September 23rd is National Great American Pot Pie Day, celebrating a favorite American comfort food. Pot pie (also spelled potpie) is a misappropriated name. Originally, “pot pie” referred to a crustless mixture of meat pie ingredients and noodles, stewed in a pot on the stove top. Over time, the term became used to designate a meat pie with conventional crusts, baked in the oven in a deep pie plate or casserole dish.
POT PIE HISTORY
Meat pies likely date back to the milling of flour in ancient times, but before the invention of pie plates, which came many centuries later. Very thick crusts were used as baking vessels (but were not eaten, due to the high proportion of salt required to stiffen the crust). Meat pies in large vessels made of crust were popular banquet fare during the Roman Empire.
By the 16th century, the English gentry revived the ancient custom of meat pies. Venison was the meat of choice. The recipe crossed the pond to America, where it became as American as…pot pie!
The pot pie can be baked without a bottom crust but with a conventional top crust or a biscuit topping (the dough is dropped onto the top), like a cobbler.
Pot Pie Fun Fact:
According to Rolling Stone (and several other websites) about 25 years ago Paul McCartney wouldn’t approve a “Love and Let Die” parody by Weird Al Yankovic, that condoned consumption of animal flesh. Yankovic wanted to call the parody “Chicken Pot Pie.”
“Paul didn’t want me to do it because he’s a strict vegetarian and he didn’t want a parody that condoned the consumption of animal flesh,” Yankovic recently told Conan O’Brien. “He said, ‘You can do something else like tofu pot pie.’ I said, ‘No, the chorus of my song will be ‘Bawk-bawk-bawk-bawk’ and tofu doesn’t make any noise. It’s not going to work.”
The complete rendition of “Chicken Pot Pie” never surfaced, but Yankovic did do a big chunk of it on a few 1990s tours as part of a medley. You can hear a recording of one right here.