2020 Burns Supper

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KSFSS 5th Annual Burns Supper – January 20, 2020

From left: Claude Hurtubise, Paul Lee, Nicole Arkle, Stephen Brown, Christine Wentzell, Andrew Braun
The Selkirk Grace (Claude Hurtubise)

Some hae meat an canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit.

Address to a Haggis (Stephen Brown)

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak yer place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my airm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dicht,
An cut you up wi ready slicht,
Trenching your gushing entrails bricht,
Like onie ditch;
And then, Oh what a glorious sicht,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmaist, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
‘Bethankit’ hums.

Is there that ower his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit:
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
Oh how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his wallie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if Ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!

Good luck to you and your honest, plump face,
Great chieftain of the sausage race!
Above them all you take your place,
Gut, stomach-lining, or intestines:
You’re well worthy of a grace
As long as my arm.

The overloaded platter there you fill,
Your buttocks shaped like a a distant hilltop,
Your skewer would help to mend a mill
In time of need,
While through your pores your juices drip
Like liquid gold.

His knife he wipes with rustic labour,
And cuts you up with easy skil,
Digging a great trench in your bright moist innards,
Like any ditch;
And then, Oh what a glorious sight,
Steaming, warm, with good rich smells!

Then, spoon for spoon, they eagerly eat:
Every man for himself, on they drive,
Till in due course all of their well-swollen bellies
Are stretched like drums;
Then old head of the table, most likely to burst,
‘The grace!’ hums.

Is it possible that anyone, over his French “ragout”,
Or his “olio” that would sicken a sow,
Or his “fricassee” that would make her vomit
With perfect disgust,
Could look down in a sneering, scornful way
On such a dinner as this?

Poor devil! Just look at him eating his trash,
As feeble as a withered reed,
His skinny leg, thin as the end of a whip,
His dainty fist as small as a nut:
How unfit is he to play a dashing part
In battles at sea or on the land!

But consider the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The earth trembles beneath his heavy tread,
Put a blade into his might fist,
And he’ll make it whistle;
Shearing off opponents’ legs and arms, and heads
Like cutting off the heads of thistles.

You powers, that make mankind your care,
And distribute food among them,
Old Scotland wants no watery dishes
That splash around in bowls:
But, if you want her prayers of gratitude,
Give her a Haggis!

For more translations, see Douglas Gibson’s notes:
Toast to the Lassies (Paul Lee)
Hi everyone

My name is Paul and I work at the college with Steve and Claude, which would make me a professor… who stands in front of people talking for a living… for hours at a time…. About math.

However, making a speech at a Robbie Burns dinner is a little more daunting. I thought, “am I even qualified for this”? How Scottish is one supposed to be before they can make a Burns speech? Well, the answer is 19% because that’s how Scottish my AncestryDNA results told me I was.

The second thing I was worried about is whether or not I had to do the accent. I figured mine would be, at worst, some hybrid of English and African, or at best, Groundskeeper Willie from the Simpsons. Luckily I was told I wouldn’t have to do any accents of any kind.

But let’s not forget why I am standing in front of you tonight – to honour the women in our lives: the ones in the past that we look fondly of, or those we’d rather soon forget, the ones standing by our side in the present, and the ones that will be with us in the future.

As you all probably know, Robbie Burns was quite the ladies’ man. He was obviously enthralled by the lassies as he was responsible for no fewer than a baker’s dozen of children through liaisons with at least 5 women (whose names are even known to us) over the course of 11 years. You don’t have to be a math prof to know that there wasn’t much time in between for a break.

Throughout all his “gallivanting” around, Robbie Burns knew that for all men’s faults, we would ever be in thrall to women.
With all of Robbie Burns’ experience over the years, he was sure to meet some women that truly inspired him. To illustrate this, I wanted to read one of his poems:

“To see her is to love her,
and love but her forever,
for nature made her what she is,
and never made another.”

While that poem is a true testament to the love Burns had for someone, he also expressed that relationships were not always that sweet:

“Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet,
To think how many counsels sweet,
How many lengthen’d, sage advices,
The husband frae the wife despises!”

With all the sweet and endearing moments (and the NOT so sweet), we will forever be in debt to the fairer sex, for it is to the lassies in our life that we owe so much.

So, I ask all the gentlemen here to raise your glasses in a toast, to the lassies

Reply to the Toast to the Lassies (Nicole Arkle)

Thank you Paul, and thank you to all the other Laddies here tonight that agree with Paul’s statements. Hi, I am Nicole, and I want to thank you for having me here to represent all the beautiful lassies in attendance, to give the reply to the ‘toast to the lassies.’

It’s funny, when Stephen asked, only last week, if I would be interested in doing the reply, I, at first, had no idea what to say, so I decided to look to good ol’ google to find the right words.
The one theme I found overwhelming through example, after example, after example! Was that they all started with the same line, which was “When I was asked to do this speech, only last week”.

I even looked at the speech Ellen made last year and noticed that SHE had even started with the same line; mentioning how her short notice speech writing skills were crucial for last year’s event. (And I think in that case, she only had a couple of hours to come up with something!)

I did have to search to see if there was a tradition of that, but no, there is no official rule about giving as short as possible notice to those giving the reply. All you can do is sit back and laugh as it seems to give rise to a theme to be expected from those if the… hairier? sex?

It took me a while to decide on the adjective to use towards the men in the room, and at first, I did hesitate, knowing that Andrew would be standing nearby when I made that comment. It is difficult to come up with the opposite adjective when women get referred to as the “fairer” sex.

Because in this day and age, it’s difficult to still be referring to us lassies as “fairer” because that makes it sound like lassies are somehow lacking, or weaker in a way, that there would be things that a lassie cannot do, which, anyone who knows me will know I will love to argue against. There really isn’t anything that a laddie can do that a lassie wouldn’t be able to do, just that little bit better. That said, let’s look at it from the other side, not to discriminate, but there are things that its said only a lassie can do, where as a laddie cannot.

Multi-tasking that is. It is often said that our sweet laddies have a difficult time multi task, but, when you think, Robbie Burns himself had a very impressive track record, as Paul mentioned, 11 children by 5 women in a span of 13 years. Which tells me that men most certainly can multitask. Especially when its something so very important.
On the other hand, Robbie Burns’ wife, Jean, on that fateful day of her dear husband’s funeral, she also gave birth to his last child, and still hosted the funeral. So maybe she does take the cake on the multitasking skills.

On that note, looking at Jean’s last acts for her dear husband, we cannot deny that laddies really need their lassies. We lassies see so much potential in our laddies, designed to be the helper, we do stand beside them, ready to give them all the direction and advice when needed. Unfortunately, they tend not to listen to said advice.

While I was doing my research for tonight, I did find something very interesting, that in lieu of the “Me Too” moment, there are many who believe that Robbie Burns Day should be rebranded to erase much of the name sakes infamy, due in part to his debaucherous behavior. Because think about it, how dare we celebrate and raise a glass to a man who had a habit of sleeping with so many women at the same time, using his sweet words and charms to convince so many women to fall in love with him, all at the same time… The audacity of that man! I bet though, there was no secret to his many affairs, they must have all known about each other, maybe even discussing amongst themselves to debrief and discussed which women he loved more. Certainly the women in the village must have gathered together and debated on his actions, all choosing their favorite lassie, debating which lassie he should choose for his number one… and wait… how much of Robbie Burns life sounds more like the plot line of “the bachelor”?

Alas, for any fault we can state, we can never deny that Robbie Burns had a point to his poetry, about a women’s need for her man, over the years as we lassies become stronger and more independent, we will still always need our laddies… they might not all be a Jaime Fraiser from Outlander, but they will still be willing to: run outside and start our vehicles when it is -17 outside, kill the spiders that they are just as scared of as we are, grab those items on the top shelf that we insist on putting there, even though we put our lives at risk trying to get them down. And to always kiss us on the forehead to remind us just how beautiful and loved we are.

So my lassies, you will have to agree with me, as we look around tonight, and see all the fine specimens we have representing all the laddies that we love so dear, I ask you all, to raise your glass to our laddies, and join me in a toast.

slàinte mhath

The Meal

Amuse Bouche
Ode to a Haggis
Traditionally prepared with lamb’s pluck, oats, and spices
Paired with:
72.61 Musk Perfume and Rum Punch (55.7% ABV)
72.61 Musk Perfume and Rum Punch (55.7% ABV)

Course, the First
Smoked Potato Chowder
Leeks, in-house smoked bacon, seared sea scallops, sweet potato chips and chives
Paired with:
93.93 Summer Seaside Picnic (55.8% ABV)
Clean and fresh aromas of sea air on a summer’s day with seaweed and tarry ropes. A robust herbal honey, hot smoked salmon and sweet soy sauce. Quite approachable at full strength – charred wood in honey, sweet porridge, vanilla and barbecued sausages. Water reveals pineapple cube sweets, gingerbread and an exotic fruit salad with background notes of oily rags, biscuit and comforting coastal aromas. The palate is well balanced – sweet, gently smoky, black pepper then menthol, minerals and tangy charred wood with a pleasing finish. ($209.99)

Course, the Second
Neeps & Tatties BNA-style
Turnip and smoked cheddar puree, potato rösti, fried black pudding, sunny-side quail egg, semi-dried tomato, frisée salad
Paired with:
70.26 Cool As A Cucumber (60.1% ABV)
On A powdery musky floral note with orange blossom combined with crisp green apples and honey lemonade with fresh mint made this an uplifting experience on the nose neat. To taste like a crunchy cucumber iceberg salad tossed in a dressing of mustard, honey, lime, freshly grated gingerroot and a splash of cilantro – a truly refreshing experience, with a zesty twist. When adding water a walnut whip (whirl-shaped cone of milk chocolate with a whipped vanilla fondant filling topped with a half-walnut) appeared and on the palate, a chocolate, hazelnut and crushed meringue ice cream. ($146.99)

Course, the Third
Lamb Gnocchi
Pan-seared mint gnocchi, braised lamb, Massaman curry sauce, pickled shimeji mushroom, blistered cherry tomato, peanut gremolata
Paired with:
36.135 Exotic, Exciting, Edgy (56.7% ABV)
We were preparing an Indian spiced salad using dry curry leaves, fenugreek and mustard seeds, mango chutney, red chili, coriander and mint. To drink we had jasmine scented green tea accompanied by Caribbean spiced gulab jamun – golden fried balls of milk pastry soaked in honey and saffron syrup.
With water we got aromas of a bowl of Malaysian bird’s nest soup (you might want to try it before looking it up) and Moroccan pickled aubergines with garlic, coriander and cilantro. The taste, zesty avocado salad with roasted walnuts, celery and mustard cress sprouts all washed down with a glass of sweet spiced red vermouth de Jerez. ($193.99)

Course, the Fourth:
Roast Rabbit Saddle
Mushroom & rabbit leg farce, pancetta, leek, old cheddar & currant bread pudding, triple crunch mustard crème fraiche, curly endive, smoked shallot & oregano vinaigrette
Paired with:
80.9 A Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing (55.7% ABV)
Pine cones, fabric and air freshener strike first in this open and inviting nose. Underlying are textural notes of engine oil, raw barley, earthy turmeric, lemon peel and macadamia nut. Water opens the nose further with white stone fruits, lemon cheesecake, lychee, rosewater, grass, sorrel, wild garlic, pistachio nut and a pebble strewn minerality. The taste is surprisingly dense for this distillery. Plenty of sooty wax, lime curds, white truffle, dried sage, hazelnut, white balsamic, graphite oil and savoury pastries. With reduction there is a heightened earthiness, more gravelly notes, mineral oil, crushed aspirin, aged white Madeira, perfumed waxes and old Riesling. ($140.99)

Dessert Course
Winter Pear Trifle
Vanilla poached pears, whipped mascarpone, chocolate cake, pomegranate, toasted almonds
Paired with:
63.53 Nutty Professor’s Dram (60.5% ABV)
The nose initially opened with flower meadows, Turkish delight and ice cream – then developed nutty aromas (Magnum choc-ice, Bounty bar, hazelnut shells, peanut brittle). The palate had good viscosity and body – lots of sweet flavours (toffee, milk chocolate, treacle tart, honey) and a gentle spicy finish of Oddfellows and cinnamon swirls. Water brightened the nose again, offering Melissa and lemon puffs, perfumed tobacco, shaved oak and almond slice. The palate retained its body and sweetness – chocolate sauce and nuts on raspberry ripple, dark chocolate Brazils and Jaffa cakes, with an even more drying, tingling finish of toasted pine nuts, ginger and pomegranate. ($131.99)

Auld Lang Syne
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup!
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 fiere!
and gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak’ a right gude-willie waught,
for auld lang syne.


Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


We two have run about the slopes,
and picked the daisies fine;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.


We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.


Another fantastic lineup of SMWS whisky for the night!

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