fingered in pie

Pie and mash

Pie and mash is a traditional London working class food. Pie, mash and stewed eels shops have been in London since the 18th century and are still common in south and east London.

The main dish sold is pie and mash — a minced beef pie and mashed potato. It is common for the mashed potato to be spread around one side of the plate and for a type of parsley sauce called liquor (although it is non-alcoholic) to be added. Liquor traditionally has a green colour which is not from food colouring but the parsley. It is also traditionally made using the water kept from the preparation of the stewed eels.

Traditionally the shops have white tile walls, with marble floors, tables and work tops, easy to clean and giving a Victorian appearance.

Jellied eels are another London speciality often sold in pie and mash shops. Chilli-vinegar (vinegar containing pickled chillies) is also traditionally served with both of these dishes.

The pies, mash potato and stewed eels are all prepared on the premises, jellied eels are usually bought ready prepared.

Recently pie and mash shops have started to offer vegetarian pies and also menus for children which has met with a measure of success. It is possible to buy Pie and Mash on the internet.

The popularity of pie and mash transcends its working class roots.

References in Popular Culture

  • The song "Something New" from the Roll Deep Crew's latest album 'Rules and Regulations' references 'pie, mash, and liquor' in its opening verse.
  • In the Only Fools and Horses episode "A Slow Bus To Chingford" Rodney, upon the subject of Del admiring art and being 'a Renaissance man', states: 'Last week, down the Pie and Eel Shop, Del shook the international art world to its very foundations by stating, quite openly, that Michaelangelo was a wally-brain.'
  • In the 1979 film Quadrophenia directed by Franc Roddam a scene between Jimmy (Phil Daniels) and an old schoolfriend, Kevin (Ray Winstone), that takes place in a London Pie and Mash Shop. This shop is Cookes at 5 Goldhawk Road W.12
  • In the Mighty Boosh Episode "Eels", after reminiscing about Naboo's second hand shop previously being a Pie and Mash shop run by "Elsie Eel", an evil cockney sets terrifying eels on Howard and demands protection money. It also features the lyrics "It's a mash up! Pie and mash up!" from the Eels song in the same episode.
  • F. Cooke, pictured at right, was featured on episodes of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and A Cook's Tour.
  • Steve Jones, guitarist of the infamous band The Sex Pistols, frequently pines for pie and mash on his lunchtime radio show.

Further reading

  • Pie 'n' Mash - A Guide to Londoners Traditional Eating Houses (1995), ISBN 0-9527067-0-9
  • Eels, Pie and Mash - A Photographic Record of Pie 'n' Eel Shops (1995), ISBN 0-904818-60-8

External links

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