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The British Isles: Texas Haggis

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In photos, canned haggis looks alarmingly like dog food. It is traditionally eaten as part of a full Scottish breakfast or as an entrée on a bed of mashed rutabagas and potatoes, which go by the cutesy names of "neeps and tatties" in Scotland. I bought a can of Caledonian Haggis at the Rice Village store called the British Isles the other day. I'll file a full report on the flavor as soon as I get hooked up with some neeps and tatties.

I had stopped by British Isles on Rice Boulevard to see if the store carried real beef Bovril. Manager Guy Streatfeild handed me a jar of the vegetarian version and told me I would never know the difference. I assured him I did know the difference and that I already had a bottle of the nasty yeast-flavored substitute.

You can't get real beef Bovril in the U.S. anymore, Streatfeild explained. It is illegal to import anything containing British beef to the U.S. That's why there's such a brisk market for meat products that are made in America to British recipes -- like Caledonian Haggis, he said, as he got a can of the stuff down from the shelf for my inspection.

Caledonian Kitchen is a Dallas company that got its start at the Texas Scottish Festival in Arlington. While the company's headquarters are in the Dallas suburb of Lewisville, its haggis is actually made in a packing plant in Ohio and distributed out of a warehouse in Natchictoches, Louisiana.

The Laird, as the company's kilted owner calls himself, markets Caldedonian's Scottish haggis, Irish stew, whisky cakes and other examples of Britain's proud culinary tradition at Celtic festivals around the country.

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