Haggis is from England, historian claims

A food historian has claimed that haggis is an English dish. Picture: Getty
A food historian has claimed that haggis is an English dish. Picture: Getty
Share this article
Have your say

A RENOWNED food historian has claimed haggis is an English dish, whose Scottish origins are as “made up” as tartan.

• Food historian Peter Brears claims haggis is an English dish

• Mr Brears also says traditional tartan patterns were ”made up” by Scots to revitalise nationalism

Peter Brears, 68, said that many traditional tartans were “invented”, claiming that haggis and tartan were both appropriated by Scots in order to revitalise the country’s national identity.

“Haggis is a really good English dish,” said Brears, the author of Traditional Food In Northumbria.

“The earliest recipes are from 1390 from a book called The Forme of Cury, which means ‘the art of cooking’.

“Haggis is an English dish that the Scots decided they would take on when they needed a national identity.

“The association of haggis as the Scottish national dish is really a product of the Scottish revival of the 1820s.”

Mr Brears made similar claims about tartan, saying: “Basically, the Scots association with Haggis is as authentic as the tartan.

“After the 1745 Battle of Culodden tartan was banned and many of the old patterns were lost.

“With the revival of Scotch culture, tartan designs were brought back, which were said to be authentic, but in reality they had been newly invented.”

Haggis expert, Jo Macsween from the renowned haggis producer Macsween of Edinburgh, said the dish was a global phenomenon with a rightful place in Scottish culture.

She said: “To some extent I agree with him but I would go even further than saying it is English, because haggis is global as it is as ancient as man’s desire and capability to go off and kill animals.

“I do not think it is English per se - it is global.

“When I talk to people around the world about haggis, I get the same reply - ‘Oh, we call it la la in our country because it equates to something indigenous’.”

“Scots have rightly claimed it as part of our heritage and culture.”

She added: “No one in Scotland can claim to have invented haggis, but we made it was it is today.

“We put it on the map.

“What has made haggis Scottish is Rabbie Burns. By writing his famous poem about it, Haggis became Scottish.”


Tom Kitchin: ‘Burns Night is a perfect excuse to enjoy our wonderful produce’

Interview: Jo and James Macsween, haggis producers