Pies-R-Squared readers have told us about their pie experiences, their likes and dislikes and their pie secrets. We welcome most views, but not those of bigots, racists, religious zealots, cranks, fanatics or vegetarians.
(We are currently having bother with the electronic superhighway, so our email address is out of bounds until repairs can be carried out. Watch this space.)
Tell us about your pie experiences, share with others the joys - or disappointments - you have had from pies.
Tell us where to buy good pies, and where to avoid if we don’t want bad ones.
We’ll publish the best e-mails. But don’t expect any prizes or daily updates. If you want to be pestered by sad people who trawl the web in an effort to find friends, include your address. But be warned … we can’t be held responsible for the anoraks who may respond.
Recent postbag contents (in no particular order … be patient, it's a long page, and another follows) include:
Dearest, I speak
English difficult. My Polska grandada fly Spitfire in Britain Battle ("Hande
hoch", "Englander schweinhund" - see, I grow with Wizard comic).
Grandada say Ingle food is rude word in Polska. Except for "groulings",
he say. Grandada now dead, but say many before: "Groulings ist
schmergenskindrel." No, means nada to me, too. Living grandmama say
means extreme fantastico. In Ingle, grandada eat always Polska sausage.
Before dead, tells: "Groulings best than Polska sausage nord
Szczecin-Bialystok line." Grandada my hero. Brave man. Honest man. So, is true, I think. Groulings best food in Ingle. No? Bravo grandada!
Editor writes: Thanks Pete. We think we know what you mean. Your grandad’s
help during B of B made sure we could safeguard the future of “groulings” from an
invasion by wursts of all varieties.
Piemeister, I'm not fishing for an Arts n' Pies correspondent job or anything, but having previously brought the two seemingly incongruous areas (are Pies an area?) together, I now find it easier to draw your public's attention to a series on Radio 4 on Sunday afternoon called "Who Ate All the Pies?" Presenter, poet Ian Macmillan (sorry but this is Radio 4), toured the country to sample and investigate the history of local varieties of pie. The first edition found him in Melton Mowbray, home of the traditional porkie and can be heard again on http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/progs/listenagain.shtml under 'W'. Should suit those araldite folk of whom ye spake. (No wonder they stick together eh?)
Best wishes, Schnorbitz
Editor writes: Thanks Schnor. You have already introduced this site to poetry, the Morrisons late queue and bus shelters (see later letters), now it’s Radio 4! Yes, we heard the programme, and have to admit we were a bit disappointed. The presenter’s accent promised much (Barnsley, Yorks, home of many a good pie), but come up with the goods it did not. Do we REALLY need to know how a Melton Mowbray pie is made? Surely, if most of us knew how the objects of our desire were made and what went into them, we wouldn’t even touch them, let alone eat the buggers. But at least the prog has attracted national attention to piedom. The bloke (poet in residence at Barnsley FC, apparently) was better on “Have I got News for You” than on his radio prog. More power to your elbow, pal.
Dear Madam, Permit me to introduce a note of controversy, hopefully in helpful contrast to the crusty orthodoxy of your more regular correspondents (pace Agnes D, Steve B, Frank C, Betty B, Reggie C, et al … see below)). I was dining with some famous friends the other evening in a charming bijou restaurant newly opened in the fair Georgian city of Bath. Among that night’s specials was “petite pork growler with basil mash drenched in caper butter, accompanied by a feta and mint salad”. My companions, all fastidious aesthetes with the finest of palates, were quick to make reference to that well-known demarcation line known as Skegness-Birkenhead and heap merry ridicule on so fanciful a combination. Being by nature a nonconformist (Wesley Methodist Chapel, Hartlepool, which I believe is now, sadly, a night club), I took it upon myself to ignore the catcalls of cynicism and test-drive the said growler. More special it could not have been! A world of subtlety opened before me. I was transported. Only once before have I enjoyed such delicate nuances of flavour, in a charming bijou restaurant in France as it ’appens, when I first encountered those thin slices of pig’s stomach known as “andouillette”, cleverly accompanied by frites and mushy peas. Fellow pie-lovers, I say to you – raise your sights, cast off that rigid cloak and feed at the trough of sensual pleasure where’er it may be found (and the waitresses round these parts are pretty tasty, too).
Leonardo de C.
Editor writes: Thanks Len. Your araldite contribution has, in fact, prompted a new diversion on this site … a page exposing the sort of pretentious shite you found in your Bath restaurant (are you sure it wasn’t a bistro?). If your mates are fastidious aesthetes, what did they win at the Olympics?
Dear Pies-R-So-Square, I refer to Lennie de C’s disgraceful suggestion that certain correspondents to your esteemed organ have poor taste. My wife Jessie and I spend every holiday in either Malta, Cyprus, Majorca, Jersey or the Canary Isles, so we don’t need fancy dans like Lennie to teach us anything about being sophisticated. And we had feta cheese that time we went to Crete (though we didn’t like it much, too hot, Crete that is not the cheese). And we know what bijou means, and petite, so don’t come your smart-alec southern ways with us. And we’ve been having pork growlers with basil mash for years. Hah! They’ve only just discovered it down there in fancy-fan-dan Bath, have they? Well, I’ll tell you something – the Romans had steamed sliced pig’s stomach with basil mash in their bait tins long before smart-arse-fancy-man Beau Brummel ever clapped eyes on your fair fancy Georgian city of Bath. So there!
Reggie Cellophane (Curator, National Museum of Roman Packed Lunches)
Editor writes: Er, thanks Reg. Oh, Nurse …fetch the mustard poultice
Madam, You ask
readers to e-mail your site but "only if they have something worthwhile
to say". I have nothing worthwhile to say but I'll defend to the death
my right to say it, or not to say it even, depending on how I feel at
Basil Mash (Director-General, Skegness-Birkenhead Association, South-West Branch)
writes: Too right
Bas. We didn’t fight two world wars just for the right not to have
anything worthwhile to say, did we?
Chère Madame, Nous avons très délicieux "snacks" ici en France, qui nous donnons le nom "pâté en croûte". Nous aimons beaucoup nos pâtés en croûte et aussi nous somme très sophistiqué. Tout le mieux.
Jacques Andouillette (Hon. Treasurer, Skegness-Birkenhead Association, South-West France Branch)
Editor ecrit: Merci, Jacques. Est ce que vous etes tout droit (get il?). Il est toujours bon to get les livres from les autres civilisations. Si vous sont “sophistique”, comment come vous mangez l’escargot at les jambons de frog?
I am writing a biography of the late and much-lamented Archimedes and
came across your site when doing a Google search on the well-known
mathematical relationship between the radius of a circle and its
circumference. It appears that your correspondent Reginald Cellophane is
under the impression that pies are square. Well, Mr C, I'll have you
know that when Archie made his very first calculation of the famous
ratio (to two decimal points, no less), he used a piece of twine and a
mutton growler bought that very day in Syracuse high street from
butchers Morrelopoulos & Sons. If it had been a square growler, you
nincompoop, it wouldn't have taken him five minutes to work out the
circumference. I rest my case.
Olive Pesto (Professor of Pre-Roman Foodstuffings, Wigan University)
Editor writes: I think you may have missed the point here, Prof.
Dear Sir, despite being from the south and despite the fact that I like puff or flaky pastry meat pies please, please, please tell me the place I can get some nice mince beef and onion pies from over the internet. I know all the best pies are up north but that doesn’t mean we southerners can’t appreciate them does it? After admitting that we can’t make them properly of course. Hope some fellow pie lover can help me with some web addresses.
Marc the Beefandonionaholic
Editor writes: it’s no coincidence, Marc, that flaky pastry is also called puff pastry. See what we mean? But it’s good to hear from a pie asylum seeker who’s clearly willing to learn. Mince and onion by mail order? Can anybody help him?
The views expressed in the letters published here are not those of this website, anybody who has ever had anything to do with it or, in many cases, anybody who has ever been of sound mind. If you object to any of the views expressed here, write to your MP and don’t pester us.
Dear Pies-R-Squared, I enclose a picture (above) of two pork pies nestling comfortably, one might almost say temptingly, on a dry stone wall in the Yorkshire Dales. The pies were bought at Morrells in Hartlepool who, in the opinion of many experts, sell the best pies in England. They were then rushed in a sealed container the 50 miles for the photo-shoot. The pies did not make it back to the car. I wonder if any of your readers can come up with pie pictures in similarly exotic/pretty/unusual locations ... like the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China or A Job Centre in Liverpool.
Editor writes: Well, readers, any ideas?
How about a half-eaten pie spotted in Teesdale (above)?
This is, in fact, a posed picture. But it was felt that adding a growler to a shooting box wall would turn an area of outstanding natural beauty into an area of even more outstanding natural beauty. And it appears to work. For those who don’t know, shooting boxes are to be found on grouse moors all over the country and are used by toffs to hide in just in case the grouse get angry and turn on them. The toffs usually have loads of guns, dogs and hangers-on with them, but the shooting boxes provide further protection if needed … there’s nothing more dangerous than an angry grouse.
Dear Pies-R-Squared, in answer to your request for pictures of pies in exotic locations, how about this one (above) for the archaeological find of the century? A party of pie fans was walking along Hadrian's Wall when we espied a growler atop the World Heritage Site. Imagine our surprise to see it nestling there, in top-top condition, on stones which have stood there in wild Northumbria for two millennia. Do we win a prize?
Editor writes: no.
Dear Pies-R-Squared, Great site. As a dedicated pie fan, it's nice to have an on-line resource to whet my appetite when no pies are to hand.
Birds Bakery in Derby do a fine 'growler'; very crisp pastry, and meaty filling, but perhaps too highly seasoned for some tastes. Howarths of Belper(relatives of mine), although better known for their black puddings (will they be included in your sausage site?), also do a very good pork pie, and their sausage rolls are a delight. Proper short crust pastry, not that flaky Southern nonsense, and a good meaty filling, rather than the gristle and grease some use.
Ham and egg pies do seem to be a little known delicacy; certainly in my neck of the woods (Derbyshire), they are virtually unobtainable, and on my travels around the North of England, I very rarely spot them. The one exception to this seems to be Hull, where I have managed to purchase them from various butchers shops and delis. Why is this city the hotbed of ham and egg pie production? Never quite as good once they have been frozen, but this is necessary as I have to stock up on them while I am there, and couldn't possibly eat them all in one go (although I have tried!). My favourite way of eating them is with some chunky golden home made chips, baked beans, bread and butter, and lashings of HP sauce; a true treat!
Keep up the good work!
Editor writes: Thanks Chris. Go further North, and ham and egg pies can be found at the deli in Fenwicks, Newcastle (big ones, cut into wedges) and at Morrells, Hartlepool (individual size). But we always preferred the ones our mam used to make.
Dear Pies-R-Squared, I really like pies.
Editor writes: Thanks Barry. Your brief but incisive epistle is a valuable contribution to the great pie debate.
Dear Pies-R-Squared, Fancy mince or steak and kid packed tight in a golden crust? Try Superpie, Coatsworth Road, Gateshead.
Dave Hindmarsh, Gateshead.
Editor writes: We took your advice, Dave. And they are a treat, well worth the trip. But then, more recently, we found their meat content below the Pies-R-Squared minimum. They are therefore officially on probation and we'll report back later..
Unfortunately, my job (and the money, and the scenery, and the way of
life, and the women, and . . .) keeps me in the South of England where
it is almost impossible to find even a half-decent growler. Why is this?
Your website alludes many times to an almost congenital (that's con-genital) connection between the North and fine pies. Can this be true? I was resting in a local boozer the other day when I happened into conversation with a chap from Hartlepool by the name of Jeff Mohun, who claimed to have solved this conundrum (that's con-undrum).
As a lad watching Hartlepools United, Jeff said he couldn't wait for half-time to come so that he could dash off and buy a steaming hot pie and a cup of Oxo. After he'd worked his way back to behind the goal he noticed that a remarkable change had taken place in his posture. He was almost bent double with concupiscence (that's con-cupiscence). He put this down to the pies rather than the Oxo, taking the view that even Freud would find it hard to link a beef-extract drink with a stiffy.
It is Jeff's opinion that, either deliberately or by chance, pies made in the North contain an ingredient that creates in the mind of the consumer (that's con-sumer) an association with romance. How else to explain the common North-East custom of presenting your true love with a bagful of growlers on St Valentine's Day? Personally, I think we're all being conned. I rest my case.
Steve Barnes, Somewhere down south.
Editor writes: Bollocks.
Sir, I am not a
crank but I am a bigot. Thank you for publishing this letter.
Yours, Frank Crank
Editor writes: Keep it up, Frank. Our great nation was built by the likes of you.
Sir, I have
studied every link on your website and can find no mention of the Small
Pie Register. I am aghast that you claim to be a champion of hand-made
pies but have not thought to warn your readers of the necessity of
checking that the comestibles concerned carry an appropriate SPR number.
I quote from the regulations: "You must ensure that your pie is marked with its registered number (including the prefix ‘SPR’). This must be painted on, or fixed to the exterior of the pie, where it can be readily seen. Each digit of the number should be a minimum of 30 mm in height and 20 mm in width, except for the number 1, which should be 5 mm in width and have a thickness of 5mm with a space of 5 mm between each digit. The registered number should be displayed as either dark digits on a light background or as light digits on a dark background. Any plate or raised lettering used to display the number must be securely attached to the pie and should be effectively maintained and renewed where necessary."
Editor writes: Thanks Reg. You wouldn’t be from the South as well, would you?
Sir, I am not a
bigot, but I am a prude. I bet you won't publish this, on the flimsy
grounds that I have not mentioned pies. Although I have now, so maybe
that's all right.
PS: I'm also a crank.
Editor writes: Is there a doctor in the house?
Madam, It is often
claimed in uneducated circles that pies from south of a line between
Skegness and Birkenhead are made for Jessies. This surely can't be true,
I thought, and no sooner had the idea departed as swiftly as a Morrells
picnic porker than in through the door of my local boozer walked Reggie
Cellophane, an old drinking buddy who has spent a lifetime collecting
arcane facts and figures on post-Roman leisure snacks.
Alongside him was his wife, Jessie. Aha! A chance to test the theory.
"Jessie, my love," I said. "How would you like a fistful of this delicious southern growler, made geographically below a line between Skegness and Birkenhead?" "Not bleedin' likely," she replied. "I wouldn't have a pork pie if you floated it in diamonds and popped it in a bag for St Valentine's Day."
I rest my case.
Francis Crank (Deputy Director, Institute of Urbane Legends)
Editor writes: Cor blimey, I’ll go to the foot of the apples and pears. We just begin to digest Reggie’s stuff about the Small Pie Register when you hit us with this one. Our legal experts are studying both, but their initial findings suggest you must have some really interesting conversations in your boozer.
Sir, In your 'Pie
History' section, you ask whether Tough of the Track ever had pie with
his chips. Although I am unable to answer this question, I do know that
William Wilson, "the man in black", was a regular pie-eater.
This is evident from the following short extract from Issue 1119 of the Wizard comic, published on December 21, 1946.
In passing, I draw your attention to Wilson's lack of attire and suggest that, if he were alive today, he would be severely criticised for not wearing appropriate clothing to protect himself against the obvious pie-eating dangers that your site so sensibly warns against.
Snow was whirling against the windows of the tiny post office in the village of Axmoor, and the bleak moors on the borders of Somerset and Devon round about were blanketed in white, when the door opened. Into the post office walked a wiry man whose only garment was a pair of shorts. The snow had plastered his thin hair down over his forehead and where it melted, water glistened on his bare body. Old John Samson, who had kept the post office for years, gazed across the counter and shook
his head slowly. "It's pneumonia weather an' you walk about like this," he gasped. "I don't know how you don't catch your death of cold or die from exposure, Mr Wilson."
Wilson, the world-famous athlete gave a laugh. There was a twinkle in his eyes as he pointed to the glowing oil stove. "You're the one who ought to be afraid of catching cold, John - staying in this stuffy atmosphere," he chuckled. "Any pies for me?" Samson glanced at the door which Wilson had left wide open and gave a shudder. The wind was blowing flakes of snow into the room. He could not understand how a man could live in the open on Axmoor. "Yes, there's a pie for you - been here a couple of days," he said, fishing in a drawer. "Postman's been unable to get across the moors to you." Wilson took the pie and, avoiding the
stove, stood near the doorway to eat it . . .
Editor writes: Thanks for that Frank. "Axmoor" is obviously South of the Pie Line ... no wonder Wilson had to send for his pies.
Dear Pie, Yer waint get any where near't pleasure yer CAN get from a pie, from yar neck a' woods.Wiv best pies evr med and't biggest, hasta ever erd of 't Denby Dale Pie , biggest in't world? some times wi get foriners from't south an't north of Yorkshire tranna nick us receipies but wi con um bi sending um to Melton Mowbry so they can get stuffed wi lard. And to all you jaardies there nowt wrong wi coming second in pie mekkin wi can alus use it as back up. Best Pies Dendy Dale. Avoid like plague Asda / Morrison 4 for a £1.
Editor writes: A wonderful contribution from the Colonies there. Does anybody know what Mr Pieking is saying? Oh, nurse …
wonder if you can help me, er, my friend with a little pork pie problem?
I'm writing to you, in confidence, as you seem to be an oracle on all
things related to pies.
I, I mean he, regularly eats pies on walking expeditions around the countryside, usually at weekends. He's a pie traditionalist, being very picky about the pies he buys (none of those cellophane wrapped things). The question that's bothering him, is whether or not it is acceptable to eat a pork pie with mustard? He quite enjoys this you see, but wouldn't like to do anything that doesn't follow pie folklaw.
If this is OK, what sort of mustard should be used, and how should it be applied to the pie? (Bearing in mind the pies are normally eaten 'Al-fresco' … whatever that is).
On behalf of a pork pie fan, Chester le Street.
Editor writes: Do you think we really care what you eat with your pie? Get a life, you sad sod. Please also note, we are Pies-R-Squared, not Pies-R-Us, which is a stupid name.
have a problem. I love pies. But my boyfriend doesn't. In fact, whenever
I suggest a roll in the hay and a quick growler he'd just not
interested. He says he prefers a cheese and onion pastie and a copy of
the Radio Times. What shall I do? Please help!
Editor writes: Easy … ditch him. What kind of man doesn’t like pies? Where’s he from, the South or somewhere?
Dear Sir, I can thoroughly recommend Pork Farms' individual pork pies (below).
One of my regular
customers, Steve Barnes was looking for a tasty snack recently when I
introduced him to Pork Farms' premier product.
Steve was a bit hesitant as he had had some unpleasant experiences with regular high-street pies. I assured him he would have nothing bad to say about Pork Farms' excellent fare. He still wasn't sure so I gave him a little tip.
”Warm it up in a microwave for two minutes and eat it with chips,” I told him. His eyes went all twinkly and, from that day to this, Steve has been popping a Pork Farms pie in his shopping bag.
That's Pork Farms, of Queens Drive, Nottingham. Mmmmmmm.
PS: The picture shows a Pork Farms pie past its sell-by date, because that's how Steve likes them. This is not to be recommended but Steve seems quite a healthy fellow with very rosy cheeks.
Agnes Dudding, Limpley Stoke Post Office/General Store, Near Bath.
Editor writes: We can’t go along the cellophane-wrapped path with you Aggie, and we are tempted to guess that Steve’s ruddy cheeks could be down to Courage Directors rather than Pork Farms pies. We recently tried a Pork Farms product, and we are unable to comment for legal reasons.
“Cold Pork Pie vs Big Ben steak n' cheese. You're smoked.
“Looks like it will spark a pie war in Reading though! Wouldn't mind a good steak and cheese pie myself if you guys get around to tracking one down in the northern hemisphere!
“How many places can lay fame to having a pie-dedicated fast food chain? Only one. How many places have a national 'best pie' award that is recognised throughout the country and fiercely fought? Probably a couple...but none quite as emphatic as NZ.”
The stakes have got so high that the Thames valley local group of the International Pie Forum have been forced to organise a pie cook-off in order to quell these disrespectful and frankly ignorant statements. I feel that an addition to your website acknowledging the NZ pie as perhaps the second greatest pie nation in the world could help to avoid all out pie war. Additionally, any recommendations for a Kiwi purveyor of pies in the South East would be greatly appreciated in order to settle this debacle once and for all.
Yours in abject frustration.
Nick Hilton, Environmental Pie Scientist
PS. Compliments on the website, Fridays at work will never be dull again!
Editor writes: Quite a problem for the Home Counties there. Thanks for the praise, Nick. Yes, we do have some advice for your Kiwi colleague. Tell him or her to return whence he or she came and resume doing unspeakable things to sheep. Leave the clever stuff to us … we’ve been doing it for hundreds of years. Putting cheese in a pie smacks of vegetarianism, and that is banned on this site. Mind you, NZ pies aren’t bad. But their beer’s like moth piss.
Dear Pies-R-Squared, I was highly amused by your site, which I stumbled onto whilst looking for recipes for pickled beetroot. What about bacon? That great British invention full of fat, salt and just to add that final touch a liberal dousing of nitrates and nitrites which are carcinogenic. Whilst we're on the subject of the great British breakfast what about sausages, black pudding etc? Here in Scotland we have this great stuff called Lorne sausage which is basically big square chunks of really fatty sausage meat that you fry in extra lard to keep the cold out - a bit like eskimos chewing seal blubber I suppose, except that most houses in Scotland are now centrally heated so everyone just has heart attacks instead.
Keep up the good work.
Editor writes: Thanks Suzanne ... great to hear from a member of the fair sex who isn’t totally into aubergines and cous cous. Our aim is to concentrate on cooked meats, and bacon is, after all, just sliced pigs’ bum cheeks. So your request is reluctantly refused.
Sir Or Madman, I
thought I would share good some good news with fellow Northerners
regarding the Morrison's Supermarket Pie Counter, Byker on Tyne. Their
round steak variety is truly excellent, the crisp pastry is just the
right thickness, the pie deep and the meat firm but not tough. If cool
however I would advise a gentle warm-through in a moderate oven to
revive the oven freshness. None of your microwaving mind. I favour an
assemblage with mash, your favourite veg, beef gravy with a dab of
mustard and a bottomless bottle of Morrison's Claret. However I am told
that the Steakie tastes every bit as good whilst copulating in a Byker
An added bonus, and I hesitate to share this nugget, is that on a Friday night as closing time approaches bags of five round 'uns are sold off for a song. I usually hover round the nearby egg counter pretending to inspect Red Lions and then pounce the moment the hand releases the discount dinner. After a quick rendition of "Strangers in the Night" in payment I beetle home to feed my family who are by that time being eyed hungrily by the wolf at the door. I proffer a pie to the lupine trespasser but cosh him with the
Claret before he gets stuck in. And we all eat happily ever after. I don't have any Morrisons.
Newcastle upon Toon
Editor writes: Thanks Bernardo. Great to hear from somebody who’s found a cheap way to pass the pie habit down through the generations. We just hope your little ones grow up to be grateful, but they should perhaps go steady on the claret. We’ll get back to you re the bus shelter. We have tried the pies from Morrisons. Verdict: pastry OK, filling too much gravy, not enough meat. Useful only in emergencies.
queue for hours outside their Norwich shop during the festive season.
Dear Sir, Why are pork pies called growlers?
Kind regards Karl Richardson
Editor writes: Dunno. But we think this term only applies to pork pies. However, we note that the esteemed organ “Viz” recently tried to explain that a growler is so-called because it makes your stomach growl after you’ve eaten it. Doesn’t ring true to us, mind.
Sir, having moved
recently to Cardiff, as a Lancastrian I was naturally worried about the
quality of pies south of the Skegness and Birkenhead line, but upon
arrival I was recommended a Clarks' Pie by the local residents.
After a few weeks contemplation I decided to brave it, and took myself off to the local chippy to try it. Needless to say I was expecting the usually soggy southern nonsense they call “pies” in the south, something along the lines of G******* (censored on legal grounds) or P**** (ditto), but am delighted to report I was delighted with the results.
A light, browned shortcrust pastry with a filling of minced beef and gravy, served warm with chips and onion gravy, a delight to eat, heartily recommended to any pie lover on a visit to the city.
Next to find a decent Welsh growler.
writes: Great news
from the colonies. Well done Chris. Can anybody help him find a Taffy
Dear Sir, Hope this gets through. Loved your straight-to-the point website. Here at Myers Of Keswick we have been introducing Pork Pies and Sausage to our American cousins for almost twenty years now, with a reasonable amount of success. Cumberland Sausage, Made by Cumbrians. Our e-mail is email@example.com. We don’t very often respond to the waffle generated by our website, which is myersofkeswick.com. Cheers.
Editor writes: Well done, Peter. A free advert for Myers of Keswick is the least you deserve for taking pie culture across the Pond. Let’s wean the Yanks off pastrami and rye, grits and black-eyed peas (whatever they are).
Dear Sir, Re the Tough of the Track and pies (see Pie History) … forget the pies, what a provocative surname he had! Small wonder he was always telling authority figures to get stuffed! Enjoyed your Pie History. What about Jesus and pie in the sky?
Editor writes: You are no doubt referring to The Tough of the Track’s alter ego, Alf Tupper. Indeed, he did well to run so fast if he ever tried to live up to that surname … just shows what a bag of those big square chips can do.
Dear Sir, after buying two pork pies at the Marple branch of Littlewoods Butchers I wondered where was the thick casing of pastry with the golden brown hue?
The pies were far from aesthetically pleasing. The almost transparent, light brown pastry was only approximately 4mm thick over the whole pie, and there was a sprinkling of what I initially thought was icing sugar on the top!
My worst fears had come true - the only butchers within comfortable walking distance from home was below par.
I took my purchase home with a heavy heart. The pale looking imitation pie on the dinner plate in front of me (while I watched the second half of a Cagney and Lacey double bill) was a sorry sight indeed.
I then took an absent minded bite whilst engrossed in the seventies police drama. What a pleasant surprise! Years of taint from repeated exposure to G******* (censored) lacklustre pies from Stafford Services on the M6 washed away in an instant!
The pastry, although thin, was a perfect complement to the succulent pork within. The "icing sugar" was a scattering of flour! The pleasant aftertaste was without compare, and lingers now, 90 minutes later.
I therefore thoroughly endorse and recommend Littlewoods of Marple.
I will be trying out their Heaton Chapel branch in the near future.
Editor writes: First the States, now Greater Manchester - the pie gospel is spreading fast. We have now tried Littlewoods pies … the alleged pastry, tasting a bit like the cover of Yellow Pages, does let them down
Dear Sir, I am writing to offer three rousing cheers in support of your praise for Pickerings Norwich pies. As one who's had a belly-full in his time I can confirm that they are truly scrummy. Older effete East Anglians might recall the other famous Norfolk piemen.. Craskes. People would queue for hours outside their Norwich shop during the festive season. Yes siree.. Pickerings and Craskes... NORFOLK AND GOOD
Sir, far from
being a svelte gentleman, I would class myself as a pie lover and
thoroughly enjoyed your site. Having viewed the site in detail, I
thought it essential that I made yourselves and your viewing public
aware of a butcher, who I class as the best pie maker in the land.
Petch Butchers (Petchies) of Great Ayton make superb pies and offer a
good selection, including:
Pork (oh yes!)
Mince & Onion
Chicken & Mushroom
Bacon & Egg.
All in single, good sized pies or as larger “family” pies (the family ones are ideal for that pie moment, especially hang-overs). It is of vital importance that any pie lover visits Petchies and samples the delights for themselves. The full address is:
Mmmmm, pies. As a graphic design company, we also offer discounted rates to pie lovers; proof of pastry must be supplied (shameless plug).
Cheers and keep up the
Room for Design - Creative Solutions
Editor writes: Thanks Bob. In case anybody from South of the Pie Line (Skegness to Birkenhead) hasn’t heard of it, Great Ayton is (just) in North Yorkshire, south of Middlesbrough (home of Upex pies, but that’s another story). Petchies are good (we tried them recently) … but the meat is a bit salty and the pastry very crusty. However, don’t let this put you off. As Bob says, they are well worth a try. One point to note though - the pubs in GA are crap.
Dearest Pieman, Within the hallowed and historic crusty walls of this manly site I hesitate to broach the as yet undiscussed territory of the significance of the Pie within Twenty-First Century Art, but would be interested in your readers' reaction to an ostensibly harmless yet simultaneously subversive and enigmatic Pie performance by innovatory eggmen Weebl and Bob. The script is minimal yet disturbing. Kurosawa is an obvious influence yet there is an indisputable echo of the Mister Men. The piece is entitled simply "Mmmm, Pie":
http://www.weebl.jolt.co.uk/pie.htm (there is sound with this though I'm not sure it helps)
While we're allowing a touch of arty-fartiness into Your Pies, consumers may be interested in a recently discovered and hitherto unknown poem by infamous Geordie poet Jackie Brown entitled:
Some Day My Pie Will Come
A spied a pie
Oot the corna iv me eye
A tell ye nur lie
'Twas a feyne furm pie.
The crust wez taall
Leyke a castle waall
A prime meat fillin'
And urnly sivven shillin'.
Burrits not payday yet,
And wor dog needs the vet
So a'll carry on wishin'
Fer that pie what a'm missin'.
Quite moving, I thought. And finally on a more practical note I recently tried cranberry chutney as an accompaniment to a porkie and almost climaxed. The pickle is hard to come by - mine was made by a local lady who sells at the Heaton Church Fayre. However non-Tynesiders may find it mail order at http://www.hawksheadrelish.com/.
May the Crust be with you
Editor writes: Thanks Schnor for that thought-provoking note. Pie poetry and pie as art, eh. I can see piemania getting on that Friday BBC2 Newsnight jobby that keeps Germaine Greer and other assorted talentless rent-a-gobs in work.