Sunday, January 26, 2020

The black market for haggis

If you celebrated Burns night last night, in honor of the Scottish poet who was born on January 25 1759, you may have eaten haggis.  And if it was the real thing, and you live in the U.S., then you were on the receiving end of smuggled goods.

The NY Times has the story:

Building the Perfect Meal With Sheep Lungs and a Suitcase
A federal agency bans the sale of sheep lungs, a key ingredient for Haggis. Lovers of the distinctive Scottish dish have found ways around that.

"On Saturday, Scots across the world will dine on haggis to celebrate the birthday of Robert Burns, the 18th-century Scottish poet. But for haggis purists in the United States, celebrating Burns Night can be a challenge. Since the 1970s, the Department of Agriculture’s food-safety division has banned the sale of sheep lungs, which give traditional haggis its distinctive crumbly texture.

"Many of the millions of Americans with Scottish ancestry have happily settled for an increasingly wide array of lung-less haggis (or, repulsed by the thought of eating sheep innards, avoided the dish entirely). For decades, however, a small but impassioned contingent has resorted to illicit methods to bring authentic haggis onto American soil, motivated by a commitment to tradition and a fondness for the taste and texture of boiled lung.

“If people want something, they’re going to get it,” said Patrick Angus Carr, the chairman of the New York branch of the Saint Andrew’s Society, a Scottish heritage group. “How much cocaine and fentanyl is smuggled into the country every day?”

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