Burns Supper Menu

  Burns Supper Menu  

The Traditional Burns Supper Menu

Robert Burns was born in Alloway in the parish of Ayr in the south west of Scotland on 25th January 1759.

His birth is traditionally celebrated around the world with a Burns Night Supper on or as near as possible to the 25th January. Its an event quite unlike any other in its full form comprising pipes, prayers, poetry, songs, speeches and the ritual slicing of a steaming haggis. And sometimes kilts are worn too.

Here is the usual running order of a Burns Supper with brief explanatory notes. Please follow the links below for further information.

Once all the guests are gathered the supper usually starts with the host reciting Burns Selkirk Grace.

Burns Supper menu: consists of a first course is then served: traditionally Cullen Skink or Cock-a-Leekie soup.

The Piping of the Haggis
When the first course is finished and cleared away the main course, the haggis or pudden is ceremoniously brought to the table preceded by a piper playing Brose and Butter or some other light Scots tune. The haggis on its groaning trencher is laid before the host.

Address to a Haggis
A previously designated guest (ideally one possessing verve) then recites Burns famous poem at the haggis. This humorous, earthy poem is, of course, the raison dtre for the haggis taking pride of place on the menu.

The poem ends with the reader enthusiastically slicing open the haggis with a knife (or, if in possession of one, a ceremonial dirk). The main course is then served, traditionally with neeps and tatties (turnips/swede and mashed potatoes) and accompanied by wine, beer or whisky.

Also on a Burns Supper menu is a traditional dessert is Tipsy Laird (sherry trifle), followed by coffee.

Interlude Song
Before the speeches, and whilst the meal is being cleared away, is a good opportunity to have a rendition of a Burns song or two.

Immortal Memory
The Immortal Memory address, given either by the host, an invited speaker or a learned guest is the serious part of the evening. The address should be a speech addressing some aspect of Burns life, work or lasting influence. It can be academic or personal but it should aspire to touch the hearts and minds of the gathering.

Toast to the Lassies/Reply from the Lassies
Its traditional at this point for a male guest (one of the laddies) to deliver a light-hearted, teasing toast to the lassies which usually involves a tongue-in-cheek list of the shortcomings of the fairer sex. The men should be wary, however, as a spokeswoman for the lassies then gets the opportunity to reply with (an equally tongue-in-cheek) list of the shortcomings of the baser sex!

Tam O' Shanter (or Holy Willies Prayer)
To round off the speeches its customary for a guest with a gift for storytelling and a good memory to recite one of Burns great narrative poems, Tam O' Shanter or Holy Willies Prayer. The first is an atmospheric account of a drunken mans encounter with some witches (imagined or otherwise) and the second is the overheard highly amusing (decidedly unchristian) prayer of a bad loser and none-too-blameless church elder.

Ceilidh and Auld Lang Syne
The evening traditionally finishes with a ceilidh Scottish Country Dancing, songs and poems (Burns or otherwise). When its time to go, everyone gathers in a circle, holds hands and sings Burns immortal hymn to friendship Auld Lang Syne (first and last verses with two choruses).

Burns Supper Menu from Scottish Haggis.net!