Wednesday, May 26, 2004
What is that rustic pie-figure jutting out over the plains? Who casts that rugged pie profile from the top of the hills?
It is the people's pie. It is the pie of the blue-collar worker, the pie of the proletariat. It is the shepherd's pie.
This is not a sweet pie, or a fancy pie. It's not a pie with a lot of your big words and highbrow book-learnin. All this pie knows is its mashed potatoes and its ground meatstuff and to protect its herd of sheep in the cold dark nights from the cold dark predators that wait in the shadows. It speaks in short, rugged words like "Uh-huh" an "Yep" and "Git along, sheep." It is an honest, simple pie, and we extoll its simplicities. It is taken to the big city and the fancy women where its simple rugged pieness is unique and different, and it is celebrated and embraced by the deacons of high culture.
Symposiums are held and writers speak of the complex meaning of the shepherd's pie. Professors analyze it carefully and believe it to be made of part potato, part ground beef, part browned onion, and part redemption for the corrupt and cynical nature of the old metropolis. Everyone is excited about the shepherd's pie, until someone eats a bite and says "Wait, this is shepherd's pie?" and everyone else says "Ewww, gross" and it is left on the table to grow old and cold and forgotten with the leftovers.
Oh shepherd's pie. Do not weep! Fafblog will always be here to love and eat you. You will always hold the heroic mashed potatoes of our heart.
posted by fafnir at 1:38 PM
Our British friends tend to reserve the term "shepherd's pie" for this dish made with lamb or mutton - with beef, they prefer to call it "cottage pie."
My Boston Cooking School Cook-Book (1896) gave the following recipe:
Cover bottom of a small greased baking-dish with hot mashed potato, add a thick layer of roast beef, chopped or cut in small pieces (seasoned with salt, pepper, and a few drops of onion juice) and moistened with some of the gravy; cover with a thin layer of mashed potato, and bake in a hot oven long enough to heat through.
with best wishes,
Fannie Farmer (Mrs.)