There isn’t a more traditionally Scottish dish than good ‘ol haggis, which is the heart, liver and lungs of a sheep minced with some stuff to make it taste better (mostly onions, oatmeal and spices) before it’s stuffed into a sheep’s stomach. Those guys have the drinking horn spirit for sure – they don’t let any part of the animal go to waste! But new claims have been coming to light that have us asking – did the Vikings invent haggis?
Robert Burns described the traditional Scottish supper as haggis, “neeps at tatties” (some root veggies and potatoes) and a dram of Scotch whiskey. A fine heritage indeed, but does that heritage actually belong to the Scots? A master butcher from the UK says neinn – it was the Vikings who were first responsible for this magnificent innovation.
Joe Calligan, who has been a butcher since he became an apprentice under his dad at age 10, claims that Scotland’s traditional use of a sheep to make haggis is wrong – it was originally done using venison by the Vikings. Joe uses strong words, calling Scotland’s national dish an “imposter.” He says the dish should actually be called “staggis,” as haggis must be made the Viking way using deer, which are indigenous to the area (whereas sheep are purportedly not).
“Scotland’s national dish, as it is widely known, is an imposter. The real national dish is staggis, and always has been.” – Joe the Scottish butcher
Joe’s comments are certainly causing a ruckus, but is there any truth to them?
Joe says a friend of his who has done a lot of research on the topic convinced him of haggis’ true origins. There you have it, Joe’s friend says so – it must be true.
Is there really any reason haggis can’t be both a Viking import and the national dish of Scotland?