Scottish dinner to honor poet at Fern Hollow Nature Center
A little bit of Scotland is coming to Fern Hollow Nature Center on Jan. 26.
Instead of hosting the Italian dinner this winter, Sam Capezzuto, Fern Hollow executive director, said they decided to try something different for the center's Slow Food Series, which focuses on another nationality.
Board member Hazel Merrills of Sewickley Heights said April Claus, center director of environmental education, had the idea and approached her and husband, Simon, because they originally are from Scotland and also travel there frequently.
She suggested a Burns supper, similar to traditional dinners held in Scotland, to honor the late Scottish poet Robert Burns,
“My father is a descendent of Robert Burns and attended an annual Burns supper to recite Burns poems,” said Merrills, who along with her husband, is hosting the dinner.
A Burns supper, a tradition in Scotland for about 200 years, is a celebration of the poet's life and works. The suppers usually are held on or near the poet's birthday, Jan. 25.
The ritual was started by close friends of Burns a few years after his death in 1796 as a tribute to his memory. The basic format for the evening has remained unchanged since that time and begins when the chairman invites the company to receive a Scottish dish, haggis, a savory pudding.
“It is a tradition at these dinners. There is always a special poem recited as it is brought into the room, ‘Ode to a Haggis,'” Merrills said.
Guests are encouraged to dress in Highland attire and bring their favorite beverage. Non-alcoholic beverages will be provided.
Appetizers will be served in the Sewickley Heights History Center and will feature smoked salmon, smoked trout pate and a mushroom tart. Merrills is showing the movie, “The Royal Military Tattoo” from the Edinburgh Festival 2012. Guests also can stroll through the gallery or participate in a Chinese auction featuring Scottish merchandise, including a whiskey sampling.
Following the appetizers, guests will be seated at Fern Hollow and Simon Merrills and Pittsburgh area bagpiper Adam Valenti will present the haggis with a traditional celebration, which includes “Piping in the Haggis,” and a “Toast to the Haggis.”
Guests then will sample the dish served with sides dishes of rutabaga and mashed potatoes.
Guests are encouraged to memorize or bring a copy of a Robert Burns poem or song to share.
Dessert will offerings will include shortbread, rhubarb-apple crisp and coffee.
The evening will end with a whiskey tasting and a cheese sampling.
Capezzuto said Fern Hollow is hoping to make the event a tradition at the center.
Reservations are required to attend the program. Seating is limited to 50.
This event will support the education programs at Fern Hollow Nature Center.
The center offers more than 60 science programs for local schools each year that focus on Pennsylvania wildlife and habitat, geology, local watersheds and more. Last year, more than 3,000 students from 13 schools participated in those programs.
Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.