I used to think that my boyfriend was Scottish.
He has an insatiable thirst for whiskey and strong opinions on the correct colour of kilt socks. He’s happy on the hill with his piece, and can put on a good accent when talking to a ‘fellow’ Scot.
…the thing is though, he’s only about ¼ Scottish. And if you’re rounding a fraction of a number up or down, then 25% is definitely closer to 0% than 100%.
But that’s fine. Because I claim to be Jewish.
It explains my quick ability to enter a state of martyrdom. At university I hung out with Schneider, Judah, Kauffman and Cohen, and the other day when a friend said my call wouldn’t connect I actually accused his phone of being anti-semitic.
The thing is, my claim to Judaism is really just as tenuous as my boyfriend’s claim to Scottishness.
Sure, I might be called Rachel and look more than a little Jew-ish, but it all goes back to a not-very-religious Czech grandmother who, sometime round the Holocaust, decided there probably wasn’t a god anyway.
Rather than painting a picture of two frauds—English cuckoos, quick to sit in foreign, more interesting nests—let’s paint a more positive image.
Perhaps one of two people who are both interested in heritage and ethnicity. I have embraced Tom’s “Scottishness”—I can dance a Hamilton House, and actually have a ‘favourite whiskey’ (Glenmorangie, if you were wondering). And Tom in turn has stomached fruit knödel, and has even started using ‘sch’ as a derisive term “recession, reschmession”, “late, schmate” etc…
So, this year I thought that I’d celebrate both our pretend ethnicities, and do a Scottish-Jewish fusion, which shall now be known as ‘Rabbi Burns Night’.
Below is a pioneering recipe for haggis schnitzel, which I really can recommend. I love the taste of haggis, and this adds a bit of texture, and some shape to what is usually a splotch on a plate.
I decided that sauerkraut would be the perfect accompaniment—which it was. And then the dish was completed with Chicken Cottage chips, because…well, we were passing on our way back from the pub, and it seemed like an obvious choice—oh, and Suffolk Larder spicy tomato sauce, which really is phenomenally good.
Ingredients (for 6 small haggis schnitzels)
Pre-cooked haggis for 2-3 people
Plain Flour (about 2cm deep in a bowl or deep plate)
Heat up the haggis as per instructions (I took mine out of the skin, and put it in the microwave for six minutes)
Mold the haggis into six flat patty shapes.
Dust them in the flour, then cover in egg and finally coat in the breadcrumbs.
Heat up oil in a frying pan, and fry for around 40seconds—1 minute on each side.
Plate up with a good dollop of sauerkraut and a handful of chips (or, if you’re being really Scottish, ‘chaps’.) Enjoy!