Devizes Pie


During the summer of 1928 a Wiltshire man who had made his home in New Zealand, wrote to the Town Clerk of Devizes to ask for the recipe of Devizes Pie. No one in the town had ever heard of it; then a recipe appeared in a small collection of county recipes, but no date was given nor its source. The Editor of this book, however, who was visiting Devizes discovered in her note-book (dated 1927) that it is given by Mrs. Dalgairns (1829), and the following year she found the following rather better recipe in The Magazine of Domestic Economy, of 1836. This is an example of the way in which direct research may be combined with research amongst printed and manuscript records. It is also an example of the way the name of a thing lingers on after other particulars are lost. In this book there are many recipes that have been rescued in similar fashion. A tiny scrap of information is noted; after a time (sometimes years) it is linked up with another, but not perhaps completely rescued till more time has elapsed. A great deal of collating has to be done as well as collecting.

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  1. Boil a calf’s head, cut it into very thin slices, with some of the brains.
  2. Add slices of pickled tongue, sweetbread, lamb, veal, a few slices of bacon, and some hard-boiled eggs.
  3. Put them in layers in a piedish with plenty of seasoning between each of cayenne, white pepper, allspice and salt.
  4. Fill up the dish with rich gravy that will jelly when cold.
  5. Cover with a flour-and-water paste; make a hole in the middle.
  6. Bake in a slow oven for about one hour.
  7. And when perfectly cold, take off the crust, and
  8. Turn the pie out upon a dish; and garnish with parsley and pickled eggs cut in slices.