There are those who suggest that St. Andrew's Day was invented as an antidote to Thanksgiving, since the robust main dish of its celebration, the haggis, is such a contrast to the insipidness of turkey.
Those more knowledgeable of the Scottish persuasion suggest that St. Andrew's Day, Nov. 30, was invented as a last occasion for serious celebration before the endless frivolities of December, and because it's a long time until that most important of days to celebrate, Jan. 25.
Whatever, St. Andrew's Day is an occasion for haggis, and haggis needs an occasion, for there's no way to prepare a haggis for two or four. A dozen is the minimum and more is indeed merrier. As the poet born Jan. 25 wrote in his Address to a Haggis, "Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware . . ."
Chauvinists insist that haggis be prepared strictly from the traditional ingredients: the lights of a sheep - liver, kidney, heart, sweetbread - chopped up and mixed with toasted oatmeal and whisky and stuffed into the tripe (stomack). And boiled instead of baked.
More epicurean Scots will quote Bobbie Burns, "Lord save us frae sae solemn," and opt for an even more "warm-reekin', rich" version using the equivalent (and more-readily available) part os beef stuffed into a hog maw (stomach). And substituting cooking sherry for whisky, which improves the flavor of the haggis and saves the whisky for toasting the "great chieftain o' the pudding-race" as it's served.
And it's less work preparing the haggis with beef and hog maw (all of which are available at the D.C. Farmer's Market at 1309 Fifth St. NE). The hog maw is simple to clean, while it takes multiple rinses to get the last traces of half-digested grass from the sheep's tripe.
Buy four pounds of beef liver, one kidney (have the butcher clean it from the suet, but ask him for the suet; it's great for feeding birds), one heart, one sweetbread (the pancreas, not the thymus) and the maw. When you chop them into half-inch cubes, be sure to save all the juice.
Spread oatmeal or rolled oats about half an inch deep on a large cookie sheet and toast in a 300-degree oven until slightly browned. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a large pot adding two tablespoons of salf, pepper to taste, and a pint of sheery. Pack the mixture into the well-rinsed maw and sew up the opening. Bake for 2 1/2 hours in a low (250-degree) oven, occasionally pricking to let steam escape.