Real Cooking

Should auld acquaintance be forgot

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot

And auld lang syne?

Chorus: For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne.

We’ll tak’ a cup o’kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup,

And surely I’ll be mine;

And we’ll tak’ a cup o’kindness yet

For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,

And pou’d the gowans fine;

But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,

Sin’ auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,

Frae moning sun till dine;

But seas between us braid hae roar’d.

Sin’ auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!

And gie’s a hand o’thine!

And we’ll tak’ a right guid-wellie waught,

For auld lang syne.”

-Robert Burns

We have a running joke in our family that goes something like this. Whenever my husband, Keith, stumbles over a word he’s trying to say, or if he happens to slip up on an article of grammar, I pipe up and say, “That’s OK, dear, my people came to this country speaking the language. You’re still trying to catch up.”

It’s meant as a harmless tease for my dear spouse, whose ancestors migrated from Poland and Germany by way of Russia. My family, on the other hand, came from England, Ireland and Scotland and consequently didn’t have to struggle with learning a new language.

At least in theory.

Some years ago, Keith and I traveled to Scotland, and it was then that I discovered that even though the Scots technically speak English, it can be with a brutal accent and an intermingling of native Gaelic. On that trip, a most genial gentleman escorted us through Edinburgh Castle. I think I picked up about a third of what he was trying to tell us.

I loved it as I imagined that this is probably how my great grandmother, Elizabeth Cooper Robinson, might have spoken when she set foot in this country while still in her teenage years back in the late 1800s.

Grandma Robinson, as she came to be known, was gone by the time I was born, but her legend lives on in the memories of her many progeny like my older brother and sister who have memories of a lovely woman with a Scottish accent.

Mother to 12 children, and stepmother to another son, Grandma Robinson made a home far away from her native Scotland in the tiny town of Florence, Kan. As a young girl, she probably would have never believed that one day she would leave the “braes” of Scotland for the plains of Kansas.

She must have been very brave-or foolhardy-or a bit of both. And even though I never knew her, I feel a bond. For her and for her native land.

Every New Year’s Eve, when we gather to celebrate another year past and a new one beginning, I think of the young Elizabeth Cooper. Did she ever congregate with family and friends on Dec. 31 and lift her voice in song, singing the words of her fellow Scot, Robbie Burns? Did she ever get misty-eyed thinking of her home across the sea?

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot? And days of auld lang syne?”

I’m not sure if she ever did. Maybe such frivolity didn’t fit in with her staunch Presbyterian faith and with 13 children to care for, there probably weren’t too many late nights in the Robinson household. Except for illness or childbirth, that is.

As for a “right guid willie-waught,” well, forget about it. Not even on New Year’s Eve. That staunch Presbyterian thing, you know.

Traditionally, many cultures believe that anything in the shape of a ring is good luck on New Year’s as it symbolizes the “coming full circle” in the completion of another year’s cycle. That’s why the Dutch eat doughnuts on New Year’s Day.

Another tradition holds that if a tall, dark-haired man visits your household on New Year’s Day, the coming year will be particularly blessed.

I’m not sure if a tall man will show up for breakfast, but I like the idea of serving doughnuts on New Year’s morning to celebrate the completion of one year and the beginning of another. And to remind us of another circle that doesn’t end. Elizabeth’s life on earth has been completed, but the cycle continues.

With my German, Polish, English, Irish, Scottish children.

I’ll teach them to sing “Auld Lang Syne” in the Scots, but I’ll give the English translation to their dad.

He’s still learning the language.

* * *

Should old friendship be forgot

And never remembered?

Should old friendship be forgotten,

And days of long ago?

And surely you will have your


And surely I’ll have mine.

And we will take a cup of kindness yet.

For days of long ago.

We two have run about the hills

And we’ve pulled the daisies fine.

But we have wandered many a weary


Since days of long ago.

We two have waded in the stream

From dawn till dinner time.

But seas between us broad have


Since days of long ago.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!

And give me a hand of thine!

And we’ll take a large draught

For days of long ago.

* * *

Buttermilk Doughnuts

1 pkg. dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

3/4 cup scalded buttermilk

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup shortening

1/2 cup fresh mashed potato

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp. nutmeg

31/2 to 4 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in water; set aside. Combine remaining ingredients; stir in yeast. Knead five minutes or until smooth. Let rise until double. Roll out onto floured board to half-inch thickness. Cut doughnuts with cutter. Let rise 30 minutes and fry in hot oil until brown on both sides. Drain and dust with sugar. Makes about 24.

More from article archives
Hillsboro, Newton trade late-inning wins
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF The Hillsboro and Newton American Legion teams traded...
Read More