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Building the Perfect Meal With Sheep Lungs and a Suitcase

We can get Scrapple down here (haven't tried it yet though), but I've never tried Haggis either. :001_rolle

However, to go with your wee-bit of Haggis...will they also serve 'neeps and tatties' tommorow


By David Yaffe-Bellany - New York Times - 24 Jan 2020

"Some smugglers drive it across the border from Canada. Others sneak it through airports or send it in the mail, wrapping the contraband in T-shirts and towels to deceive the authorities. A few even make it at home.

But this is no international drug ring. It is the black market for Scottish haggis, a savory pudding of boiled sheep innards wrapped in a sheep’s stomach.

On Saturday, Scots across the world will dine on haggis to celebrate the birthday of Robert Burns, the 18th-century Scottish poet. But for haggis purists in the United States, celebrating Burns Night can be a challenge. Since the 1970s, the Department of Agriculture’s food-safety division has banned the sale of sheep lungs, which give traditional haggis its distinctive crumbly texture.


Many of the millions of Americans with Scottish ancestry have happily settled for an increasingly wide array of lung-less haggis (or, repulsed by the thought of eating sheep innards, avoided the dish entirely).

For decades, however, a small but impassioned contingent has resorted to illicit methods to bring authentic haggis onto American soil, motivated by a commitment to tradition and a fondness for the taste and texture of boiled lung.

“If people want something, they’re going to get it,” said Patrick Angus Carr, the chairman of the New York branch of the Saint Andrew’s Society, a Scottish heritage group. “How much cocaine and fentanyl is smuggled into the country every day?”

Some of the haggis smugglers are ordinary expats nostalgic for a taste of home. Others are butchers or even famous chefs. Nick Nairn, a celebrity chef in Scotland, made his name in the 1990s as the youngest Scot to win a Michelin star, and once cooked birthday lunch for Queen Elizabeth.


Haggis, neeps and tatties Timbale

But he has also engaged in occasional freelance haggis smuggling. For three years in the mid-2000s, Mr. Nairn brought haggis into New York for a wealthy client’s Burns Night celebration, packing the sausage into a black, hard-shell suitcase.

Twice, he made it through the airport without a hitch. But even the best-laid schemes of haggis smugglers can quickly go awry. On his third trip, Mr. Nairn, groggy and hung over after a few too many glasses of wine on the plane, noticed an airport sniffer dog running toward his bag.

“You just kind of crap yourself, because it’s officialdom, and obviously you’ve done something wrong,” Mr. Nairn said in a recent interview. “You don’t muck about in the U.S. when it comes to that sort of stuff.”

Mr. Nairn’s haggis was confiscated — and later incinerated, an airport official told him — but he avoided a fine.

Such incidents are common in the haggis black market. The full extent of the smuggling is unclear, but anecdotal evidence suggests that a fair number of Americans have crossed the border into Canada to buy haggis made with lungs. (While the use and importation of animal lungs are banned in Canada, some butchers there have been known to sell authentic haggis anyway.)


Others have gone further: slaughtering a lamb themselves, then extracting the lungs and making haggis at home.

Over the last four years, United States customs officials have seized around 17,300 “ruminant byproducts” at airports across the country and land crossings along the Canadian border — a total that includes haggis as well as other types of animal imports, including certain goat and elk products, according to agency records.

That figure is a small fraction of the more than 1.4 million agricultural products confiscated at those same ports of entry since 2015. But at least some illicit haggis makes it past American authorities. Paul Bradshaw, a Toronto butcher who learned his trade from a “haggis master” in Scotland, said he had sold authentic haggis to hundreds of Americans.

Read More: Haggis

Haggis.jpg "[Haggis:] Fair and full is your honest, jolly face, the great chieftain of the sausage race...". Robert Burns
 
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I like scrapple, but have never tried haggis. I would if the opportunity presented itself. Great story about the confiscation customs.

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DoctorShavegood

Ambassador
Try and send Texas honey to New Zealand and see what happens. Yep, they sent official letters to the un-named B&B recipient with 10 lessons in biology and global warming....what!!!. I think it was all an excuse to eat my Texas honey in the New Zealand customs break room. I bet they ate it on Texas toast.
 

cleanshaved

The Meat Poisoner
Moderator
Try and send Texas honey to New Zealand and see what happens. Yep, they sent official letters to the un-named B&B recipient with 10 lessons in biology and global warming....what!!!. I think it was all an excuse to eat my Texas honey in the New Zealand customs break room. I bet they ate it on Texas toast.
I've go a feeling that I've heard this story before.
 

Alacrity59

Moderator Emeritus
A Scot friend of mine launched into a story one day at lunch. Now he had a pretty thick accent. Kind of like Billy Connolly. He took his time so we Canadians could understand what he was saying.

He told us how the Haggis was made from special sheep from the highlands. Apparently they were very hard to catch as they had evolved to have their legs on one side longer than the other, which made them very quick on the mountains. Almost impossible to catch until one smart man figured it out and started chasing them from the other direction.

I don't do this justice. A better story has seldom been heard.
 

oc_in_fw

Contributor
A Scot friend of mine launched into a story one day at lunch. Now he had a pretty thick accent. Kind of like Billy Connolly. He took his time so we Canadians could understand what he was saying.

He told us how the Haggis was made from special sheep from the highlands. Apparently they were very hard to catch as they had evolved to have their legs on one side longer than the other, which made them very quick on the mountains. Almost impossible to catch until one smart man figured it out and started chasing them from the other direction.

I don't do this justice. A better story has seldom been heard.
Where the men are men and the sheep are scared. :)
 
Hmm, I thought it was Montana where men were men and sheep were nervous. :001_unsur
My sheep are mostly used keep the grass mowed (so I don't have to) and help train dogs.
 
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