It’s become something of an annual event. Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MP likes to celebrate his Scottish ancestry on or around Robbie Burns Day by bringing a haggis to various locations in his riding. Last Sunday, one of those locations was the Lions Hall in Verona.
With temperatures dipping below -20 C, the turnout was noticeably down from last year but there were still enough guests to make it a worthwhile outing on a cold winter’s day.
Reid acknowledged the weather, saying it “was a challenge for everybody” and noting that piper Steve Brook had the furthest to come.
Things started off with pancakes, sausage, bacon and beans and then the guest of honour was piped in with all due pomp and circumstance. For the record, Central Frontenac Coun. Brent Cameron carved the haggis while Reid read the Burns poem, Address to a Haggis, written in 1787.
For the uninitiated, a haggis is a “pudding” made from sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onions, oatmeal, liver, suet and spices, including salt and mixed with stock. All of this is encased in the sheep’s stomach although artificial casing is often used now instead.
It is often served with “neeps & tatties” (turnips and potatoes mashed separately) and a dram of scotch whiskey.
However, on this particular occasion, the companion dish was ‘haggis perogies’ provided by Barb McLaren, who claims invention of the dish due to her Polish background and Scottish husband.
For Reid, Burns carries special significance, as he does for most people with Scottish heritage. For one thing, Burns and Reid share a birthday, Jan. 25.
“Robbie Burns is special for a lot of reasons,” Reid said. “He was a wonderful poet who was funny, irreverent and could make you cry at times.
“If you’re Scottish, you’re exploring your culture.”