of shortbread and Burns

January 23, 2022  •  6 Comments

25 January 1759 is the birthdate of renowned Scottish poet Robert Burns.  It is said that friends of the poet of romance got together to celebrate his life for the first time in 1801, after his death in 1796.  Although a traditional Burns Dinner consists of haggis (organ meats from sheep, lamb, and some beef with oats, onions, and spices cooked in a sheep's stomach), neeps, (turnips) and tatties (potatoes) along with a wee dram of whiskey or single malt or two or three, no doubt. Since Burns wrote Auld Lang Syne, I suspect the words are read or the song is sung at every good Burns Night.  

Although not on the traditional menu for a Burns Dinner, shortbread and tea would be a tasty but light afternoon repast before the big evening, and that is what we will be having, thanks to Fred's sister, who makes the finest shortbread this side of Edinburgh, with plenty of real butter.  Notice the fork piercings in each log of shortbread, a traditional marking.   


No Burns celebration would be complete without a reading from the works of the poet.  The book shown below, a bit worse for wear, was published in 1883, and has graced many tables and shelves before making its way to our humble abode.  We have Fred's Gran - otherwise known as Margaret Bryce Borthwick Low Rockingham Bell - to thank for the book.  One of these two cups also came from Gran as an engagement gift fifty years ago.  The other was a wedding gift from one of his aunts.  Both were believers in the tradition of shortbread and tea in bone china tea cups.  


Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
     For auld lang syne.
     We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
     For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint stowp!
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit,
Sin' auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne.


And there's a hand, my trusty fere!
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.



Thanks to Barbara, Christina, Jean and Sam, Wayne, Sara, Lisa, Steve, and Dianne for your wonderful and meaty comments this week.

until next Monday,


a passion for the image©


Steve Immel(non-registered)
What a lovely tribute to Robert Burns! Fred's gran's name is epic in scope and worth a story unto itself. There's a whole family tree in those six lilting words. I'm all in for the shortbread and tea but will pass on the haggis for now. A wee nip of scotch could be just the ticket on a chill evening around the fire with a good book.

"We'll tak a cup of kindness yet," couldn't be a more timely sentiment in these times.

Your still lifes tell a story of warmth, family and tradition.
Barbara Kelly Okererg(non-registered)
Hi, Daryl,

I so enjoyed your posting today and wanted you to know. Dave and I have been to Scotland and Ireland five times over the last 10 years. Thank you for sharing your post!

Best wishes to you and Fred!

Dave and Barbata
Such a welcome way to begin the morning, reading this. Have also had the honor and privilege of enjoying Fred's sister's shortbread, always a treat. Love the photos with the sweet teacups.
Sandra Bray(non-registered)
I like the tea and shortbreads for the afternoon readings, but there's nothing like a little warm scotch for the evening readings! Cheers from the north!
Wayne Gesterfield(non-registered)
Thanks for the nice write up on Robert Burns.
I'll take the shortbread and scotch whisky and skip the haggis.
No comments posted.

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