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Mr Pye's Steak and Kidney Pie

British Pie Week

Mar 6

Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day

Today's Musings, History & Folklore

"🎶 Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,
Oh wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king?" ​

~ Mother Goose rhyme

The canon of Scottish Country Dances contain an amazing number of "dainty dish" dances, such as this classic British pie. During the medieval period, a type of pie known as a "coffyn" featured a sturdy crust with sides and a lid, which was sometimes designed to be removed. This allowed the pie to be filled with a variety of ingredients, providing simple sustenance for the common people and serving as a vessel for more elaborate and surprising contents for the aristocracy. Tales from this era suggest that pies were occasionally baked with live entertainment inside, such as birds that would burst forth upon opening, or even rabbits, frogs, and dogs. More whimsically, it's recounted that dwarves might emerge from these pies to recite poetry, or a complete musical ensemble could be concealed within to play for the guests. In a nod to this tradition of hidden surprises, the classic British dish Steak and Kidney Pie has been playfully dubbed in rhyming slang as "Kate and Sidney pie." Although this dance was named for a Mr. Pye who often delighted his friends with a steak and kidney pie of his own making, the original recipe has been lost. However, this energetic reel comes with a link to a classic recipe, should you want to revisit this classic dish! 🥧 👑

Mr Pye's Steak and Kidney Pie

Pie is a favorite dish with a long history of both sweet and savoury versions.  


The earliest pies in ancient times were in the form of flat, round crusty cakes made of ground oats, wheat, rye, or barley and containing honey as a treat inside.  Evidence of galettes of this type are found as drawings on the tomb walls of the Pharaoh Rameses II, who ruled from 1304 to 1237 BC  in the Valley of the Kings.  

By medieval times, cooks with restricted access to ovens often cooked pies over an open fire.  Pie recipes from this era refer to the "coffyns" - pies with straight sealed sides and tops and open-top pies called "traps." The crust was thick, and could be baked first, and would rise forming a pot, hence the term "pot pie."


For a more classic recipe for this most British of savoury pies, the Steak and Kidney Pie, click the four and twenty blackbirds below!

Mr Pye's Steak and Kidney Pie

Click the dance cribs or description below to link to a printable version of the dance!

Mr Pye's Steak and Kidney Pie

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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!  

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