Meat pie

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Meat pie
Meat pie.jpg
Australian meat pie with tomato sauce (ketchup)
Type Savoury pie
Main ingredients Meat
Cookbook:Meat pie  Meat pie
Chicken and rabbit meat pie.

A meat pie is a pie with a filling of meat and/or other savory ingredients. It is principally popular in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa.

History[edit]

The beginnings of the meat pie can be traced back to the Neolithic Period, around 9500 BC. The ancient Egyptians' diet featured basic pies made from oat, wheat, rye, and barley, and filled with honey and baked over hot coals.[1]

These pies were eventually adopted by the Greeks, and it is there that a flour-water paste substance closely resembling pie pastry was created and was first filled with meat.[2] In Greece, these pies were usually fried or cooked under coals. The Romans, tasting the delicacy from the Greeks, incorporated it into their own diet with little changes. According to the records kept by the wealthy, Romans used a variety of meats, oysters, mussels, lampreys, and fish as filling and a mixture of flour, oil, and water to keep it in. This 'pastry' cover was not meant to be eaten and was thrown away.[3]

In combination with the spread of Roman roads, the invading crusaders encountered the dish and brought the recipes to Medieval Europe. In Northern Europe, cooks created the pastry using fats like lard and butter to make stiff dough to hold an upright pie.[4] These medieval pastry dishes were called "coffins/coffyns", which means a basket or box. According to Janet Clarkson in Pie: A Global History, the "coffins" were:

savory meat pies with the crusts or pastry being tall, straight-sided with sealed-on floors and lids. Open-crust pastry (not tops or lids) were known as "traps." These pies held assorted meats and sauce components and were baked more like a modern casserole with no pan (the crust itself was the pan, its pastry tough and inedible). These crust were often made several inches thick to withstand many hours of baking.

Some historians[who?] suggest the tough, almost inedible, crust was given to the servants while the lords and ladies of the house ate the contents.[5]

This pastry became a staple dish in medieval times, and was eventually called "pyes" or "pies". The origin of this name comes from the type of meat commonly used as filling. Beef, lamb, and duck were employed, but a majority of the time it was the magpie that was the main ingredient.[6] Magpies in medieval England were originally named pies. Some historians[who?] think that the popular usage of 'pie' birds led to the pastry dish being named pie as well,[7] while etymologists[who?] suggest that pies were named after these birds "from a supposed resemblance between the miscellaneous contents of pies and the assortment of objects collected by thieving magpies."[8] The first use of the word "pie" as food is referenced in 1303 by the Oxford English Dictionary; also stating that the term became popular and widely utilized by 1362.[9]

The French and Italians specialized in redefining the pastry of the pie, making it flakier and tastier by new methods of adding butter, rolling, and folding the dough. In 1440, the Paris pastry guild was recognized and started to expand their product—and so something like the modern day crust began to be used.[10]

Missionaries and explorers spread the meat-based pie dish across the globe. The English Pilgrims of the North American colonies brought the recipes across the ocean with them. The crust of the pie was useful to preserve food during the long winter months in America (just as the pies were used in antiquity). But the pie was not considered popular there until the 1800s, and today meat pies have lost their popularity to be replaced with sweet pies.[11]

Today, there are different types and variations of meat-pies enjoyed all across the world.

Regional variations[edit]

A chicken pie

The Natchitoches meat pie is one of the official state foods of the US state of Louisiana. Natchitoches is a town in Louisiana, the name is pronounced Nack-a-tish.[12] Meat pies are not common in most US cuisine, in contrast to the popular pot pies, though the distinction isn't very well defined.

Latin American meat empanadas may be pies or more often pasties; different pastry shells and fillings are used, and they may be baked or fried. Empanadas usually contain lots of onion and green or red pepper, in combination with meat or fish. Empanada dough takes many forms, from those made with cornmeal to puff pastry.[13] Ground beef with olives, fried egg, pulled pork, diced steak, even cheese and salami are used in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Puerto Rico and Peru for example.

Other well known varieties of meat pie include British meat pies, French-Canadian meat pie, and the Australia and NZ meat pie. An Irish meat pie is the Steak and Guinness Pie which consists of Round steak with Guinness Stout Beer, bacon, and onions. It is served with potato chips and vegetables and is very popular in Irish Pubs in Australia. In both Australia and New Zealand, the meat pie is a common convenience food often found in petrol stations and convenience stores and in New Zealand was once sold in a chain of fast-food restaurants.

The Nigerian "meat pie" is similar to the Jamaican beef patty. It can be baked or fried, and the filling can be almost anything from corned beef (the most widely used) to just onions and tomatoes.

Middle Eastern meat pies are called sfiha and contain ground beef, olive oil, plain yogurt, tahini, allspice, onion, tomatoes and pine nuts. Greek meat pies are called kreatopita and contain ground beef, onions and feta cheese. The filling for kreatopita is wrapped in phyllo dough. Indian meat pies are called samosa and usually contain peas, spiced potatoes, coriander, lentils, or ground beef or chicken and are often served with chutney.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Pies, History of Pies." What's Cooking America. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2011.
  2. ^ "Food Timeline: history notes-pie & pastry." Food Timeline: food history & vintage recipes . N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2011.
  3. ^ "Food Timeline: history notes-pie & pastry." Food Timeline: food history & vintage recipes . N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2011.
  4. ^ "A Brief History of Pie - TIME." Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2011.
  5. ^ "Food Timeline: history notes-pie & pastry." Food Timeline: food history & vintage recipes . N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2011.
  6. ^ "A Brief History of Pie - TIME." Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2011.
  7. ^ "pie - word origin, history, and etymology." Word-Origins.com a History and Etymology of Words. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2011.[dead link]
  8. ^ "magpie - word origin, history, and etymology." Word-Origins.com a History and Etymology of Words. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2011.[dead link]
  9. ^ "Food Timeline: history notes-pie & pastry." Food Timeline: food history & vintage recipes . N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2011.
  10. ^ "Food Timeline: history notes-pie & pastry." Food Timeline: food history & vintage recipes . N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2011.
  11. ^ "A Brief History of Pie - TIME." Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews - TIME.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2011.
  12. ^ Clairborne, Craig (May 5, 1982). "Turnovers: A Dish With an International Heritage". New York Times. 
  13. ^ Casas, Penelope (1982). The Foods and Wines of Spain. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-394-51348-5. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street edited by Robert Mack (2007). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-922933-3