Burns Night Supper

One of the advantages of living as an expat is being 
included in wonderful traditions from around the world. 

For the past few years, we have been a part of the Caledonian Balls in Lagos, 
so we were thrilled when a good 'Scottish' friend told us that she 
had brought haggis back in her suitcase!!  

It was all the motivation we needed to help create a Burns Night Supper.  :) 

January 25th is the birthday of the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796).  
Every year - on or around this date -  there are worldwide gatherings 
of Scots, celebrating the Bard's birthday.   People come together
 to pay tribute to the life, works and spirit of "Robbie" Burns.    

Five years after the death of Burns, a group of his friends gathered to fondly 
remember the poet.  The event soon became an established tradition.  
The first Burns Supper was held in 1801, so we carried on the 
tradition in Douala that has been ongoing worldwide for 215 years!! 

The evening began with John (our Scotsman) giving a welcome and
 introducing the evening.   

Richard (our other Scotsman) gave the traditional Selkirk Grace. 

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.

Then to the tune "Scotland the Brave", we piped in the Haggis.  

For those who aren't familiar with Haggis, it is the heart of a real Scottish 
meal - and crucial to Burns Night Suppers.  Haggis is a mixture of
 sheep's stomach stuffed with diced sheep's liver, lungs and heart along 
with oatmeal, onion, suet and seasonings.   If you can forget what 
you are eating, it is really tasty.  I had it in Scotland twice 
and liked it before I figured out what I was really eating.  :)  

As the bagpipes played, the Haggis was ceremoniously brought in on a
 silver tray by Richard and placed on the table.   

John did a great job with his "Address to the Haggis".  

Here's part of his 'Address" below in a short 1 minute video.  

John cut the Haggis and it was moved back to the kitchen for serving later. 

The Haggis was toasted with a dram of Scotch Whisky 
and signified the beginning of the meal.  

The first course was Cock-A-Leekie Soup with bread and butter.  
Cock-A-Leekie Soup contains chicken, broth, onions, leeks, carrots, thyme, 
parsley, rice or barley, salt & pepper and prunes (to add a sweet flavor).   
It was delicious!  

Somehow I missed taking a picture of the main plate with food!   
The dinner was Burns Night traditional and contained Haggis and 
minced (ground beef with seasonings and gravy), 
Neeps and Tatties (turnips and mashed potatoes), carrots 
and green peas.   It was a hearty dinner and 
every single bit was flavorful and fabulous.  
And yes, I ate the haggis!  :)  

However, the piéce de resîstance was the Sticky Toffee Pudding
 for dessert.  This is a decadent piece of deliciousness and one of 
my all time favorite desserts.  The pudding is made with dates so it is  
moist and tasty - but the caramel glaze just puts it over the TOP!   
We served it with ice cream (yum!)  followed by Scottish Shortbread
 and a cheese board.  We were stuffed - but very happy!  
Notice that I did NOT forget to take a picture of the dessert. :)    

As the night progressed, John kept the comments going and then turned it over to Peter.  

Peter did a Toast to the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns.  
He did a wonderful job telling us about the poet and capturing the spirit of the evening.  
"So simply and eloquently did Burns express his feelings
that they have become part of our everyday dialogue.
Without thinking we often use his words and thoughts.
How often while reading the morning papers have we
pondered "Man’s humanity to man" or resigned ourselves
 to the truth that "nae man can tether time or tide" or
 steeled ourselves with resolve to "Do or Die"?

Stewart read a "Red, Red, Rose" which was one of Burn's most famous poems.  

Richard recited "To a Mouse" in his Scottish Brogue, which was mesmerizing.  

Charles did a toast to the Lassies (women), 
which was comical and an ode to the "fairer sex".  

Laura did the Reply to the Toast to the Lassies, 
followed by Janet reading a poem which showed appreciation for the Laddies (men).  

It was a wonderful evening and no one wanted it to end.  
We moved the party to the photo Booth.  
The sign above says Haggis, Neeps & Tatties along with a picture of Robert Burns.  
  We enjoyed our international crowd.  

 Madhu and Rudra  from Calcutta, India 

Andrea from Germany - Reuben from Spain 

Laura from Washington DC and Stewart from North Carolina (and Washington DC) 

Sue and Peter from England 

Charles and Janet  (Texas) 

Thao (Vietnam) and Thomas (France) 

Joanne and John - Aberdeen (area), Scotland 

Leila (Algeria), Peter (England), Kelly (Texas) 

Veronica (Singapore) and Richard (Scotland) 

The Laddies looking debonair.

And the Lassies enjoying the evening.  

The group shot cut off a few people, but this was the best one that we had.   :) 
In true Highland fashion, the evening wouldn't 
have been complete without Scottish Country Dancing.  
With lively music, we danced to 'Strip the Willow" 
and had plenty of laughs along the way.   
It was so fun! 
At the end of the evening,  still following Burns night traditions, 
we concluded by singing "Auld Lang Syne" - complete with a rousing 
ending by our resistant Scots.  

So in the middle of West/Central Africa, 
in French-speaking Douala, Cameroon, 
we celebrated a Scottish tradition
 along with 19 friends from the USA, France, 
Vietnam, Germany, Spain, India, England, 
Algeria, Singapore and Scotland.   

What an experience!  


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