We giggled like little kids at our foolishness before both agreeing that we were so hungry that we desperately needed to get going before we got ill from the hunger pains. The only question was where would we go for food? We were all the way out in Stirling, so it wasn't as though we could just go by the house and grab a quick bite. If we were that hungry, we would have to find somewhere local... somewhere with local food.
Starving hungry and not entirely sure where to go, we found a little restaurant and stumbled into it, starving. Robert pointed out an English flag someone had attached to the antenna of their car and said how foolish an idea that was before we went in to the restaurant. Having just come from the Wallace Monument, dedicated to a man who fought his whole life against the English, I understood that more than ever. We chucked and headed toward the smell of food.
Irn Bru, pronounced "Iron Brew" turned out to be Scotland's 'other' national drink. It's non-alcoholic and has a unique flavor unlike anything I'd ever had before. It's a soda, just like Coke or Pepsi, but it comes out of the can in a neon orange color. As much as I like to describe things, I couldn't do justice to the beverage. I wouldn't know where to begin describing the flavor. It's fabulous - and for anyone in the Los Angeles area, it's almost at your finger tips. It can be found for sale on board the Queen Mary in Long Beach in the Scottish gift shop. When I got back from Scotland I wanted some Irn Bru so badly that I sought it out and purchased two bottles when I really couldn't afford it. If you end up with some - be sure to have it well chilled first. It's best when cold.
We ordered our food and talked for a while about what we had experienced over the past three days. We had seen and done things we would likely never tell another living soul about and we had seen and done things we wanted to share with the whole world. I wasn't the only one with a spinning head. Absent-mindedly I began fidgeting with the sugar packets in a bowl before me. There were several different colored packets in the bowl and after a minute I started to notice the names on them.
"What's brown sauce," I asked.
"You're kidding me on," he answered.
"No, why? What is it? Is it something gross?"
"You don't know what brown sauce is?!"
Suddenly I felt as though I had two heads. I shook my head no and watched as he broke open the corner of the packet, grabbed my hand, squeezed some onto my finger tip and told me to taste it. I lifted my finger to my mouth and tasted...
It was like vinegar and salt mixed with a mild barbecue sauce to me. The look of complete puzzlement on his face was enough to leave me laughing for several long minutes until the waitress came over to check on us. She had a spirited personality with lots of personality and pzazz - and I wanted to tell Robert that without using so many words. Suddenly we got into a discussion that would turn both of our faces red. There are several words that don't mean the same thing in Scotland as they do in the States. Apparently, I found out just this morning, the same goes for hand signals.
The word I used for the waitress was fairly common and complimentary in America, but quite gross and vulgar in Scotland. There's another word I used that afternoon that is a polite alternate to using the word 'butt' in the United States that is quite possibly one of the most vulgar words a person can use in the United Kingdom. Before that day, I honestly didn't know that. My face turned as red as my hair and I wanted to slide under the table. Luckily we were having a late lunch or an early dinner, so the place was pretty empty. Robert's face grew more red than mine as his eyes teared up in hysterical embarrassment at having to tell me what it meant.
By the time the Haggis came out to the table, we were both laughing so hard we could barely breath. The poor waitress had no idea what was going on and finally just walked away in her confusion. The food was steaming hot and we couldn't dive right in to eating it, so we concentrated on holding in our laughter first.
"Looks awful, huh? I don't think anyone can make Haggis look appetizing."
"I think it looks incredible!! I bet I can make it look good." I picked up my camera and took a photo of my plate, making sure to include the whisky cream sauce in the shot.
After I put down my camera, I couldn't hold my hunger anymore. I poured the sauce over the meal and dove in head first. I was starving, and I had already fallen in love with Haggis.
TO BE CONTINUED...
"Flower of Scotland"
Photo taken at the Wallace Monument
(C) July 28th 2010