Churchill's Pub Got It Wrong? Shepherd's or Cottage Pie? Who Knows?
According to several official-sounding sources, including British publication the Guardian, as well as foodtimeline.org -- which cites Food and Drink in Britain: From the Stone Age to the 19th Century, The Oxford Companion to Food, and An A to Z of Food and Drink -- shepherd's pie is made with lamb. When beef is used, the dish is referred to as cottage pie, not shepherd's.
|Photo by Ily Goyanes|
|"Shepherd's" pie at Churchill's Pub.|
So what's the controversy about? "The consensus in America is that cottage pie includes beef and so on, but in England, both meats are used," Daniels explains.
It seems that food experts have based their stance on cottage versus shepherd's largely on a single piece of information. A guy by the name of James Woodforde, who was a foodie in 1791 before it was en vogue, wrote in his dinner diary: "cottage pye and ros beef." Not only could this guy not spell, but also this reference is rather vague. Couldn't it mean that he ate cottage pie and roast beef as two dishes during the same meal? That's what it sounds like to me.
Whether you call it shepherd's or cottage pie, it's a savory, hearty meal that will put some meat on your bones. The type of meat is yet to be determined.
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