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Pie and Mash is a Favourite Traditional British Food


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photo credit: tripadvisor.com
Pie and mash has a great British tradition behind it. Eel and pie shops have been part of London since the 18th century and are still common in south and east London and many parts of Essex. In those times east and south London were largely populated by working class people.

Originally, street pieman would trade their pies on the streets of London, selling freshly made pies from a tray. These pieman would be up early each day to buy freshly caught eels from the fish market. The eels were the only creature that was able to survive in the dirty water of the Thames. They would then go back home to prepare and cook their eel pies. Eels were a staple part of many Londoners diet in those days and the pieman provided a hot, filling meal very cheaply.

Things progressed in the 1950's when pie and mash shops began to appear. They still offered the favourite eel pie with liquor but you could also buy a meat pie with mashed potato and liquor. Eel and pie shops became the pie and mash shops we know today.

photo credit: seriouseats.com
The main dish is a minced beef pie with mashed potato spread around one side of the plate. Stewed eels can be added upon request, with a generous serving of liquor (parsley sauce) added to the dish. Eaten with a fork and spoon and served with salt and vinegar. Regulars will ask for a "double double" or "2 & 2", 2 pies with 2 servings of mash. If there is still room, you can enjoy a freshly made fruit pie with custard.



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