Writing 101 Favourite meal
Being born and bred in the East End of London, I was weaned on the traditional meal, pie and mash. These were consumed in traditional pie and mash shops, which were dotted around the East End. The pies were made of minced beef and served with mashed potatoes and liqueur (that’s the green gravy,for the uninitiated). The recipes for the pies and the liqueur were closely guarded secrets, passed down in the families of the pie shop proprietors. My family used the shop in Watney Street, owned by the Peter’s family, but there were many others, famously Cooke’s and Manze’s.
The East End was a working class area in the fifties, then as now it had a large immigrant community. Times were hard and money was tight. The highlight of a trip to Watney Street Market was a visit to the pie shop for pie ( or half a pie, depending on how big you were and how flush Mum was that day) and mash.
Oh, did I mention vinegar, (or rather non brewed condiment, as it is labelled in the modern day!) Well an important ingredient of a pie and mash meal was vinegar, and lots of it. For the brave, there was always a bottle on the counter, with a chillie in it.
If you were very lucky you might get a portion of eels as well. Everyone knows about the East End and Jellied Eels, but they are good served hot too. Some say that it is the eel cooking water that adds the special flavour to the liqueur, which is green because of the parsley which is the main ingredient.
Basic nutritional food, and in my opinion, better than today’s takeaways.
Just writing this is making my mouth water and although I don’t live in the East End any more, I still travel miles just for this special treat.