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Sunday, 19 February 2017


Around 2,500 BC, the Ancient Egyptians are known to have eaten pies made with ground oats or wheat wrapped around a filling of honey or figs.

The Sumerians developed the first chicken pies.

A chicken pie with a traditional pie bird

The Ancient Greeks developed the first true pastry.

The Ancient Romans brought pies to Britain.

In classical times pies contained assortments of meat and fish. Fruit pies did not appear until the late 16th century.

In the 12th Century the most common filling for pie was fowl, with the legs hanging out to use as handles to eat the pie.

In the 13th century, King Henry III of England awarded a royal charter to Yarmouth binding it "to send to the sheriff of Norwich every year 100 herrings baked in 24 pasties". These pasties had to be taken to the Lord of the manor of East Carlton, who took them to the King.

The earliest reference to pie being used in relation to food was in 1301. Until the 14th century the only meaning of pie in English was as a word for the magpie.

In the Middle Ages in England, thick pie or ( 'pye' as it was usually spelt) crusts were mainly seen as dishes in which to cook meat. While the gentry ate the meat, the crusts, known as coffyns, were viewed as almost inedible and were given to servants or to the poor or beggars.

An Umble pie was a dish made from the "umbles" (liver, heart, brains, feet etc.) of a deer, or other animal killed in a hunt. After being topped with a layer of dried fruit the mixture was put into a pastry case and baked. This pie, however, was not for the aristocracy, who eat only the superior fleshy part of the deer, it was only considered suitable for the huntsmen and the servants. That is why the phrase "to eat humble pie" means that someone of lower rank is forced to give way to those in higher positions, and be made humble.

Often during the festivities of a tournament a large pie was baked and live birds concealed inside. Then in the great hall the pie was opened, the birds flew about, and the falcons were loosed at them. This was considered great sport and was immortalized in the nursery rhyme:
Sing a song of sixpence, pocket full of rye, 
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie; 
When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing; 
Wasn't that a dainty dish to set before a king?

Game or mutton pie was popular in late medieval England. These pies topped with rich aspic jelly and other sweet spices were cooked for hours in a slow oven. The eating of "hote pies" is mentioned in William Longland's late 14th century poem, Piers Plowman.

In 1490 The Bishop of St Andrews declared that meat pies are too English and banned their consumption in Scotland.

The Pilgrim fathers and early settlers brought their pie recipes with them to America, adapting to the ingredients and techniques available to them in the New World. Their first pies were based on berries and fruits pointed out to them by the Native North Americans.

Shakespeare gives a recipe for pies in A Winter's Tale including ginger, mace, nutmeg, prunes, raisins and saffron to color it.

Shakespeare killed two of his characters off with the pastry meal in Titus Andronicus, The title character gained revenge on Queen Tamora by baking her sons into a pie.

Oliver Cromwell banned the eating of pie in England 1644, declaring it a pagan form of pleasure. For 16 years, pie eating and making went underground until the Restoration leaders lifted the ban on pie in 1660.

In 1831 a Leicestershire pie-maker, Edward Adcock, had the idea of transporting pork pies to London. They became fashionable among the hunting fraternity, who developed a liking for the portable, pocket-sized snacks on the annual Melton Mowbray fox hunt.

Steak and kidney pie goes back to a recipe for steak and kidney pudding by Mrs Beeton in 1861.

"Pie in the sky" comes from a 1911 US folk song lyric: "You’ll get pie in the sky when you die", referring to heavenly reward for earthly suffering.

Cream filled or topped pies are favorite props for slapstick humor. Throwing a pie in a person's face has been a staple of film comedy since Ben Turpin received one in Mr. Flip in 1909. Laurel and Hardy’s The Battle of the Century ends with a pie fight in which over 3,000 baked goods are flung.

The most expensive pie sold for a huge £8,195 which was £1,024 per slice to only 8 guests in 2005 at the Fence Gate Inn, Lancashire. The filling was wagyu fillet of beef with matsutake mushrooms a £4,000 of premium red wine.


According to the American Pie Council, 20% of Americans have eaten an entire pie.

In the US there is a Pie special interest group – the American Pie Council.

The world record for hands-free eating of blueberry pie is 9.17lb in eight minutes. It is held by Patrick "Deep Dish" Bertoletti, an American competitive eater.

The world record for eating apple pie is 4.375 three-pound apple pies in eight minutes.

Besides pumpkin pie, the South eats sweet potato pie, the East eats apple pie, and the Midwest and West eat cherry pie on Thanksgiving.

Soueces Comptons Encyclopaedia, Food For Thought by Ed Pearce, Daily Express. Londonbusinessweb

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