Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Neeps and Haggis

Photo: neeps, haggis and tatties (potatoes) from Magnet
In Scotland yellow or swede turnips are called neeps. They are mentioned periodically in the books of Alexander McCall Smith, along with other dishes he apparently favours: pasta, halibut, and a special type of scalloped potatoes.

The mashes in the picture above are worthy of The Big Bang, a wonderful but alas now-vanished sausage restaurant in Oxford. The haggis, of course, is another matter, an entirely Scottish thing.

Or is it? For the past fifteen years, Todd Wong, a fifth generation Chinese Canadian and graduate of Simon Fraser University, has celebrated Gung Haggis Fat Choy, a combo celebration of Chinese New Year and Robbie Burns Day.

It's a very Vancouver thing, but Ottawa, Whitehorse and Nanaimo have now tried to imitate it. Incidentally, turnip cake is also a New Year's Food among Chinese, but that recipe is made with a different kind of turnip, a white one.

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