From Samuel Pepys diaries:
6 January 1662.
Thence to dinner to Sir W. Pen’s, it being a solemn feast day with him, his wedding day, and we had, besides a good chine of beef and other good cheer, eighteen mince pies in a dish, the number of the years that he hath been married.
Is what he saying that….
1) Wedding anniversaries are solemn feast days, which means the Puritan curse of not celebrating anniversaries has somewhat lifted in London in the 1660’s and
2) You celebrate with the number of pies to correspond to the number of years married?
HOW AND WHY DID WE EVER STOP DOING THIS??????
And being Samuel Pepys, there’s more.
Monday 3 February 1661/62
After musique practice I went to the office, and there with the two Sir Williams all the morning about business, and at noon I dined with Sir W. Batten with many friends more, it being his wedding-day, and among other froliques, it being their third year, they had three pyes, whereof the middlemost was made of an ovall form, in an ovall hole within the other two, which made much mirth, and was called the middle piece; and above all the rest, we had great striving to steal a spooneful out of it; and I remember Mrs. Mills, the minister’s wife, did steal one for me and did give it me; and to end all, Mrs. Shippman did fill the pye full of white wine, it holding at least a pint and a half, and did drink it off for a health to Sir William and my Lady, it being the greatest draft that ever I did see a woman drink in my life.
What have we here? A certain friskiness, for one.
Also,another occasion where the number of pies corresponds to the number of years married.
Notice also – eating the pies with a spoon. Before pies were cut into wedges, which is a relatively recent phenomenon in pie history, pies were broken open from the top and more or less scooped out.
Willem Clauszn Heda 1642
Still Life by Willem Clauszn Heda
and then there’s this:
William Playfair – 1789 – the first pie chart
And they’re using the pastry to drink wine from – a pint of wine. It’s like drinking champagne from a slipper…only more so.
Robert May in The Accomplist Cook has a section called:
“To make an extraordinary Pie, or a Bride Pye of several Compounds being several distinct Pies all on one bottom”
Robert May has a few notes on these pies:
“…..you may bake the middle one full of flour, it being bak’t and cold, take out the flour in the bottom, & put in live birds, or a snake, which will seem strange to the beholders, which cut up the pie at the Table. This is only for Weddings to pass away the time.” (235)
I was at a wedding last week and I for one am so grateful they chose skywriting over snakes or birds to dazzle and entertain us.
Skywriting is SO much nicer then snakes in a pie!
But today is the anniversary of John Jenney and Sarah Carey, the Sarah Jenney I play in 1627. According to the Leiden records:
[THE DUTCH RECORD]
Aengeteyckent de v. septemb 1614
tjee de 6 . 9 . 1614 Johan Jene Jongman brouwersinecht van
tije de 13 . 9 . 1614 noorwiets In engelant nu woonende te Rot
tiije de 20 9 . 1614 terdam verselschapt met Rogier Wilson syn zyn Getrout voor bekende Jasper van Bauchem met
& Jacob Paedts Sche- Sara kaire Jonge Dochter van moncksoon in
pene Dese eerste engelant verselschapt met Johanne Leyns
Novemb xvi veertien haer bekende
and now in English…
[THE ENGLISH TRANSLATION]
Entered on 5 September, 1614.
John Jenney, single man, brewer’s man, from Norwich in England, now dwelling at Rotterdam, accompanied by Roger Wilson, his acquaintance, with Sarah Carey, single woman, from “Moncksoon” in England, accompanied by Joanna Lyons, her acquaintance.
They were married before Jasper van Bauchem and Jacob Paedts, Sheriffs, this first of November, 1614.
The entries “tje de 6 . 9 . 1614” &c. show that the banns were published three times, on 6, 13 and 20 September, 1614
November 1, 1614 was the wedding day. Thirteen years for 1627. 400 years for the rest of us.
What would their culinary biography be if told pie-wise?
Every pie has a story.
What’s in YOUR pie plate?