Unless you’re serving chicken pot pie, offering your American guests a meat pie may seem strange. Once a popular dish, Americans discontinued the British meat pie tradition served in the thirteen colonies–and around the world. Today, many countries enjoy meat pies as fast food, common dinner items and a traditional holiday meal.
Below are some fast facts about the history of meat pies that is good preparation for the tasty options served at Pouch Pies:
The History of Meat Pies
- Pies are believed to have originated in 6000 BC. The Ancient Egyptians filled their pies with honey and made the shells with oats, barley, wheat and rye.
- Drawings of pies appeared on the tomb of the pharaoh, King Ramses II. These images, created in about 1200 BC showed a primitive pastry with honey and nuts built into the crust.
- The Ancient Greeks are credited with creating the common pastry pie shell, and the Ancient Romans adopted the pies into their cooking upon the conquering of Greece.
- The Ancient Romans created several varieties of pie and the names ranged from pudding to tarts to pies. Fish pies with oysters and mussels were often called “pudding.” Even more strange, a sweet pie called “Placenta”—yes, that’s really what it was named!—appeared in Roman cookbooks as early as 160 BC.
- Historical information is lacking, but it is believed that savory meat pies were a staple of European cuisine beginning in the Middle Ages. Medieval Europe lacked metal and baking dishes, so the pie shell evolved into a useful cooking technique. The shell, called a “cofyn” was made of hard flour and kept meat pies edible for up to a year!
- The Middle Ages also introduced the ‘pouch’ pie as street vendors sold handheld meat pies. These individual meat pies are still popular throughout the world today.
- Medieval Europe also had a—unique—approach to certain meat pies. “Animated pies” were often used at banquets for royalty and would have live animals or people surrounded by crust. The people were performers who would burst out of the pie crust and sing and dance for the startled guests.
- Pilgrims sailed from England to America with an arsenal of meat pie recipes—not ones for pumpkin pie! Pumpkin pie was believed to have originated in 1623 and was served at the second Thanksgiving.
- America’s first cookbook was published in 1796 and contained recipes for meat pies as well as the newly popular dessert pies. From then on, sweet pies began to dominate the American food scene while meat pies continued to flourish seemingly everywhere but the United States.
About Pouch Pies
The owners of Pouch Pies have South African, Scottish and Maltese roots. Their rich cultural background inspired them to introduce Georgia to a host of delicious meat pies from a wide range of countries in December 2013. Some pies are as traditional as it gets, such as the traditional South African pepper steak pie or Pouch’s take on the British steak and kidney pie. Other pies such as the vegetarian pie options or the Thai fusion pie are creation straight from the imagination of the owners. Now, with their mail delivery option of frozen pies or pre-cooked varieties, you, too, can become a meat pie connoisseur who laughs when guests assume pies are only filled with fruit.