Humble Pye | Today the phrase ‘to eat humble pie’ is used in reference to a person’s need to apologise and face humiliation for a serious error. However, in Elizabethan England ‘Humble (or ‘Umble’) Pie’ was the traditional fayre eaten by servants during the Christmas period. After preparing the choice cuts of Venison for their wealthy employers, the servants would bake the leftover humbles’ – the deer’s kidneys, intestines, brains, heart, and liver – into a pie. The humbles were boiled in a stew along with suet, apples, currants, salt, sugar, and spices.
Christmas Pye | Another popular Tudor Christmas dish was the Christmas Pye – a pigeon stuffed inside a partridge, stuffed inside a chicken, stuffed inside a goose, stuffed into a turkey. The five birds were then baked inside a pastry ‘coffin’ and served surrounded by jointed hare, small game birds and wild fowl. While the Tudor Christmas was something of a meat-lover’s paradise, vegetables did get a look-in too. Salad dishes were prepared for the table, frequently shaped into the family coat of arms, while the first record of Brussels sprouts featuring at a Christmas feast was in 1587.