Although customarily associated with Scotland, a kind of haggis is referred to in Homer's Odyssey, ( written towards the end of the 8th Century BC) And the Ancient Romans were known to have made products of the haggis type.
Also, the first recorded recipe in English for Haggis comes from Lancashire and not, as you may expect, Scotland. From about 1430, the Liber Cure Cocorum is written in Middle English in the dialect of North-West Lancashire, and the recipes are presented in verse form (possibly as a mnemonic device, to help the cook remember them).
The recipe for Hagese (Haggis) reads: -
The heart of sheep, the kidneys you take,
Through the bowel naught you shall forsake,
In the turbulence made, and boiled well,
Hack all together with good parsley,
Hyssop, savory, you shall take then,
And suet of sheep take in, I teach,
With powder of pepper and eggs [a] good quantity,
And seethe it well and serve it then,
Look it is salted for good men.
In winter time when herbs been good,
Take powder of them I know indeed,
As savory, mint and thyme, quite good,
Hyssop and sage I know by the Rood.
Popular Scottish folklore provides one theory that the dish originates from the days of the old Scottish cattle drovers. When the men left the highlands to drive their cattle to market in Edinburgh the women would prepare rations for the long journey down through the glens. They used the ingredients most readily available, and conveniently packaged them in a sheep's stomach allowing for easy transportation during the journey.
Other speculations have been based on Scottish slaughtering practices. When a Chieftain or Laird required an animal to be slaughtered for meat (whether sheep or cattle) the workmen were allowed to keep the offal as their share.
As a result of Robert Burns' poem Address to a Haggis of 1787, the haggis is considered the national dish of Scotland .
Haggis is traditionally served with "neeps and tatties" (Scots: turnip and potato, boiled and mashed separately), especially as the main course of a Burns supper.
Nice seeing your honest, chubby face,
Great chieftain of the sausage race!
Above them all you take your place,
Belly, tripe, or links:
Well are you worthy of a grace
As long as my arm.
Apparently, stuffing chopped heart, liver, and lungs into a sheep's stomach and boiling it, although convenient and ingenious, didn't appeal to everyone. So, methods of disguising it, have arisen...........
Regardless, of how it is prepared, it remains a much cherished tradition.
Then there is the OTHER haggis!
A "Haggis" is a small Scottich animal with one set of legs longer than the other so that it can stand on the steep Scottish Highlands without falling over. Unfortunately this results in the poor creature only being able to circle the mountain in one direction.
For centuries Scotland has prided itself on the abundant numbers of Wild Haggis or Haggi but sadly these numbers are in decline. The ban on Wild Haggis hunting has come almost too late, but with
the introduction of Haggis Farms, this has cut down on the consumption of Wild Haggi. However, Poachers have been hunting the Wild Haggi and exporting them to Japan where they are made into "Scottish Sushi".
In an attempt to preserve the wild Haggis in it natural habitat, several sanctuaries have been set up. These are self funded by the sale of "Hagpoo". Hagpoo is the made from the droppings of the Haggis mixed with 3 other natural ingredients (Thistle sap, Scotch mist and a secret ingredient). This mixture is processed into 'bricks' and then fire treated for 3 days. Hagpoo is said to burn 3 times as hot as coal and lasts 5 times longer.
And if you believe all this,
I think there's some swamp land for sale in Florida!
Sorry there aren't really Haggis critters.