The Bobby Burns Supper Night is coming up on the anniversary of his birthday on January 25. He was born on January 25, 1759. The supper night is celebration of his poetry and songs.
“Robert Burns was born on 25 January 1759 in the village of Alloway, two miles south of Ayr. His parents, Willian Burnes[s] and Agnes Broun, were tenant farmers but they ensured their son received a relatively good education and he began to read avidly. The works of Alexander Pope, Henry Mackenzie and Laurence Sterne fired Burns’s poetic impulse and relationships with the opposite sex provided his inspiration. Handsome Nell, for Nellie Kilpatrick, was his first song. [robertburns.org]”
According to Wikipedia,
Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796), also known as Rabbie Burns, the Bard of Ayrshire, Ploughman Poet and various other names and epithets, was a Scottish poet and lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a light Scots dialect, accessible to an audience beyond Scotland. He also wrote in standard English, and in these writings his political or civil commentary is often at its bluntest.[robertburns.org]
He died July 25, 1796 at the age of 37. So why is he so famous?
“The Ploughman poet. Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect – The Kilmarnock Edition. The main reason Burns is so popular today is because of the themes and language of everyday life that he used. His poems were humorous and he used small subjects to express big ideas. [robertburns.org]
So, you say, what prose or poetry did he write that I might know? Try Auld Lang Syne But the poetry that I like best is,
O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June:
O my Luve’s like the melodie,
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.
And fare-thee-weel, my only Luve!
And fare-thee-weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ ’twere ten thousand mile!”
You can find a list and links to his works at Robert Burns Works.
OK. But what about the party? The dinner or supper?
“The annual celebratory tribute to the life, works and spirit of the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796). Celebrated on, or about, the Bard’s birthday, January 25th, Burns Suppers range from stentoriously formal gatherings of esthetes and scholars to uproariously informal rave-ups of drunkards and louts. Most Burns Suppers fall in the middle of this range, and adhere, more or less, to some sort of time honoured form which includes the eating of a traditional Scottish meal, the drinking of Scotch whisky, and the recitation of works by, about, and in the spirit of the Bard.
Every Burns Supper has its own special form and flavour, though there are probably more similarities than differences among these gastro-literary affairs. Individual tastes and talents will determine the character of your Burns Supper. Some celebrants may contribute the composition of original songs or poems; some may excel at giving toasts or reciting verse; while others may be captivating storytellers. A particular group of celebrants will, over time, develop a unique group character which will distinguish their Burns Supper celebration from every other.” [robertburns.org]
Let’s start here –
There’s nane that’s blest of human kind,
But the cheerful and the gay, man,
Fal, la, la, &c.
Here’s a bottle and an honest friend!
What wad ye wish for mair, man?
Wha kens, before his life may end,
What his share may be o’ care, man?
Then catch the moments as they fly,
And use them as ye ought, man:
Believe me, happiness is shy,
And comes not aye when sought, man.
from Burns Night: My Supper With Rabbie
Is there that o’re his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scronful’ view
On sic a dinner? [robertburns.org]
Here is one recipe for the traditional supper.
2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. shortening
5-6 T. ice water
1 and 1/2 lean steak (flank or round)
4 tsp. butter (or suet)
1 onion- finely diced
1 carrot- finely diced
salt and pepper
1. Sauté vegetables in the butter until soft
2. Slice meat into very long thin slices, on the diagonal. Cut into pieces 1 inch long. Mix with sautéed veggies. Salt and pepper to taste.
3. Roll out pastry and cut into 4″-5″ circles. Arrange meat on top, brush edges with egg wash, fold over and crimp together. Slit a hole in each pie. Egg wash tops if desired. Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Makes 10-12 small pies.
For the rest of the Bobby Burns Supper Menu, including Cullen Skink (haddock), Bridies (recipe above), The (Bagless) Haggis and Neeps and Tatties (turnips and potatoes), follow this like – Burns Supper Recipes [robertburns.org].