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Kilmeny Kail

This Saturday ( 13 April 2002 ) sees the annual Kate Kennedy procession through the Fife university town of St Andrews. In spite of being frowned upon as "non-pc" by Fife Council because the Kate Kennedy Club at St Andrews University is all-male the colourful procession will be enjoyed by the majority of townspeople and visitors. The original Kate Kennedy celebrations would appear to date from the Victorian era and developed from an end-of-the-session rag of the final year students in Arts in the late 1840's. >From a simple celebration within the limits of the United College by the 1860's it had developed into an elaborate procession through the streets. It was seen, in the eyes of the University authorities, as a public scandal as much as an academic misdemeanour. The conflict with the University became more acute and after some particular unpleasantness in 1874 the celebration was banned. An attempt to hold the event in 1879 was forestalled by the professors, but it was actually held again in 1881 before being firmly suppressed. In 1926 it was decided to revive the event in the form of a historical pageant and this has proved to be very popular. The festival was then held in late February but in 1938 the date was changed to the second Saturday in April.
 
The procession, which numbers some ninety figures, sets out at 2pm on its triumphal tour of the town. At the head walks the figure of St Andrew, bearing the cross of martyrdom, the Saltire of Scotland. The figures marching behind represent figures from the history of Scotland, ranging from Sir William Wallace and Robert 1, The Bruce, down to the present day, including the poet Robert Fergusson to whom Robert Burns owed so much and James Wilson, the Fife lawyer who drafted the American Constitution. Bringing up the rear, riding in a carriage preceded by a mounted herald, is Kate Kennedy "herself". Collections are made as the procession wends its way through the town for a local charity.
 
All the parading and cavorting of those taking part in the procession is bound to build up a healthy appetite which this weeks recipe, Kilmeny Kail, a dish from the Kingdom of Fife, is bound to satisfy. A tasty soup but first you have to catch your rabbit!!
 
Kilmeny Kail
 
Ingredients : 1 young rabbit approx 1 1/4 lb ( 625 g ); 1 lb bacon in a piece ( 500 g ); 2 pts water ( 1 L ); salt and pepper; 1 lb greens, cabbage and/ or kail, finely chopped ( 500 g )
 
Clean the rabbit well and cut into pieces. Put into a large pot with the bacon. Cover with water, bring to the boil, skim and simmer for 2-3 hours. When the meat is cooked, add the greens and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Remove the rabbit and bacon and serve separately. Dice a little of the meat and return it to the soup for garnish. Check seasoning, and serve with oatcakes.

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