"Haggis has been considered Scotland's national dish ever since a poem by her native son, Robert Burns, in 1787, titled "Address to a Haggis"."
How I did it: To put it simply, a haggis is a sheep's stomach stuffed with minced sheep lung, heart, liver and other organs mixed with chopped onion, oatmeal, spices, salt and broth, then simmered in boiling water for three hours. It is traditionally served with "neeps and tatties" (Scots for rutabaga and potato) which are boiled and mashed separately. Also, tradition calls for a dram of Scotch whiskey to drink with your haggis.
I first saw haggis on Andrew Zimmern's "Bizarre Foods" TV program. He was in Edinburgh visiting the city's oldest and best known haggis restaurant. He seemed to be enjoying it so much, discussing it with the chef, and describing its making. He made me want to give it a try, but where was I going to find it?
Luckily, I have friends in Edinburgh. One of them is a fellow 43Thinger, Dr Ram Babu, who visited me in Tokyo. He kindly offered to send me a haggis. It was cooked and refrigerated, so all I'd have to do is warm it up. He took it to his local FedEx office, paid the shipping, and off it went. He gave me its tracking number so I could follow it. Every day, I checked its progress. After a day in Scotland, it was trucked to London where it spent a day before flying to Paris (Lucky haggis). While in France, it visited three locations, then flew to New Delhi (I've never been there). After a day in India, it flew to Shanghai (Another place I've never been). From China, it was flown to Narita Airport outside of Tokyo, then trucked into Tokyo. Here, the haggis encountered a problem. It seems its description was "insufficient", so it was trucked back to Narita. I called FedEx in Tokyo and asked what the problem was. They were unsure and asked me what a haggis was. When I told them, they said, "Aha, it's got meat in it." I said that's true, but sheep, not beef. They told me that any meat product is unacceptable, no matter the animal, and that it could not be delivered. It would have to be shipped back to the sender. I asked what route it would take upon its return trip and was told that it would probably return via Alaska to London, then trucked back to Edinburgh.
On the one hand, I am very disappointed that I could not receive my haggis and enjoy its imagined deliciousness. But on the other hand, I cannot help but feel happy for the haggis. It circumnavigated the world, visiting exotic locations where I have never been, and returned to the land of its birth without being consumed by a foreigner in a foreign land. Therefore, I console myself with my dram of Scotch, raise it high, and salute the little haggis that saw the world. Cheers, my bonnie haggis.
Lessons & tips: Before shipping (or asking someone to ship) something of questionable nature, check the import rules of the country.
Resources: Bizarre Foods, a good friend in Scotland, a tracking number.
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