“I bloody love a pork pie”
July 15, 2018 4:45 AM   Subscribe

In which Jay Rayner eats a pork pie, the product of a town which takes its food seriously. Very seriously (live blogging). This staple, magnificent and traditional West and East Midlands Christmas breakfast has variations, from Yorkshire to Evesham to Rutland. But it should be moist and formally blessed before judged and be from here. Make the pilgrimage to Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe in Melton Mowbray, get one from HRH or a posh shop, or make old-fashioned ones (takes a while) or with piccalilli or aniseed or apple chutney. This is not a pork pie and it is not Australian but can be found in New York. Work off your pork pie ice cream with some golf. Sadly, there is always politics in Brexit-Land, but expect many at the annual PieFest (2017). [previous but generic pie post]
posted by Wordshore (49 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
 
Relevant wiki.
posted by Fizz at 5:06 AM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


I know what I'm having for tea now.
posted by winterhill at 5:07 AM on July 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Now I am sad I am nowhere near a pork pie.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:18 AM on July 15, 2018 [6 favorites]


There's not many things I miss about the UK, but i do crave a good pork pie.
posted by arcticseal at 5:54 AM on July 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


Scott’s of Low Petergate (open for 130 years, gone a whole decade now) was my choice. Their pies were a pleasing cylinder of tender pink pork dropped into a robust pastry shell, the gaps filled with jellied gravy.
posted by scruss at 6:04 AM on July 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


As described and photographed in the "takes its food seriously" article, those do look very, very good. I hope I can try one someday.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:10 AM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm proud to declare I like pie.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:19 AM on July 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Hartley's Original Pork Pies in Fall River, Massachusetts has been selling pork pies since 1900.
posted by notmtwain at 6:49 AM on July 15, 2018 [6 favorites]


I bloody love this post. It has given me that down the internet rabbit hole feeling in a big way. Somehow I found myself reading the story of how Pershore Abbey only has a one armed transept. Thanks to notmtwain I now have an entire browser window, not just more tabs, a whole window, dedicated to a search for a Melton Mowbray native's opinions of a Hartley Original Pork Pie. Thanks Wordshore.
posted by mumblelard at 7:06 AM on July 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


This very article drove me to pick up a couple of pork pies this afternoon to make a ploughman's just that extra bit more lethal.
posted by skybluepink at 7:26 AM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


Right, as an East Midlander well technically I was born elsewhere - but my heritage does and I've spent a significant chunk of my life in the area (including many a year just a stone's throw from Melton) and who has has pork pie and toast every Christmas breakfast since I was weaned AND had a relative who made pork pies for Lords cricket ground... I have to say that Dickinson & Morris' pork pies are vastly overrated and are for tourists/grockles only. I could tell you who I think do the best pies but the place gets busy enough near Christmas, with those in the know queuing down the street, without me wanted to add more... but it really comes down to personal taste - chunky or fine meat, how much jelly?, thickness of pastry, how much pepper, how much other herbs and spices etc etc on which particular pork butcher to get one from.

Don't get me started on lincolnshire sausages...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:47 AM on July 15, 2018 [6 favorites]


Damn. Now I want a pork pie.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 7:55 AM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


Hartley's Original Pork Pies in Fall River, Massachusetts has been selling pork pies since 1900.

And just yesterday I happened to be passing by the other Massachusetts pork pie purveyor that I learned about from "the previous but generic" FPP: Thwaites in Methuen. They boast that they've been "providing English delicacies for almost 100 years."

Picked up a few and about to put them in the oven for lunch.
posted by msbrauer at 7:58 AM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


I don't normally eat pork (other than bacon, which is a vegetable), but I can nom a cold Melton Mowbray pie like nobody's business. Tons of black pepper, thick pastry....OMG...

Flagged this post as "making me hungry".
posted by biscotti at 8:20 AM on July 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


Now I am sad I am nowhere near a pork pie.

Well, these guys are still in action down in Fall River, MA.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:32 AM on July 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


I dream about pork pies at night.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:37 AM on July 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


I don't enjoy meat and have a particular soft spot for pigs, but this post is reminding me of how impossibly delicious the pork pie in the book Danny, Champion of the World has always sounded:

“I began to unwrap the waxed paper from around the doctor’s present, and when I had finished, I saw before me the most enormous and beautiful pie in the world. It was covered all over, top, sides, and bottom, with rich golden pastry. I took a knife from beside the sink and cut out a wedge. I started to eat it in my fingers, standing up. It was a cold meat pie. The meat was pink and tender with no fat or gristle in it, and there were hard-boiled eggs buried like treasures in several different places. The taste was absolutely fabulous. When I had finished the first slice I cut another and ate that, too. God bless Doctor Spencer, I thought.”

And now I really, really want a pork pie.
posted by corey flood at 9:21 AM on July 15, 2018 [8 favorites]


Hartley's Original Pork Pies in Fall River, Massachusetts has been selling pork pies since 1900.

Hmmm. Meetup, anyone?
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:34 AM on July 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Man, I want a pork pie too, but I’m nowhere near the UK or Massachusetts.

What we need is a global pork pie locator.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 10:47 AM on July 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


Would be nice if this also included an etymology for “pork pie hat”
posted by hwestiii at 11:04 AM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


Mrs. King's are a good pie. I'd particularly recommend the ones with Stilton cheese.
posted by pipeski at 11:48 AM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


If you've never had a pork pie, the surprise might not be the aspic, but the hot water crust pastry. A great one will magically be both moist and crusty.
posted by rh at 11:49 AM on July 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


Jay Rayner is a national treasure.

The pie place in question, BTW, is the restaurant of the Rosewood Hotel — that pile on High Holborn that feels like a set-piece defense-in-depth for the vertiginously wealthy, carefree and reasonably beautiful.

Far too pompous, intimidating and stacked with murdered-out Geländewagenen for me to ever set foot in, or want to, during the first four years I lived here — during the first of which I lived a four-minute walk away — I was finally coaxed into the Rosewood for a cocktail not so long ago. You know what? They know how to mix a drink in there, and to make you feel special while you're enjoying it. It actually put me in mind of one of Rayner's perennial points, which is that there is such a thing as getting what you pay for in dining.

It's trivially easy, of course, to drop a small fortune on a thoroughly pretentious, mediocre meal. (See about two-thirds of his Graun reviews.) But the converse is rarely true, north of the river at least: it's not that easy to really be and feel taken care of at table in this town for less than a certain threshold amount. The bar at the Rosewood did an admirable job, and delivered value, and it sure seems their restaurant is capable of doing so as well. I'm inclined to find out, anyway...as soon as I've saved up the necessary dosh.
posted by adamgreenfield at 11:53 AM on July 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


A well-made pork pie is a thing of beauty. The ‘New York’ link here seems to go to a place in North York, Canada, but never fear - pork pies can be sourced in NYC at Myers of Keswick on Hudson Street, alongside all the stodgy treats your heart desires.
posted by Concordia at 12:05 PM on July 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Speaking as someone partial to a pork pie, one of the best I ever tasted was a mighty home-made beast brought into work by a former colleague from Dudley, where they also know a thing or two about the many delicious ways to process a pig. It was crunchy and packed with chunks of meat and delicious clear jelly and not too much pepper.

I too now want a pork pie.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 12:15 PM on July 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


i’ve not yet got around to making pork pies, much to mr. lemon_icing’s chagrin. i think it is the one true thing he misses from England. well, models shops, too. but this delicious reading has inspired me and i’ll give it a go later this week by setting up the hot water pastry.

and if it is fail — hey Wellingtonians of NZ, what’s your favourite pork pie place?
posted by lemon_icing at 12:18 PM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


Of the many things the Great British Bake Off introduced to me, pork pies in a hot water pastry crust has been one of the most beguiling. Being from a different pork pie culture (as mentioned previously), I had been aware of British pork pies but thought them as a variation of a Cornish pasty or something. But once I had actually seen them made, everything I had I heard of them began to make sense. And of course I really wanted to make one and eat one.
posted by Ashwagandha at 1:52 PM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


Ha! We were just in Melton Mowbray a few weeks ago. My partner had the pork pie (I'm a vegetarian). I'll let him discuss that. The other thing that comes from that area? Stilton cheese. Yum.
posted by rednikki at 1:57 PM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


They are nice hats.
posted by y2karl at 4:02 PM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


I remember waking up one morning with the feeling, as Withnail said, that a pig had shat in my head. Hangover? No, this was a man reduced to the barest parody of movement, thought and life.

I managed to access the fridge, wherein was a large pork pie. I ate it, slowly, with an enormous amount of mustard, and I ate it all, and with each bite my very essence was magically restored. By the end, when only a few greasy, pastry crumbs were left, with a fleck or two of aspic, I was once again human, and sentient, and could contemplate the rest of the day (which, ahem, was not very much) with fortitude.

A good pork pie will turn back the Apocalypse.
posted by Devonian at 5:23 PM on July 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


But, Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association chair, Matthew O’Callaghan, responded this week: “If the US’s proposals go ahead it will be the death of our food heritage through the production of low quality copies that bear no resemblance to the original. “I suppose the US isn’t too bothered about food heritage because it has so little of it, and what it had was sacrificed long ago to the corporate greed of large anonymous manufacturers.

Read more at: https://www.meltontimes.co.uk/whats-on/angry-response-to-american-bid-to-make-melton-pork-pies-1-8406261


wow, please let me speak about my own country as eloquently and stabbingly as the Pork Pie Association Chairholder.
posted by yueliang at 8:26 PM on July 15, 2018 [6 favorites]


Can... can I be honest about Hartley's? It's legit awful. It's an underseasoned wad of poor cuts of ground pork stuffed into a stiff-upper-lip hot-water crust that oozes grease into its cardboard box when you look at it wrong.

Patty's Peirogi's, however, is the REAL DEAL. Don't take them to go, they stuff their masterpieces in a foam clamshell that turns perfect peirogi into mush with unwanted steam. They need to learn the clamshack secret - open-topped take-out buckets.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:42 PM on July 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


Is a pork pie crust supposed to be eaten? In recent years I have had the habit of discarding most of the crust, especially the base, because of fat content. Should I have been doing this all along?

As for warming a pork pie, that is the next thing to try.
posted by epo at 1:28 AM on July 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


Is a pork pie crust supposed to be eaten?

Is the pope Catholic?
posted by pipeski at 4:01 AM on July 16, 2018 [4 favorites]


Parker's is one of your American sources for pork pie, among other pies. Or so they claim.
posted by blob at 7:24 AM on July 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


> Is a pork pie crust supposed to be eaten? In recent years I have had the habit of discarding most of the crust

[anguished screaming]
posted by lucidium at 7:59 AM on July 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


I was going to make a pork pie for Christmas, but I think I'll just be ordering one instead. ALONG WITH AN ENTIRE BOX OF ROAST CHICKEN CRISPS.

AND A POUND OF RHUBARB AND CUSTARDS.

This is all your fault, blob.

(Now all I need is to find a McVities Jamaica Ginger cake. And also a Mr Whippy van.)
posted by elsietheeel at 8:32 AM on July 16, 2018 [6 favorites]


And also a Mr Whippy van.

I used to have an extra-soft white cat who resembled vanilla soft-serve in repose. Her nickname was "Mrs. Whippy Flake-Flake."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:12 AM on July 16, 2018 [4 favorites]


In Seattle, QFC has a British section in their ethnic foods aisle where one can always find a tin of Spotted Dick.
posted by y2karl at 11:05 AM on July 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


Mrs. Whippy Flake-Flake.

a 99
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:33 AM on July 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


In Seattle, QFC has a British section in their ethnic foods aisle where one can always find a tin of Spotted Dick.

You really can beat a mouthful of hot spotted dick and cream or custard as a winter treat.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:34 AM on July 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


Hey, I'm right here.
posted by DaddyNewt at 4:09 PM on July 16, 2018 [2 favorites]


Dastardly thread. You have forced me to buy a substantial Melton Mowbray Pork Pie, in blue paper wrapping, from the local supermarket (because I am in the Scottish bit of what for historical reasons is named the United Kingdom. and thus within the British Pork Pie Supply Chain Event Horizon).

Tomorrow, therefore, I must eat same.

You monsters.
posted by Devonian at 4:49 PM on July 16, 2018 [5 favorites]


the french-canadian side of my family has a tradition of preparing many of what we called "pork pies" around the new year. my generation was taught it was an old family recipe dating from yore, back when the subsistence farmers used the last bits of the winter's edible meat -- with heavy spices to mask perhaps-less-than-entirely-palatable viands -- to celebrate the beginning of the year.

this is implausible, insofar as neither pop nor his mother (reportedly) ever had much use for a recipe.

moreover, pop recently recalled one of his sisters touring the new england neighborhood tenements, when they were kids, and collecting recipes from among the maybe-less-french-canadian-than-irish-and-italian neighbors. so maybe the guidelines my generation inherited has little actual ancestral linkage.

anyway, these probably aspired to be more tourtiere than pork pie proper as indicated in the feature posts. offered for contrast.
posted by 20 year lurk at 8:45 PM on July 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


Mrs. Whippy Flake-Flake.

a 99


She had one black ear that was very evocative of the Flake bar sticking up out of the vanilla ice cream.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:49 AM on July 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


McVities Jamaica Ginger cake

OMG....dense, moist, spicy, buttered....I have been looking for these for YEARS since Marks & Sparks disappeared from Toronto, and I can't find them...I would pay one hundred billion dollars for one (if shipping was free, obviously. I mean, I'm not crazy).
posted by biscotti at 2:38 PM on July 18, 2018 [4 favorites]


My wife has a recipe for ginger cake that's similar to, but even better than the McVities one. I can probably fish it out if anyone wants to MeMail me...
posted by pipeski at 5:02 PM on July 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


It's an old thread, post it here!
posted by tavella at 8:24 PM on July 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Yeah post it here!
posted by elsietheeel at 4:54 PM on July 24, 2018


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