Wednesday, 24 February 2010

18th century Pie

Among the other delicacies served at the eight year old Henry's feast in Westminster Hall were "Partryche and Pecock enhackyll". The latter was a cooked peacock mounted in its skin. Other birds like partridges, swans, bitterns and herons were frequently placed on top of pies for ornament and as a means of identifying the contents. This medieval practice of creating a 'subteltie' or eye-catching centrepiece, remained current until the eighteenth century and even later. For instance, a game pie with a stuffed pheasant placed on top, is illustrated in an 1890s edition of Mrs Beeton as a breakfast dish. Pies were also made in the shape of the animal they contained.

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