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'Amazing Race,' In Scotland, whiskey barrels, poetry and haggis

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This episode includes poetry and haggis. Actually, poetry and haggis together! A little haggis always makes the poetry go down easier, don’t you think?

Let’s kick things off with ...

Airport Shenanigans of Mistaken Euphoria

You know that feeling you get when you get the last tickets to Scotland on an earlier flight, and your least favorite teams are stuck on a flight three hours later? You do a little dance, skip around, maybe plan to do some sightseeing with all that free time you’ll be enjoying? So that’s Joey and Meghan and Mona and Beth.

Bates and Anthony aren’t happy with the later flight, though, so they go in search of something better. Oh, look, they find something two hours earlier! Jennifer and Caroline get that flight, too, and Max and Katie already secretly know about it, so suddenly the back of the pack heads to the front.

Make up your own jokes

Teams drive themselves to Gosford House, which is really only a house in that maybe once upon a time people lived there. But, seriously, it’s a castle. It’s like that last episode of "Downton Abbey" when they went to visit relatives in Scotland and they lived in a castle. That’s Gosford House.

The Royal Regiment of Scotland, a serious bagpiping band, is waiting. For the Roadblock, one person must learn to play a harmonizing note on the bagpipes and carry the tune for two minutes while they march around the Marble Room with the Royal Scots. The Marble Room is probably four times the size of the house you live in, at least, so again it’s not much of a room. I guess the Scots are just modest with their names.

Max looks dashing in a kilt. He learns for a bit, then says, “The more practice I did, the more time I was wasting,” so he just heads out and plays the pipes. He passes on his first try.

Bates is half-Scottish (and I swear I thought he looked Scottish before he said anything! A descendant of a Highlander, for sure). He finishes on his first try, too.

Caroline tries. Jennifer says, “She’s a singer, she knows how to blow.” Only not so much because after six tries Caroline’s mouth won’t work anymore.  Then she cries and tries again and passes.

Caroline collapses on the floor in joy, then she stands up and hugs her trainer. “I have found my husband in Scotland,” she declares. “His name is Jim. I think he’s 70.” They make a great couple.

A few hours later, Mona makes quick work of the bagpipes.

Meghan does the Roadblock, saying, “Oh my gosh! I played the trumpet for like four years!” Later, she says of her coach, “I basically made out with that guy. He was putting his mouth all over my bagpipe.” Meghan is the most awkward-looking bagpiper but she passes.

Roll out the barrels!

For the Detour, Bates and Anthony choose to roll eight barrels of whiskey uphill to a festival. But rolling isn’t manly enough for them, so they carry the barrels on their hulking shoulders. Yowza.

“I feel like the Greek gods, holding up the world,” says Bates. “We have the same body.”

If you’ve never written poetry for your food before then you don’t love your food very much

The other Detour option is to make some haggis. If you’d like to continue living your life without knowing what haggis is, then skip ahead. Otherwise, the recipe given in the show is: ground up heart, liver, lungs, and fat, mixed with seasoning and oats, and stuffed into an ox’s intestine. Then it’s tied off like sausages and cooked somehow, or maybe just warmed. Haggis!

You know who loved haggis? Robert Burns, an 18th century Scottish poet. While Max and Katie are stuffing some intestines, Robert Burns walks in to the Sheep Heid Inn and recites:

Fair and full is your honest jolly face

Great chieftain of the sausage race!

Above them all you take your place,

Stomach, tripe or intestines:

Well are you worthy of a grace

As long as my arm.

You powers, who make mankind your care,

And dish them out their bill of fare,

Old Scotland wants no watery stuff

That splashes in small wooden dishes;

But if you wish her grateful prayer,

Give her a Haggis!

Doesn’t it make you want to pump your fist into the air and shout, “F— yeah, haggis!” I guess poetry could be considered the food Instagram of the Olden Days. Now I want everyone to write a poem about what they had for dinner last night. I’ll start.

Italian wedding soup

I was out of tomato paste

I used ketchup instead

It didn’t change the taste

Pureed for the kids

Chunky for the grownups

Leftovers in my fridge

Nobody throwed up.

I mean, I could write something awesome, but it’s late, I don’t want to lose sleep over it. It was just soup, not haggis.

Do you need more haggis chat? Haggis Chat, by the way, should totally be a real talk show or at least a band name. Caroline: “What is haggis?” Jennifer: “Probably like a meat pudding.” Caroline: “I blew something hard all day, now let’s just eat it.” *rimshot*

Meghan: “You know what haggis is, don’t you?” Joey: “No I don’t. Tell me.” Meghan: “You don’t want to know.”

A rainbow of a speed bump

Mona and Beth have to bowl for their speed bump, but in Scotland it’s called skittles (not like the candy, unless it totally is) and the balls don’t have holes for fingers. They play at the oldest pub in Edinburgh, so old that they have to run down the lane and reset the pins themselves. Also, the floor is a little wonky so they have to aim to the left. It’s not regulation skittles, exactly.

I turn, U turn, We all turn!

The Double U-turn would have been very interesting if that airport scenario had ended differently. But it didn’t. The top three teams made a deal to U-turn Joey and Meghan and Mona and Beth, and that’s exactly what they do.

YouTube and the Moms had been making haggis together, but Mona and Beth finished several minutes earlier because of their ninja mom cooking skills. They start rolling barrels while Joey and Meghan finish stuffing haggis.

Meghan is not very strong rolling the barrels, so she and Joey team up to roll one barrel at a time. Mona and Beth finish first, but Joey and Meghan are catching up.

Jekyll and Hyde

The greeter at the Pit Stop mat looks like the Phantom of the Opera but with a more grotesque mask. Phil does his eyebrow to scare people, so it’s a pretty freaky mat.

Max and Katie take first place again, just edging out Bates and Anthony. Caroline and Jennifer are third.

After driving and running and suspense, Mona and Beth arrive in fourth place. Joey and Meghan are last, and Jekyll roars at them. Poor kids. Phil eliminates them.

Next week: Holy cow, it’s a two-hour finale! I’m not even prepared! Beth says that there’s a lot of absurdity, and I agree because it looks like someone goes snorkeling in a mud puddle. Stock up on cheese and haggis, everyone!

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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PoetryAuto RacingRobert BurnsCookingLifestyle and LeisureThe Amazing Race (tv program)Downton Abbey (tv program)
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