‘Burns Supper’ held at Parkrose Masonic Lodge

INCLUDES FUN VIDEO | At their first Robert Burns Supper, see how neighbors reacted to being served the Scottish staple, haggis, at this fascinating outer East Portland event …

A guest checks into the First Annual Robert Burns Supper at the Parkrose Eastgate Masonic Lodge #155.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Some participants at the First Annual Robert Burns Supper on Saturday evening, January 15, were there because they are members of the Parkrose Eastgate Masonic Lodge #155. Other came because they were curious about the traditional Scottish entree, haggis.

No one went away disappointed; all were treated to everything that makes for a traditional Robert Burns Supper.

Many attendees dressed in kilts, as did these Masons – all gathered for the Robert Burns Supper in outer East Portland.

A “Burns supper” is a celebration of the life and poetry of the world-renowned poet Robert Burns (1759 –1796), the author of many Scottish poems. The first such supper was held at Burns Cottage in Ayrshire, Scotland, by Burns’ friends on July 21 1801, the fifth anniversary of his death: So explained the local supper’s Chair, Preston Marshall, the Senior Warden of Eastgate Masonic 155 Lodge.

In addition to being Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns was also a Freemason, which is why Masonic Lodges around the world hold Burns suppers,” Marshall told East Portland News.

Tending to his haggis as it cooks in a boiling bath is is Eastgate Masonic 155 Lodge Senior Warden Preston Marshall.

Asked how the idea of holding such an event at the Parkrose Eastgate Masonic Lodge began, Marshall replied, “Last summer, when we were doing some work to fix up our lodge, I broached the idea of having a Burns Supper here, open to the public, to welcome the community into our building as, hopefully, we were coming out of COVID-19,” he replied.

> Take a look at their summertime work
fixing up their lodge: CLICK HERE.

“So, tonight, we’re welcoming our neighbors into our building for this – and, for those who are curious, it’s their opportunity to dine on ‘haggis’,” Marshall continued.

Although the name “hagws” or “hagese” was first recorded in England around 1430, the dish is considered traditionally of Scottish origin – and is considered the Scots’ national dish, as a result of Robert Burns’ poem “Address to a Haggis”, composed in 1786, we learned.

In the upper room, piper Daniel Cespedes tunes up his bagpipes.

Haggis (Scottish Gaelic: taigeis) is a savory protein dish, traditionally called a “pudding”,  made of sheep’s pluck (heart, liver, and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and cooked while traditionally encased in the unfortunate animal’s stomach – although, these days, an artificial casing is often used, Marshall explained – as he tended to the haggis as it boiled on an outdoor cook stove set up behind the building.

This exclusive video will give you a “taste”
of their event; but sadly, not of their
freshly made main dish, haggis …

“I came up with this recipe for this haggis that’s almost done cooking,” Marshall remarked with pride. “The butchers in Scotland do not share the secret of how they make haggis; so we all must come up with our own recipe.

“In the United States, we don’t use lung, so we replace that with other cuts of meat,” Marshall explained. “It also has steel-cut oats, onions, and spices. It may sound gross, but it’s really very good!”

Guests Cory Kennedy and Rae Qi enjoy their bowls of “Cock-a-leekie”.

Before the ceremony of bringing in the haggis, diners were first served a steaming bowl of Cock-a-leekie, a classic soup from Scotland made with chicken and leeks.

After the opening remarks, and before supper is served, comes the “Presentation and Piping in of the Haggis” by the Honor Guard.

Arriving in front of the group, the “Bearer of the Haggis”, Junior Warden Kenn Clulow, presents it to the assembled group.

Chair Marshall recites “Address to a Haggis” by Robert Burns.

This was followed by Marshall reciting Burns’ Address to a Haggis, which begins with the words, “Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!”

After the opening pageant, guests lined up to be served neeps and tatties, traditional Scottish side dishes of  “swede” (rutabaga) and mashed potatoes, with whiskey cream sauce and brown onion gravy – and of course, the haggis.  For those too squeamish to sample the haggis, the buffet also provided roasted pork as an alternative.

Preston Marshall serves haggis to guest David A. Rice, Deputy of the Grand Master of District No. 19, across the river in Vancouver, Washington.

“After the supper, we have a program featuring the story of why we celebrate Burns, with musical presentations – including bagpipe music, poetic recitations, and toasts,” Marshall confided. “And, we finish the program by singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’.”

Into the evening this gala celebration went, with everyone in the hall seeming to enjoy it.

Find out more about the Parkrose Eastgate Masonic Lodge #155 by visiting their Facebook page: CLICK HERE.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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