The Demise of Pie and Mash and Liquor

Based on an article I read online this afternoon in The Telegraph, I’m afraid hipsters have torpedoed my chances for ever eating an old-style meal of English pie and mash and jellied eel. Damn it! I really, truly would liked to have had an opportunity to taste a dish commonly served to dock workers and other working class folk in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Even for the bulk of the twentieth century, I understand that pie and mash shops were popular and thrived in working-class London. We (my wife and I), during our many trips to England in the 1980s and 1990s, never had the opportunity to try them. We were always taken to the “upscale” spots, not to the kind of places I really wanted to go. I wanted to experience London as if I were a working class Londoner. Instead, I was treated as a visiting American who, presumably, should be taken to expensive restaurants to eat food more suited to the American palate. I was too bashful to object. Later, when we went back in the late 1990s, we experienced the more common Indian food dives, which we loved, but still didn’t get to the old-style places that had survived for more than a century. Like A.J. Goddard pie and mash shop that closed today (Sunday, October 7) after 128 years. What a bloody shame! Some call the dish pie and mash and liquor (not the alcoholic kind, the “liquor” sauce made from eels). I wish I could try it. I guess there are some shops left, but they’re disappearing rapidly. I’m sorry to know that. Very sorry to know it.

Travel the world and experience it was it once was, and do it soon, or the great homogenization will rip your chances from your grip before you know it.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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