Wednesday 3 August 2016

A pie or not a pie - that is the question

Warning - this is a little of a rant...

Last week I went out for a pub lunch with work. I ordered a steak and ale pie, though before I did, I checked that it came with mash, as only peas were mentioned on the menu. I was reassured that the pie did indeed come with mash - how could it not?! - only to be informed a few minutes later that they did not serve it with mash and had no mash in the kitchen. So I asked for fries, as a half baked (hah, that is also what they tasted like) compromise...

Now the mash vs no mash is one debate (how could you not serve steak pie with mash?!!?), but I would like to discuss the pie itself; it came in a dish with a proud pastry top (shop bought, I assume), with no  pastry surrounding the bottom. Essentially a stew with a pastry top. I will not discuss the merits of this specific pie (it wasn't great!), but I want to discuss the lack of pastry around the rest of the filling! Is that a pie, more specifically a pie you would expect to get in a British pub?!

The worst 'pie' offender I ever came across was a beef stew on a plate served with a separately baked pastry lid placed on its side...! What is that?!

I understand that pies come in various forms, pastries and sizes. Some like filo, some like puff and some like shortcrust. Some like gravy filled, some like creamy filled and some like them with no sauce in at all. Some are sweet and some are savory.

Most countries' cuisines have a pie, or something resembling it; pastry on the outside with filling in the middle. Filling in the MIDDLE... which implies to me that there has to be pastry all around, right?!

Hmmm, maybe not, it seems. There are, apparently, pastry top pies, a separate category, which as the name would explain it, only has pastry on the top. There are also the american-style pies, which are pastry cases with fillings, but no pastry top (lemon meringue, key-lime eec). In fact some Greek pies have no pastry at all...!

I guess it is all about context , really... What country are you in? What type of establishment are you in? What are you actually craving? Obviously I was craving a pastry-all-around pie and was, obviously, in the wrong establishment. Next time, I will be more thorough with my pre-order questions!

Rant over!

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