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Despite being Scotland’s national dish, experts reckon it was first cooked up in the kitchens of Richard II’s medieval court at Westminster Hall, now the seat of the British Parliament. This would mean it was created four centuries before Robert Burns wrote Address To A Haggis.
According to long lost records, it only became popular in Scotland in the late 18th century because the ingredients were cheap and much of the country had been plunged into poverty.
In 2009 Glasgow food historian Catherine Brown caused a national stir when she found apparent haggis references in a 1615 cookbook called The English Hus-Wife.
Robert Burns wrote Address to a Haggis – his first published poem – 171 years later in December 1786.
Now a haggis-type recipe has been found in an even earlier book from 1390, called The Forme of Cury, by The Chief Master Cooks to Richard II.
Then called raysols, the recipe called for grated meat to be cooked in a pig’s caul.
Some 40 years later, the word “haggis” (or “Hagws”) first appeared in a Middle English recipe.
Food historian Peter Brears said: “Haggis is a good English dish. The modern whisky-soaked image has been manufactured, owing more to romantic patriotism than historical reality.
“Haggis is an English dish the Scots decided to take on when they decided they needed a national identity. It was made in England from the 1420s through to the late 19th century.
“Its supposedly Scottish character was invented as part of a Romantic revival in the reign of George IV.”
Edinburgh haggis-maker Mac-sween’s, said: “Haggis is renowned as Scotland’s dish largely due to Robert Burns, who made it famous. That’s not to say that, prior to Burns, haggis wasn’t eaten in England.
“But Scotland has done a better job of looking after it. I didn’t hear of Shakespeare writing a poem about haggis.”
Bullish boss James Macsween added: “We have just had a record month. This entry from Richard II’s days… is it sausage or a haggis – no one is quite sure.”
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