Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

coffin (coffyn) a term meaning a thick pastry case for a pie, was in use from the late Middle English period to the 16th century. It thus antedated the use of the same term (from the early 16th century) in what is now the familiar sense of a receptacle for a corpse, and should therefore not be regarded as having lugubrious or sinister connotations. A coffin was necessary as a container for meat or other foodstuff that was to be baked in the bread oven (or the smaller but similarly designed pastry oven that might exist in very grand households). Pie dishes were not used until much later.