Three Pies You Don't Want to Eat, But Really, Get Over Yourself
Editor's note: Finally, to wrap up National Pie Day, Englishman Gavin Cleaver takes a break from huffing oak smoke to tell us about some of his nation's favorite filled pastry treats. Read this and ask yourself how English cuisine ever got such a bad reputation.
Wikipiedia (not a real website, just a pun) says these were served to British royalty as far back as the 14th century, so if they're good enough for a monarch seven centuries ago, they're good enough for you. This delight, sold by the half-dozen for very little money, is filled with custard and then refrigerated until the thick liquid congeals into a solid, squishy delight. (I can tell you're excited at the use of the word "congeals." It's the best word you can use in a food blog.) Almost always topped with cinnamon and/or nutmeg.
It's an open-topped pie, hence us calling it a tart, because a pie is only really a pie when it has pastry covering the top. Which means two things. One, that this is an illegitimate entry in a blog post featuring only three entries, and that second, since your childhood, you've been eating pumpkin tart. You're welcome.
Vital organs are delicious.
Steak and Kidney Pie I bloody love steak and kidney pie, me. Designed to be eaten all at once using no utensils, this pie is filled with molten-hot brown gravy, the pieces of steak that even Walmart couldn't sell with a straight face and that most in-demand of edible organs, kidney. I've been eating these at football games since I was 8, and it's never done me any harm, not since we developed a cure for mad cow disease that we refused to share with the rest of the world after they were so mean to us.
Seasonings? Seasonings are for girls. If you put ketchup or mayonnaise within six feet of this, someone at the football match will break your nose. I mean, they were going to do that anyway, but that'll make it happen quicker. Also, the more flaccid and limp the pie, the more gravy and thus the more desirable it is. However, the more gravy, the more difficult it is to eat with one hand. It's a Catch 22 in a delicious package that only costs about $2. Imagine how bad the steak is in a $2 pie. IMAGINE
Another football "favourite" (you'll notice I've taken a moral stance and abandoned the word soccer entirely, apart from within these brackets, which I've declared a ceasefire zone), the balti pie is a frankly horrific combination of a spicy chicken balti curry and pastry, again not served by any self-respecting restaurant, and again costing about $2. In this case, it will also cost you the next few days spent in the bathroom, as well as your tongue and the lining of your mouth if eaten fresh out of the microwave.
I was impressed with the quality and presentation of the food you can get at Rangers Stadium. Think about it. Nachos on plastic are high-level cuisine compared to what I got every week at Watford. I mean really, all of the food you can get at football is pretty horrific. The worst offender is the legendary "beef drink," a cup of concentrated beef extract mixed with boiling water. I swear I am not making that up. Happy pie day.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.