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Clark College gets taste of Scotland

Fundraising dinner celebrates poet Robert Burns, Scottish culture

By , Columbian Social Services, Demographics, Faith
Published: January 15, 2015, 4:00pm
11 Photos
Timothy Gunn plays bagpipes to welcome in the haggis at the inaugural Robert Burns Dinner at Clark College. The Thursday evening Scottish supper raised money for a student from Scotland to attend Clark College.
Timothy Gunn plays bagpipes to welcome in the haggis at the inaugural Robert Burns Dinner at Clark College. The Thursday evening Scottish supper raised money for a student from Scotland to attend Clark College. Photo Gallery

Did you know?

• What is haggis? The dish is traditionally made by grinding sheep’s innards (which can be the heart, liver and lungs) with oatmeal, onion and seasonings that are cooked inside either a sheep’s stomach or a sausage casing. It’s considered the national dish of Scotland because of Robert Burns’ poem “Address to a Haggis.”

On the Web

Robert Burns’ poem “Address to a Haggis

Mae Wilson was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, but moved to the states after meeting her American husband. The Pacific Northwest, with its lush greenery, rain and friendly people is similar to Scotland, she said.

“If you can’t live in Scotland, this is the next best thing,” Wilson said. “This part of the country, I like it.”

The views of the Columbia River are reminiscent of the River Clyde, which runs through Glasgow.

27 Photos
Seattle Seahawks players celebrate after winning thel NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 28-22 to advance to Super Bowl XLIX.
Packers at Seahawks, NFC championship game Photo Gallery

Wilson takes part in the local chapter of the Daughters of the British Empire to hold on to her Scottish heritage.

“Some people get homesick,” she said.

She misses the sausages, her family and going to the theater. So, Thursday night’s Scottish supper at Clark College’s Columbia Tech Center was a little taste of home.

But, there’s a certain Scottish flavor that doesn’t appeal to everyone.

“Who here has tasted haggis?” Clark College President Bob Knight asked the crowd.

Several hands shot up.

“Who here likes haggis?” he asked.

Most of the hands went down. Sheep’s innards don’t appeal to everyone, apparently.

Knight helped organize the inaugural Robert Burns Dinner to raise money for a student from Scotland to attend Clark College for a year. For years, Knight noticed that Irish celebrations, namely St. Patrick’s Day, were getting all the attention, and wanted to get a Scottish celebration going. The event recognizes Scottish poet Robert Burns, whose birthday is Jan. 25.

The college puts on a similar dinner fundraiser each year with Japanese food and traditions to support a Japanese student, Knight said.

Did you know?

• What is haggis? The dish is traditionally made by grinding sheep's innards (which can be the heart, liver and lungs) with oatmeal, onion and seasonings that are cooked inside either a sheep's stomach or a sausage casing. It's considered the national dish of Scotland because of Robert Burns' poem "Address to a Haggis."

“We have a close relationship with the Japanese, and now we’re branching out to Scotland,” he said.

Knight’s mother is from Scotland, and he was born in London. He has taken several trips to Scotland to visit family on his mother’s side.

Haggis, considered the national dish of Scotland, was brought into the dining room by bagpipe procession and theatrically sliced down the center of its casing.

Everyone then drank a shot of Scotch whisky before hearing a recitation of Robert Burns’ poem “Address to a Haggis.”

The final verse of the poem, which was translated in English on placemats, goes something like this:

On the Web

Robert Burns' poem "Address to a Haggis"

“You powers, who make your mankind care,

And dish them out their bill of fare,

Old Scotland wants no watery stuff.

That splashes in small wooden dishes;

But if you wish her grateful prayer,

Give her [Scotland] a haggis!”

Besides haggis, supper included roast beef, salmon and a potato and turnip dish called tatties and neeps. There was plenty of Scotch whisky and plenty of people who showed their Scottish pride by wearing tartan and kilts. Everyone who attended got “Mac” added to the beginning of their last names on their name tags.

“That’s why there are so many Scottish jokes, because we laugh at ourselves,” Wilson said.

“Nothing beats the Glasgow patter. It means the chit chat,” said Maureen Deeney, who’s also from Scotland.

Clark College raised about $30,000 Thursday night to pay for the airfare and tuition of a student from Scotland for one year, said Mike Wilson, who helped organize the event. The goal was to raise $15,000.

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