Friday, February 25, 2011

Tartan Day

There is an annual
Scottish Festival
held at the
Queen Mary,
a historic landmark in Long Beach, California.

I am half Scottish,
and though truthfully I know very little of my
ancestors that come from Scotland,
I thought it was high time I spent
a day with "my clan".

I was excited...
the day was crisp and cool,
the sun warm on my face.

I was most excited about the food...
well actually one food in particular.
A food that may not have the best reputation by name,
at least not for Americans.
I'll be the first to agree that when you read the
description of it, it may not be the most
 appealing sounding thing on the planet.
Have you guessed what it is?

That's right, Haggis!
I have never tried it, but always wanted to.
If you're not sure what it is you
can read all about it here.

Maybe visually it's not the most appealing thing to look at either,
but taste...


It's meaty and rich, with a certain
mineral and earthy quality to it.
It has great texture with the oats,
spices are mild, but present in an understated sort of way.
It may not be for everyone,
but Chad & I both loved it and
would eat it again in a heartbeat!

We also got to try a Scottish meat pie...

It was very good,
a delicate and flaky pastry shell,
 enveloping the meaty goodness inside.
Beefy gravy, rich in flavor...
mashed potatoes and peas.
What a lunch!!

There were kilts everywhere!
Bagpipes, bands and parades...

It was a feast for all the senses.

After we exhausted the outdoor festivities it was time to board
the ship and start exploring.

The Queen Mary is a fantastic ship.
You truly feel as if you've stepped back in time
 when you step on board.
The smell of the wood, the architectural style
feels glamorous and important.

We had the opportunity to join a 
Scottish whisky tasting in the boiler room
of the ship.
It was was the perfect setting.
Cool and damp, low light...
very cozy.

We received a history lesson on whisky,
proper drinking etiquette and then
we got to sample.

They smell wonderful!
I got hints of butterscotch, toffee,
honey and peat moss.
However when I taste them, I feel like I get
punched in the face with alcohol.
Maybe it's an acquired taste,
but for now, 
I think I'll just stick with smelling them!

It was a day of history and culture,
great food and strong drink!
I enjoyed the time we spent,
and it makes me want to know more about my heritage.

I hope one day I can write another post about
 Scottish food and drink...
All whilst sitting in a pub in Scotland,
eating haggis and drinking whisky.

Well maybe not the whisky part...
but the Scotland part...
Yes Please!!


rebecca said...

What a day! I have just a bit of Scot in me myself but have never tried haggis, although I do love lamb so maybe....But those meat pies sure looked delicious!
I am with you on the whiskey. I'd have to just smell it. These days if I have anything stronger than beer and wine I will just embarrass myself.
Have a great weekend!!

Happy Frog and I said...

Sounds like you have had a brilliant time. I have eaten Haggis but now that I am vegetarian I have to stick to vege haggis which is also excellent. I cannot get on with whiskey but I admire you for giving it a go.

Really enjoyed your post. :-)

T @ Poppy Place said...

Oh What a fun time and the SUN is shining, YAY! :)

I have only ever been to Scotland once. My Grand Mother was from there and so we took the train from our home town up to a relatives' wedding when I was 11. Of course, big family, big party, lots of singing, great time. :)

I would love to go back. Maybe one day :)

I think you were very brave to try the Haggis, but, like you said, I have heard that it tastes better than it looks, so maybe at some point I might try it.

Part of our family tradition, growing up, was to watch the Edinburgh Military Tattoo on TV every year. And so I have a tape which I would watch with my family, when they were younger. I love the drums and the bagpipes and the historical tradition at the Castle.

Hope you do get to go to Scotland and hit that pub soon :)

Have a lovely weekend, T. :)

Almost Precious said...

Oh my, what a fun day you had. Not sure that I would have braved the Haggis but I suppose I'm judging it on rumors and hearsay, which really isn't fair.
It has been just about forever since I was in Long Beach, it certainly has grown ! I spent much of my childhood in Signal Hill, went to beach and Nu Pike with my friends but that was back in the days of dinosaurs (read that The Pike was demolished back in 1979 or 80). I would love to go see that grand old gal The Queen Mary, there is just something very elegant about the decor back in those days.

I could never drink Scotch but then I could never drink anything straight up, it was always rum and coke, vodka and orange juice (or a Harvey Wallbanger), liked Tequila Sunrise's (though sunset was a better description - lol).

Emily@Pookie and Pierre said...

This sounds like a fantastic day and a wonderful way to connect with your roots. I love your descriptions of the haggis and whisky. I admit, the visual is not super appealing, but I'm more more tempted to try it now based on your description. I'm all for trying everything once! I hope you do make it to Scotland one day :)

Handmade in Israel said...

Eeeewww to the haggis.... yeah to Scotland! It's a beautiful country. I hope you get there one day.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. I really appreciate your continued interesrt.

Tara said...

I knew it was haggis! Good on you for trying it. I'm afraid I wouldn't have the nerve to try it myself. It sounds like it is a wonderful festival. Mike and I have gone to the Highland Games in Fergus, Ontario -- bagpipes, kilts and brawny men doing all kinds of muscular feats of strength. There is just something about a man in a kilt.

Sarah B. said...

Sounds like a fun day! I'd love to try some Haggis, but the Scottish meat pie did look a bit more appealing :)

Denise from Beaded Embellishments said...

Hi Meeling,
What a wonderful storytelling ability you have. It makes the reader feel like they've been there with you.
Sounds like you had a great time exploring your heritage.

My Life Under the Bus said...

I agree! Whiskey is not for me - it's like drinking gasoline! Haggis...eek....I'll take a pie thought they look pretty awesome!.......Did you buy that sweater yet? LOL

thestoryofkat said...

you are braver than i. our english friend wanted me to try haggis and blood pudding on the morning of our wedding at the b&b and i just couldn't do it. your post makes me wish we were back on our honeymoon though, it was like visiting middle earth!!


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