As time marches on towards British Pie Week’s inevitable return, an argument has broken out at Great British Chefs' office that is far more contested than that blue-gold-black-white dress thing (it’s blue and black, obviously). This argument has boiled down to a simple question: When is a pie actually a pie?
We know what a pie is, right? Think of a pie. Think of pastry lovingly draped into a pie dish, filled with some kind of unctuous filling, then topped off with a glorious pastry lid. Baked to perfection, golden and comforting. This is a pie. So why on earth do I have colleagues that believe that a shepherd’s pie is a pie? Or lemon meringue pie is a pie? It’s pie time (sorry) we answered this pressing question.
The problem of ‘what is a pie?’ seems to come down to those name-stealing dishes: shepherd’s pie, cottage pie, fish pie. These dishes believe that somehow because it’s been topped with something carby that this grants them access to the beautiful world of pies. It’s appropriation at its very worst, ‘pie’jacking (sorry) the name for its own non-pastry ways. Just because you couldn’t come up with your own snappy name for ‘covered in mash’ doesn’t mean you can take the good pie’s name in vain.