The introduction by Spooks Blackburn of a Pie and Mash shop into his Whitechapel 1888 sim made me want to look at how it all began. Hibiscus had visited the shop when she wrote about food around the different London sims a few weeks ago. Spook’s shop is typical of the décor that has long since been the tradition of the London pie shops, with its tiled walls, the oldest known establishment being Manze’s in real life, dating back to the early 1900’s. I wonder if many of our overseas friends have tasted jellied eels? Jellied eels, sold alongside the pie and mash, are still popular today, the eels are chopped into pieces and boiled and then served cold in gelatine! I suppose you love them or hate them, they aren’t my cup of tea!! The River Thames has often been quite polluted, but eels seem to survive in conditions where other fish do not. Dutch eel fishermen were moored on the Thames during the Great Fire of London in the 17th Century and helped to feed the population with their catch of eels, for which they were granted the monopoly on trading their eels at Billingsgate, the famous London fish market. A lot of the Pie and Mash shops displayed the live, squirming eels in their shop windows, whilst the eels awaited their fate in the cooking pot. Some pie shops also sell stewed eels as well as jellied eels.
The pies, which nowadays usually contain minced beef, were originally filled with eels, which were cheap and plentiful. The mashed potato is served with a green liquor, which is like a soup, made with parsley and whatever other ingredients the individual shops choose to make the liquor unique to them. You are traditionally supposed to pour the liquor over your pie and mash and sprinkle vinegar over the lot to bring out the flavour. The Pie and Mash shops were really popular in the East End of London and the food was thought to be a dish that cockney Londoner’s really enjoyed. You will still find a few shops throughout the UK, so if you come across one, pop in and give yourself a treat! Spook’s virtual pie, mash and eels shop is well worth a visit too, it’s a lovely place to sit and chat with your friends, without the eels wriggling in the shop window!