If you need an excuse for a party, here’s a sufficiently “improving” one. Tonight is Burns Night, when Scots the world over memorialize the life and work of their beloved Robert “Rabbie” Burns. I haven’t read enough Burns, but can recommend his “Address to the Deil” and of course “To a Mouse,” if you need a place to begin. Have a look at this great introduction to the Bard. There’s even a trivia generator: “Auld Lang Syne was originally set to a different tune but the publisher rejected it so Burns set it to the one commonly sung today . . .”

Now that you’re experts, on to the important question: What makes a Burns Supper? As near as I can tell, the requisite items are lads, lasses cock-a-leekie soup, haggis (“warm-reekin,” if possible), champit tatties, bashed neeps, and whiskey, the latter presumably to cancel out the flavor of whatever a “neep” might be. But I’ll leave you to it, and leave you with this stirring verse:

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
                    That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer
                    Gie her a haggis!