London, Aug 3 (ANI): A leading food historian claims that the haggis, a very popular dish made from a mixture of oatmeal, liver, heart, and lungs, was invented by the English and not the Scottish.
Catherine Brown discovered references to the dish in a recipe book dated 1615, 'The English Hus-wife' by Gervase Markham', which was published at least 171 years before Robert Burns penned his poem Address to a Haggis.
Brown found that the first time the Scottish haggis was mentioned was in 1747, showing that the dish had originated south of the Border, and was later copied from English books, with the word also being of Brit origin.
"It was originally an English dish. In 1615, Gervase Markham says that it is very popular among all people in England," the Telegraph quoted Brown, whose findings feature in a TV documentary broadcast this week, as saying.
"By the middle of the 18th century another English cookery writer, Hannah Glasse, has a recipe that she calls Scotch haggis, the haggis that we know today," she said.
But reference to haggis in a 1771 novel by Tobias Smollett, 'The Expedition of Humphry Clinker', showed that it was considered a Scottish dish by the late 18th century.
"I am not yet Scotchman enough to relish their singed sheep's head and haggis," the English hero of the story was quoted as saying.
Brown 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.
"There was a latching onto everything that was distinctive about Scotland, and Burns had identified the dish in such an evocative way," she stated.
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.
"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," he said.
"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," he added. (ANI)