The Offal Truth
The Offal Truth
By:, Categories: Words & Images, Comments Off on The Offal Truth



Haggis has had a bad press.  But if you are not a veggie, what’s wrong with haggis?  Lots of national cuisines offer offal to create great dishes.  But there is, perhaps, just something about haggis – could it be the ingredients?  Surely not, because, after all, as Groundskeeper Willie (while manning his very desolate ‘Fine Scottish Cuisine’ school fair stall in an episode of The Simpsons) said : “Get yer haggis, right here. Chopped heart and lungs boiled in a wee sheep’s stomach. Taste’s as good as it sounds.”


Smuggled and bootlegged, haggis has been the cause of transatlantic tensions for over two decades. But now, after almost 25 years in exile, there’s moves afoot to reverse the ban and once again allow it back on the menu in the United States. “Mmmmm!”, I hear all my American readers saying in unison. The again, if the truth be told, perhaps not.


The “great chieftain o’ the puddin-race” was one of the earliest casualties of the BSE crisis of the 1980s-90s, banned on health grounds by the US authorities in 1989 because they feared its main ingredient ‑ minced sheep offal ‑ could prove lethal. Butchers in the US have tried, and failed, to make their own versions of it without using the vital ingredient: sheep.  And on many a Burns’ night stateside, I’ve had to put up with the US version, which is made from beef and is not so much offal but more like bloody awful.


I even once risked being issued with an orange onesie and packed off to Guantanamo by attempting to smuggle the “hard stuff” in for our sadly deprived American cousins – but the US customs officers in Seattle confiscated my haggis. Taking no chances, they then took it out to the runway and shot it five times before dousing it with petrol (it has to be true, it was printed in a book and a national newspaper – click here and scroll down to Chieftain’s end). 


Leica M3 & 50mm Summilux V2
Kodak Tri-X (200)
HC-110 (Dil.B – 1:31 – 6.30 min)
Plustek 7600i & Vuescan