Clarissa Dickson Wright, The Haggis: A Little History (Pelican Press, 1998)
Books like this make me wonder: what is the publishing industry thinking jacking up their prices every year, like clockwork, assuming we're going to buy this "cost of living increase" nonsense?
Clarissa Dickson Wright's The Haggis: A Little History is a small, lavishly-illustrated hardback priced such that, if the carpings of other publishers are to be believed, Pelican must have taken a major loss printing and selling it for the price they do. One would expect to see a book of this beauty selling for at least three times this price solely to break even. (Heed well, poetry fans. You're getting screwed on those fifteen-dollar trade paperbacks of less than an hundred pages. Not that you're surprised, but now you have hard evidence.)
As to the content of the book itself, it's a short essay by Dickson Wright (the surviving member of the wonderful Two Fat Ladies) on the origins, history, and popularity of the dish that has come to be associated with Scotland more than any other, though it's been said the Scots invented whiskey because they had to eat haggis. With her trademark wit and charm, Dickson Wright sheds new light on the much-maligned supersausage. Maybe even enough new light to get a few folks to try the stuff. Maybe. Folks, if you have tried scrapple and thought you were eating something akin to haggis, think again. (One word: oatmeal.)
A lovely little book. Granted, probably not for everyone, but giving a slew of these to children as birthday presents (you can remove the dust jacket; the actual book cover is just as beautiful and far more durable) may finally take the taint off the Scottish Hot Dog once and for all. ****