After reading the prose of cooks and poets, consulting the great culinary tomes of the cuisines, trekking great distances to the tops of mountains to meet enigmatic gurus, and most importantly making the signature dishes of Belgium and Scotland in our own kitchen (three of those four actually happened), we with great regret must eliminate one of these great cuisines from the 2014 World Cup of Food.
Haggis or pommes frites? Carbonade flamande or Scotch eggs? Each was great for its own reason. The Scots’ ability to create something wonderful out of ingredients too loathsome for some American dog food brands to use is remarkable. Angie can smell livers like she’s allergic and even she thought the haggis was a crowning achievement of our kitchen’s history. The process and adventure, not just in putting a haggis together but in simply deciding on and locating the ingredients is one we will always remember. Cap that with Andy Murray’s win at the All England Club and this was truly a great week for Scotland.
Wikipedia says about Belgian cuisine “…Belgian food is served in the quantity of German cuisine but with quality of French food,” and our foray into the Belgian kitchen was no exception. Carbonade flamande looks, smells, tastes, and even feels decadent from the moment the meat begins to brown to the last bits of sauce on the plate that get wiped up with a piece of bread. We know of a couple of readers already who have prepared the dish themselves. The Belgians are true master brewers and chocolatiers as well, and their products are known worldwide for their supreme quality. Finally, the Belgians’ instrumental role in the development of the French fry has forever changed the way we eat.
We were moved by the Scottish cuisine’s creation of something so divine as a haggis out of such humble beginnings. The simple decadence made out of beef, beer, and onions that the Belgians gave us in carbonade has been one of the richest, most savory dishes we’ve ever made. The decision to eliminate our loser in this match pains us both, but we both knew in our hearts it was the right choice. The winner of this 2014 World Cup of Food qualifying match between Belgium and Scotland is:
Belgium will meet the winner of the upcoming Austria vs. Romania match for a spot in the final round. We leave Scotland with the words of its late poet Robert Burns:
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak yer place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my airm.
Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if Ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!