Cornish Hospitality

Stargazy Pie by Victoria Bampfield

Tom Bawcock's Eve

Dec 23

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"A merrier place you may believe;
Was Mousehole on Tom Bawcock's eve
To be there then who wouldn't wish;
To sup on seven sorts of fish
When murgy broth had cleared the path;
Comed lances for a fry
And then us had a bit o' scad ;
And starry gazey pie "

~ Robert Morton Nance, 1927 (Modern English)

Stargazy pie (sometimes called starrey gazey pie, stargazey pie and other variants) is a Cornish dish made of baked pilchards (or sardines), along with eggs and potatoes, covered with a pastry crust.  The unique feature of stargazy pie is fish heads (and sometimes tails) protruding through the crust, so that they appear to be gazing skyward. This traditional dish is often baked for Tom Bawcock's Eve (December 23) to commemorate a 16th century legend. Recipe included!One of the pleasures of Cornish hospitality is found in its strong culinary heritage which has been carried intact to former mining communities as far as the United States, Australia, and Mexico by miners who left to make their fortunes elsewhere. Apart from the iconic Cornish pasty, one of its other signature dishes is Stargazy pie (sometimes called starrey gazey pie, or stargazey pie) a dish made of baked pilchards (or sardines), along with eggs and potatoes, covered with a pastry crust.  The unique feature of stargazy pie is fish heads (and sometimes tails) protruding through the crust, so that they appear to be gazing skyward. This traditional dish is often baked for Tom Bawcock's Eve on December 23rd to commemorate a 16th century legend. Recipe included!

Cornish Hospitality

Along with other Cornish treats and classics such as Cornish pasties, yarg cheese, Cream teas (jam first, cream afterwards, please), saffron buns, and pilchards, one of the most iconic of traditional dishes is stargazey pie!

Stargazy pie (sometimes called starrey gazey pie, stargazey pie and other variants) is a Cornish dish made of baked pilchards (or sardines), along with eggs and potatoes, covered with a pastry crust.  The unique feature of stargazy pie is fish heads (and sometimes tails) protruding through the crust, so that they appear to be gazing skyward. This allows the oils released during cooking to flow back into the pie.

This pie is traditionally eaten on December 23rd, celebrating the heroic act of 16th century legendary fisherman Tom Bawcock of Mousehole, who sailed out into a violent stormy sea to fish when the village was facing starvation. He returned with seven types of fish which were made into a pie and shared among the townsfolk, thus saving them from famine.

For a humble yet elevated recipe, click the beautiful stargazey pie!

Cornish Hospitality
Cornish Hospitality

Jan    Feb    Mar    Apr    May    Jun    Jul    Aug    Sep    Oct    Nov    Dec

WELCOME TO An Entertainment Site for Scottish Country Dancers - Enjoy the curated selection of theme-related dances for celebrations and holidays, or find a dance associated with a special calendar day, or EVEN your own birthday!