Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Appetizers and haggis

My daughter Jordan had a happy hour party for her girlfriends on her patio tonight and kindly invited Betty and me. Betty worried about her hairdo after a day of gardening, but I assured her the girls would never notice us old ladies. Everyone brings an appetizer--and there were some delicious things. Artichoke dip, cold cuts and cheese, a stunning vegetable tray, a casserole thing with tomato sauce over the top, a shrimp and pasta dip. We ate heartily--more than enough for dinner. Appetizers are, to me, a satisfying meal. I like a taste of this and a taste of that.
The other night I watched one of those chef face-offs on Food Network. This wasn't Iron Chef but a show called Chopped. Contestants, all established chefs, were given a basket of ingredients for each of three courses--appetizer, entree, and dessert. The requirement was that within 30 minutes they create a dish using all ingredients. The appetizer basket contained two items I remember clearly--some kind of fruity cereal loops (like Fruit Loops only not) and canned haggis. Robert Irwin, raised in England, knew about haggis though he balked at the fruit loops; Anne Burrell complained that it smelled like dog food. But they were innovative, making haggis pate and haggis patties, etc.
Haggis, in case you don't know, is a traditional Scottish dish, often piped in with great ceremony. Even Scots either love it or hate it. It basically consists of organ meats--liver, heart, lungs--mixed with spices and oatmeal--the steel-cut kind, not Quaker rolled oats) and baked inside a sheep stomach. I have tasted it--once, at a St. Andrew's dinner--and while it wasn't awful, I wasn't ready for seconds.
But I've heard that haggis, made fresh in Scotland, is a whole different thing and quite good. Hmmm--am I ready for that? If it comes in small servings, I'll probably try a bit. I know my kids won't touch it. What I'm really hoping to find in Scotland is kidneys and bacon for breakfast. Wonder if they have ketchup?

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