holiday meals

As Christmas approaches, with all of its feasts, we start thinking of all the goodies we will make and eat. For many people, pie is a big part of holiday meals, not to mention other meals year-round. People just simply love pie. They would bake them to share or give as gifts, and especially to have with tea when guests came by, but the one thing I can’t imagine is any kind of worship involving pie. Nevertheless…

In 1644, an English statesman named Oliver Cromwell, came up with the totally irrational idea that pie was a pagan form of pleasure, so he banned pie. The eating of pie, baking pies, even thinking about pie. Well, maybe not exactly, but for the next sixteen years, no one could eat pie. So, like the prohibition years that would come about in the future, the eating of pie went…underground.

I can’t imagine having to bake and eat a pie in secret. For one thing, you can smell a pie baking. The aroma fills the house, and in the 1600s, they didn’t have a conventional oven like we have today. Dutch ovens were the first ovens used for baking. The pot would be embedded in the hot coals and ashes, and then more coals would be placed on its flat lid. Really, any large iron pot could be used as a Dutch oven. Double boilers were also used at this time. This meant that the aroma of the pie filled the area even more, because of the open chimney or the open pit in the outdoors where the pie was baked. I’m not sure if a violation of this new prohibitive law was a fine, jail, or death, but it was certainly something that made people realize that they must really want to bake that pie, if they would take such a risk for the chance to bake one.

Finally, in 1660, the Restoration leaders lifted the ban on pie baking, and the people rejoiced. I don’t know if they went as crazy about getting back to eating pie as they did the end of the Prohibition years, but I would imagine that there were a few gatherings to celebrate the new-found freedom. These days we can’t imagine such a silly idea concerning pie, but with every revelation, there must first have been a misconception. Oliver Cromwell somehow saw something in pie that made him believe the way he did, so seriously that he would make a law. Perhaps, it was his own addiction to pie that made him think it must be bad…not that I know that he was addicted to pie, but people have given up food and drink items for that reason for centuries. In fact, people have had confused ideas when it comes to religion for centuries.

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