Getting to the heart of haggis

Jeremy Hobson Jan 24, 2011

Getting to the heart of haggis

Jeremy Hobson Jan 24, 2011


JEREMY HOBSON: Tomorrow is Robert Burns Night in Scotland. Never heard of it? Well, it’s a holiday when Scots like to enjoy the country’s national dish — haggis. The U.S. bans the import of authentic Scottish haggis. So this week, in honor of Robert Burns night the Scots have invited American officials to see what they’re missing.

Joining us now from Scotland is Jo MacSween of MacSween Haggis. Thanks so much for joining us.

JO MACSWEEN: That’s alright. Good to speak to you.

HOBSON: Well, let me first ask you — what is haggis for people who have not had the pleasure?

MACSWEEN: Yeah, there’s lots of you not getting the pleasure over there. It’s made from minced lamb and beef, oatmeal, onion, seasoning and spices.

HOBSON: That’s the whole story? Are you giving us the whole story Jo?

MACSWEEN: Well if you want me to go into more detail — it’s made from what Scots call the pluck, which is heart, liver and lungs.

HOBSON: There we go — that’s what I was asking about. So, why don’t Americans like it?

MACSWEEN: Americans do like it, in my experience. As American consumers, I find that when they come to food shows are we meet them at tastings, tasting haggis is on the list of top things they have to do when they’re over here. And they have some trepidation, then they eat it, and then they go, “Do you know what, that’s really good.” You know, what’s all the fuss about?

HOBSON: Haggis is banned in the United States. It can’t be imported from Scotland. What’s that all about?

MACSWEEN: I think because haggis has a lot of myth and mystique around it, I think if in doubt, well let’s ban it.

HOBSON: Do you think we’ll finally see the ban overturned?

MCSWEEN: I hope so. There’s a huge number of American consumers that I think would really enjoy a lovely food stuff that’s nutritious, it’s full of fiber and iron and enjoy it as often as we do.

HOBSON: Jo MacSween of MacSween Haggis joining us from near Edinburgh, Scotland. Thanks so much for your time.

MACSWEEN: No thank you. Happy Burns night tomorrow.

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