Historian Says Haggis 'Invented' In England
A LEADING food historian has risked the wrath of Scots worldwide by suggesting that the Haggis is, in fact not Scottish, but was "invented" in England and hijacked by Scottish nationalists.
Catherine Brown has discovered references to the dish in a recipe book dated 1615, The English Hus-wife by Gervase Markham.
This was published at least 171 years before Robert Burns penned his poem Address to a Haggis, which made the delicacy famous, reported the Daily Telegraph.
The first mention she could find of Scottish haggis was in 1747, indicating that the dish originated south of the Border and was later copied from English books.
Brown, a Scot, believes that Scottish nationalists may have appropriated haggis as a symbol of their nationhood in the decades following the Act of Union with England in 1707.
"It seems to be that there's an identity thing there. We'd lost our monarchy, we'd lost our parliament and we gained our haggis," she said.
She said Burns claimed the pudding as Scottish with his poem in 1786 because it was a thrifty contrast to the elaborate and pretentious French cuisine popular in Edinburgh at the time.
James Macsween, director of Macsween's, the award-winning Edinburgh haggis-maker, said that whatever its origin, the pudding would remain a Scottish icon.
He said: "This is certainly a revelation to me, but haggis is now renowned as Scotland's dish largely due to Robert Burns, who made it famous.
"That's not to say that prior to Burns that haggis wasn't eaten in England, but Scotland has done a better job of looking after it. I didn't hear Shakespeare writing a poem about haggis."