Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

Porky Pies


If you’re a vegan or vegetarian you might want to skip this post as it’s full of meat. Pork, that is.  I did jokingly tell TheBrit the other day that if the cost of meat keeps going up we might have to consider going vegetarian.  He was not amused.

This is obviously not a food blog.  In fact I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about food before.  Cooking is something I do to relax.  I love to cook!  Mostly I make homey, comfort foods.  I can do what TheBrit calls poncy food (that’s frufru for all you Americans out there), but that ain’t really my thing.  Yes, I said ain’t.  Sue me.

Anyway TheBrit has been here in the U.S. since July of 2012 and there are some things from Merry Old England he kind of misses.  Pasties, the bread (he says our mass produced stuff is crap), British Ales, and pork pie.  Apparently pork pies are a British staple.  It’s not something we do here.  We can’t just go in the local grocery store and buy pork pies.

I’ve tried my hand at a few things, like Giraffe Bread.  It turned out pretty good but rice flour is a little hard to get here.  There’s only one grocery store I’ve found that carries it and they bloody think it’s gold.  I do buy the fresh baked breads in the bakery at the local shop but still those are no comparison to English granary breads.

I attempted, shortly after his arrival in the States, to make a proper pork pie.  His mother sent me a recipe.  In British – I mean, Imperial weights and measures.  It’s probably better to weigh things like flour in grams and have liquids measured in mls.  But…well…I’m American!!!!  We do cups and ounces.  And, yes, it probably would have been advisable to do the conversions prior to starting but that would have been just too easy.  So I did it as I went along.  Needless to say it was a disaster.

First of all I attempted, without even knowing what a pork pie should even look like or taste like, to make hand raised pork pies.  By the time I got done playing with the dough I’d made it was way overworked and was never going to work for hand raised pies.  The pie I made, after dutifully watching a youtube video showing me how to do it in a springform pan, was well short of the mark. 😦

TheBrit ate it.  Afterall he was somewhat obligated after all the trouble I went to.

I did order TheBrit a care package last Christmas from The English Pork Pie Company which included some Melton Mowbray Pork Pies, Traditional Pork Pies, a few pasties, and some Scotch Eggs.   I don’t think I tasted any of it.  He used them for work lunches and it didn’t take long for them to disappear.  While he said he enjoyed them(evidenced by said disappearance), he also said they lost a little something having been frozen.  That coupled with the fact that it cost me nearly as much to have them shipped as it did to buy them made them cost prohibitive.

After all this time, and after a day of vigorous activity, TheBrit sighed and said, “I need a pork pie.”  So I Googled up Traditional Pork Pie recipes.  I found quite a few and the result was a combination of about three recipes. I decided to surprise him with another attempt.   It’s the thought that counts, right?

I went to the grocery store armed with my shopping list.  The pork shoulder which the recipe called for was very expensive and I ended up with a less expensive pork loin.  The fresh back bacon was nowhere to be found.  All we have in our local market is smoked bacon.  Pancetta may have worked but I couldn’t find that either so bacon was eliminated from the recipe.  There were no fresh pig trotters(feet) either – only smoked.  I found some pork neck bones that hadn’t been smoked so I bought those.

I half expected this to turn out disastrous again since I was sort of flying by the seat of my pants and changing the ingredients.  Undeterred, however, I put together what I am now going to call Traditional South Georgia Pork Pies.

Here’s how they looked after all my hard work:



In walks TheBrit from a hard day at work and exclaims, “Proper pork pies!”  He devoured three of them for his “tea” and left a couple for a snack the next day.  They turned out not too bad if I do say so myself.  I’ve never tasted pork pie so I thought they were pretty good.  TheBrit says they were the best ones he’s ever eaten.  He said, “I could never get that in England.”

Ah, success!

68 thoughts on “Porky Pies

    • Good luck finding ’em! I hadn’t ever even heard of them before I met TheBrit. It’s not a thing here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Damn Brits. They get the best accents and the best greasy ass food!

        Liked by 2 people

        • Ha! He’s told everywhere he goes that he has a sexy accent. He doesn’t get that; it annoys him somewhat. He thinks my Penelope Pitstop accent is the best! And as far as best greasy ass foods, we typically eat on the lighter side and don’t partake in much greasiness. But to be perfectly honest I found British food to be a little bland and mostly overcooked. It’s already dead, people. You don’t have to kill it again.

          Liked by 1 person

          • True. British food does tend to be on the bland side. Now Scottish food, like haggis, that’s nice ‘n greasy. Disgusting to look at, but damn tasty. Irish blood sausage/ black pudding is the same. There’s an Irish pub here in Chicago I used to frequent that cooks up a nice black pudding. Yummy. All blood, fat and salt stuffed in an intestinal lining. What’s not to like?


          • That sounds incredibly disgusting!

            Liked by 1 person

          • Looks disgusting but tastes like bacon on steroids.


          • Ruth, when you said “I found British food to be a little bland and mostly overcooked. It’s already dead people,” my first thought was, “I knew British food had a bad reputation, but oh my gosh, they’re eating dead people??!” Only for a split second, of course. Then I got it.

            Here is an example of how commas are your friend!

            P.S. Why are they giving me a sad, green-faced avatar?

            Liked by 2 people

          • Ha! Only the atheists eat dead people. Usually babies because they’re so evil. The atheists, not the babies.

            I really don’t usually make that kind of grammatical error. I’m glad you said something. Because, yeah, it does make it sound like Brits are eating dead people. Which is better than them eating live people, but still.

            P.S. I don’t know why. I wondered why your face was a sad one. I’m not sure about that but I’ve noticed that all the people who don’t have a photo uploaded get some kind of sad face. Maybe Gravatar is trying to say they’re sad if you don’t upload a picture?


          • As an atheist, I’m offended by you saying we eat dead babies. I’ll have you know I only eat my Christian babies alive. More fun that way. 😀

            Liked by 1 person

          • I’m not surprised. Anyone who would eat blood pudding would eat Christian babies alive. You’re going to hell anyway. You do know you’re not supposed to be eating the blood of dead animals, right?

            Hey, what’s a Christian baby? Do they have Christian parents?


          • It’s a baby who says it hates gays because Jesus told it to. As you can surmise, with such tough defining credentials, I often go hungry for weeks and months at a time. Don’t mock blood sausage til you had some. Ask your Brit if he’s had Irish black pudding. I’ll bet he has. Tasty, greasy stuff that’ll clog your arteries faster than you can say, “I love McDonald’s fries best!”

            Liked by 1 person

          • Christian babies are far advanced, then. They have quite the vocabulary. I can see why you go hungry and resort to blood pudding.

            TheBrit has said that he likes Haggis. He likes it but says it’s quite rich so he can only eat a little. I’ll take the fries, please.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Very rich. Haven’t had it in ages, but too much and your heart simply stops beating from all the fat. Yeah. Shame ’bout Christian babies. Such amazing vocabularies wasted on such infantile bigots.


          • I changed the setting on my blog from something called “Wavetar” to this. It’s much more pleasant.


  1. I’d kill for a meat pie, but they’ve never heard of such things here.


  2. I think if he is happy, it was truly worth the effort

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always used to hate pork pie. Could never see the attraction in it. As for making one, sounded like a labour of love and more.

    Yours don’t look like the vile things my parents bought, different pastry?

    The china looks like Hathaway Rose (Wedgwood).


    • I’ll have to look at my china. That sounds familiar so it may well be.

      I’m not sure if it’s a different pastry, though TheBrit said it was better than the pastry on the ones he used to buy. The difference between mass production and homemade maybe? All the recipes I found called for a hot water pastry which is what I made. But there were a lot of variations in the recipes for hot water pastry so who knows.

      When TheBrit described these to me I thought they sounded quite vile, tbh. That jelly sounded a lot like that disgusting gelled up fat you get when you bake a ham and it cools. Luckily it is not that.

      Now what does sound vile? Mushy peas. They might be delectable but it sounds like baby food to me.


      • http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipe/raised-pork-pie

        Is the sort my parents would buy. Complete with gelatine.

        Apparently it’s a Yorkshire habit to warm them up in the oven. My parents did that too. Either way, they are vile.

        Now fish and chips and mushy peas on the other hand, were extremely good.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s pretty much what I made, only I left out the bacon and pork belly. Mine were just filled with pork loin meat. I also didn’t use nearly as much gelatine as the recipe called for. Just a personal preference. TheBrit eats them cold.

          I made some beer battered fish and chips and that went over quite well, too. I still can’t get my head around those mushy peas.


  4. First thing I did when I returned to Ingerlund on honeymoon is pop into my favorite bakery in Bridge Street , Chester, and buy a pork pie.


    • TheBrit’s parents are coming for a visit next summer. He had an order in for them to bring some with. Though he did say while he was noshing on these that his dad would love the ones I’d made and I’d have to make some for him while they’re here.


      • These days, we can get ‘Traditional’ Pork Pies out here in South Africa. Tye are sold in a number of stores. No big deal at all any more.

        The Dark Ages are a thing of the past…Yay!


  5. Yay, so glad to hear your story had a happy ending! I’ve never had a pork pie either, but they sound a lot like a piroshki, also spelled pirozhki. Have you heard of those? They’re commonly available in San Francisco, but then there are a lot of Russians there. So I don’t know about your neck of the woods. But if you don’t want to make pork pies from scratch all the time, piroshkis might be the next best thing.


    • Thanks for stopping by and I’m so glad you commented!

      I looked up piroshkis. I hadn’t heard of those, but they seem more like a Cornish Pasty than a pork pie. But they look pretty good so I may look into ordering some. There’s no piroshki place near here so that’d be my only recourse and if having them frozen on dry ice diminishes the flavor and also makes them expensive to ship it may be no different than ordering pork pies from The English Pork Pie Company. They ship from New York and the cost for shipping was nearly as much as the pies!


  6. I think you may have uncovered a huge, untapped demand here in the United States: frozen, microwavable, original British pork pies. No doubt Nestles or Proctor & Gambol or Heinz or Sara Lee will pay you millions for your idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny you should mention that. I did ask TheBrit this morning if he thought we could package them and ship them. I hadn’t thought about trying to sell the idea to a big conglomerate. I’d love to be sipping Mai Tais on a beach somewhere and not punching someone else’ clock, so to speak.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my word! Now that look sooooo delicious Ruth! I love pies! Mostly ham and cheese or cornish, but this looks so yummy!

    Simba loves the pie crust most of all and our breakfast on weekends are mostly pies with a glass of cold milk. Simba gets his own pie and bowl of milk as well. We also have a little shop here that makes the most delicious feta and spinach pie, with pieces of bacon in it. Also one of Simba’s favourites and Tweety, our African Grey loves it! I wish I could send you some, but one day when you come for a visit, you and the Brit can have all the pies you want! 😆


  8. Without the accompaniment of English mustard, even the finest of pork pies should be left to rot alone in quiet corner.


  9. Some dude and his wife moved here(Fla’s West coast) from London and they started a Pasty bakery about a mile from me. ‘Tried it out several months ago. After we talked about the Hammersmith Odeon for a few minutes, the dude rang-up my to-go pasty and drink, and then when he went to bag it, he couldn’t get the plastic bag opening apart. So, what did he do? Yes, that…..he licked his fingers and then he grabbed my stuff and stuck it in the bag. One of my peeves, so I never went back = /


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