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Facts about pies

Every year, New Zealanders chomp through a staggering 75 million pies.

Facts about pies

More than 4770 pies from 500 bakeries are vying for the title of best pie at this year’s Bakels Supreme Pie Awards on July 29.

Entries include rabbit & wild boar; slow cooked beef cheek & cauliflower cheese; and caramelised rhubarb & wildberry. These mouth watering combinations got us thinking about the origin of the pie and our pie habits.

Here are some interesting facts about pies:

The ancient Greeks are credited for the invention of pie pastry; mixing flour, water and fat to create the shell. The sealed storage of meats proved particularly useful for long voyages.

The classic Kiwi pie originated in pre refrigeration days – pastry was wrapped around meat to preserve it and to prevent contamination.

Every year, New Zealanders chomp through a staggering 75 million pies and the New Zealand pie market is worth more than $150 million per annum.

During the build of Auckland’s Sky Tower it is estimated that 545,000 pies were consumed by the 1000 workers over a two year and eight month period.

The most searched type of pie on the Internet, according to Google, is apple pie.

The most popular selling pie in New Zealand is mince, closely followed by mince and cheese.

The word pie has been popularly used since 1362AD and is thought to be named after the Magpie.

The phrase “eat humble pie” was originally derived from a 14th century pastry containing ‘numbles’ or ‘umbles’ (organs and entrails of animals). As these pies were generally consumed the poor, it’s assumed that the idiom either evolved naturally (or by allusion) drawn from similarity to the word ‘humble’.

Cottage pie and Shepherd’s pie are two names for the same thing, although it has been suggested that shepherd’s pies are more likely to refer to minced lamb than beef. In Finland it’s called a “Lihaperunasoselaatikko”.

The English elite also had a penchant for “surprise pies”, which featured live animals encased in the pie crust. ‘Sing a song of six pence’, a popular nursery rhyme is based on this practice; four and twenty blackbirds baked into a pie, to sing for the king’s supper. Other creatures to have been baked into pies included all manner of small animals, and even on occasions people, who would walk out to entertain guests.

Pies were once believed to symbolise Christian practices. In fact, in 1644 Oliver Cromwell banned the eating and selling of pies in England. This law existed for 16 years, forcing pie makers underground until it was lifted in 1660.

According to Catholic tradition the patron saint of pastry is Saint Honore of France. In the 15th century, his church was home to the Parisian guild of bakers.

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