As anyone that knows me well will tell you, I’m not the biggest fan of change. I’m working on it – I’m well aware, after all, that it’s inevitable, that everyone will experience it, that it doesn’t have to be an inherently bad thing. I know. I know. But it’s just so much more comfortable to stick to the familiar. It’s so much easier to choose the safe option. As a result of this, over the years my food choices have remained relatively limited. When it came to new foods, I preferred just not to try at all; why bother when there were so many meals that I knew I enjoyed? By ‘so many’, of course, I mean about five, but that seemed more than enough to live on.
As I might have mentioned, once or twice, this month I’ve been living in Scotland. I’ve been here for nearly four weeks now and every day on my way to work I’ve wandered (sometimes wandered, sometimes rushed, sometimes flat out ran) past one particular pub. Said pub is halfway up a close – which, for the non Scottish, means an alley or a lane but with added stairs – and has a sign outside which reads ‘Haggis’. It says other things, of course, but these tend to change on a daily basis. Haggis remains a constant, and every morning I’m reminded that I haven’t actually tried any yet. I haven’t taken a risk. I haven’t fully appreciated Edinburgh, or Scotland, or anything, until I’ve ordered it; by this stage, week 4, it’s been built up in my head into such an experience that I’ve forgotten what I’m actually eating.
Which is maybe a good thing, because finally, finally this week I took the plunge. I didn’t want to do it. I’d been talking about it all week, but I’d been talking around the subject. No, actually, I hadn’t tried it yet. Yes, I knew that I should do, yes I was planning on it. Maybe, maybe, maybe. My plan was to put it off and put it off until I forgot about it and it was time to go home; no adventure, no risk, no change. And yet, somehow, I found myself in what is possibly the smallest pub in the whole of Edinburgh, at a crowded table, with a plate of ‘Haggis, Neeps and Tatties’ staring me in the face.
I realise it might seem like I’m making this into an unnecessarily big deal. I realise that haggis, actually, when you think about it, is just another form of meat. It’s a delicacy, after all, and no one was forcing me to eat it. And, actually, as soon as I properly tried it, that’s the thing that struck me most. It was different. It wasn’t my favourite. But it wasn’t terrible; the build up and the expectation had been more dramatic by far. The anticipation of the change had been much worse than the change itself – life lesson duly noted, thank you Scotland. Just don’t ask me to provide a recipe.