free for haggis. There's three things to note, though:
- We should have made two wee ones. There was a heecher of a hiatus after the cock-a-leekie waiting for a five pound haggis to steam. Mind you, extra drinking time.
- The transplant was pre-custard. Post-custard trifle transplants are still only theoretical.
- Once the cream was on, the basin was a wee tiny bit full.
After that, our Burns supper was plain sailing. We found enough forks and glasses for everyone:
the Selkirk Grace by Ruisheart McHoenisch, The Toast to The Lassies' by Andy "William" Wallace, The Lassies' Reply by Eibhliin McRendahl and Icy-Highland-Spring McWarren and The Immortal Memory by Black Douglas McRoberts were fantastic.
And the only mystery was what, in a room full of such clean living Californians, happened to all the whisky?
Well, some of it, and a quite a lot of claret too, ended up in here:
It's what Rab would have wanted.