We should all be eating less meat and better meat
Whenever you see crossed chives you are in trouble
Never eat anything bigger than your head
Cookery Quote

Before judging pies you should sing to them…

An invite to judge at the British Pie Awards is something of a hot ticket. The range of different food and drink awards grows steadily and each year sees a few more invitations to judge thumping onto the doormat. There are two elements that make the Pie Awards so special, firstly everyone concerned is implausibly passionate about pies and then there is the venue - the judging is held in St Mary’s Church, Melton Mowbray a very beautiful setting with a soaring vaulted roof and rich stained glass windows. The pie laden tables stretch down the middle of the church and for the briefing the judges take their places in the choir stalls…
Before judging there is usually the ”Blessing of the pies” by the Reverend Kevin Ashby, this year the blessing was administered by the whole congregation! We stood and we sang. To the tune of “All things bright and beautiful” but with new words from the Reverend Kevin – eight verses in all, the chorus was

“Pies meat-filled and fruity-full!
All pies both great and small
Crusty pies and filling-full
The Bakers made them all”
Other meaty sentiments include,
“Pies topped off with gravy
Pies topped off with sauce,
The one thing that’s not in our pies
Is any trace of horse!”
And finally,
“God gave bakers gifts to bake them
And gave us mouths to eat,
We thank the Lord for all these pies
Whether savoury or sweet!”

Communal singing is exhilarating stuff and suitably uplifted we attacked a magnificent spread of “Speciality pies”. On our judging team was the deputy Lord Mayor of Leicester whose brief was to decide which pie was “Fit for a King” and would get a special prize to celebrate the discovery of Richard III’s remains in Leicester. I am pleased to report that Councillor Rory Palmer, the deputy Lord Mayor of Leicester, is a very bright young man and a knowledgeable foodie. He will happily debate recipes and has a good palate, although on the down-side he has form for photographing dishes he admires which is a rather bloggy thing to do. Overall though, eye-opening, it’s almost enough to restore your faith in politics. And the pies? They were magnificent – the three tier “wedding cake” made from pork and chicken pies was particularly droll with small, plastic figures of a married couple standing on the top layer.

Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association www.mmppa.co.uk
Organisers and hosts of the British Pie Awards www.britishpiewards.co.uk

Charles Campion - Friday 26th April 2013

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