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25th Jan 2021

Haggis is English, not Scottish, historian claims

Wayne Farry

This will go down very well north of the border

When we think of Scottish cuisine, our minds naturally go to one dish: haggis. Yes, deep fried Mars bars are most definitely a dish we all try when we travel to Scotland, but the one true national dish is that rather delicious combination of liver, heart, lungs, oatmeal and suet.

But one historian, the Scotsman has reported, is pouring scorn on Scotland’s claim to the dish, insisting that it is a “really good English dish” which Scotland took on as their own “when they needed a national identity”.

“Haggis is a really good English dish,” said historian Peter Brears, the author of Traditional Food In Northumbria.

“The earliest recipes are from 1390 from a book called The Forme of Cury, which means ‘the art of cooking’.

“Haggis is an English dish that the Scots decided they would take on when they needed a national identity.

“The association of haggis as the Scottish national dish is really a product of the Scottish revival of the 1820s.”

Now, ignoring the irony of an English historian suggesting that another country had appropriated something belonging to England, Brears’ comments do appear to overlook the very nature of food, and how it evolves.

For example, chicken tikka masala is Britain’s national dish, but no one pretends that it originated in an east London cafe. It is, instead, acknowledged to be a dish which probably originated in the Indian subcontinent, before being popularised by Britain’s south Asian community.

We’re sure Mr. Brears is away of this, so perhaps he’s just trying to wind Scottish people up.