Saturday, September 23, 2006

Pie charts

A great Saturday tradition has always been a cheeky pie. In London the best quick food treat was a salt beef bagel from the Brick Lane Bagel Bakery with mustard to make your eyes water. It was just the job to get you in the mood before shouting obscenities at the nazi paper sellers across the road.

The only street seller paper in Marple is a lovely Romanian lad who flogs the Big Issue outside Iceland. God bless you too, my friend.

So, to pies. Ian Wolfendale, the undisputed arbiter of common sense pie consumption, is of no doubt. The best pies in Marple are the steak ones from Archers on Hollins Lane. But on Saturday, you can wait half an hour while old ladies collect their bread orders, Wolfie says with not a little irritation.

I'm equally convinced that Grenaby Farm steak pies take some beating and the service is super effecient. It needs to be with a large queue out of the shop. The first one I ever had in May this year led to me going back to the shop to demand to speak to the manager in order to congratulate him on a work of rare beauty. Not too salty, not too hot. The pastry contains the chunks of meat in a rich sauce and doesn't crumble in the tray. They have failed to disappoint ever since.

For the ultimate pie test we whittled it down to the above two, added potato and meat from each place and a lamb pie from Archers. The kids - all five - opted for Archers sausage rolls.

The verdicts: Eamon Curran, father of the love of my life, and a man who knows his way around a plate of food said the pies were alright, but the sausage rolls were peerless. Some of the best he's had.

Margaret, mother of the same, thought there was little to choose between the two potato and meat. A tie for first place. But that the Grenaby steak was too salty.

Rachel agrees with me. Mmmm.

And me, stubborn bugger that I am, still think Grenaby's steak pie is the king of Marple Pies. The next test is to put it up against a Levers' steak offering from their flagship superstore on Bolton Road, Blackburn, opposite t'Roverrrrs. I might need extra help from Wolfie on that one.


Paul said...

Here I was sitting in New zealand thinking about Archers pies in Marple. They are not only the best pies in Marple mate.... They are the best in the world.

Johanna Boz said...

Please help - yes I was back in England as an 18yr old in 1972 - My Mum (formerly Beatrice Andrew) took me to Archer's Pie Shop and the memory remains still that they are the best pies in the world. BUT she passed away last year and all her family have passed on too, so please if there is an Ivor Roberts or Walter Seal who were her good friends many years ago, and read this, please email me at |

Johanna Boz said...

I live in New Zealand but my mum from Marple (fomerly Beatrice Andrew) introduced me to the best pies in the world (Archers) in 1972 on a visit back home. But this blog is really about getting in touch with two old school friends of Mum's. She died last year and there is no family left so if anyone can put me in touch with Ivor Roberts (her good friend) please alert him to this blog. Many thanks - Jilly (her daughter) and my email is |