The village of Denby Dale nestles in the picturesque hills of West Yorkshire in Northern England. The town is famous for its monster meat and potato pies — they're even mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records. These gigantic pies are usually baked to celebrate national special occasions and events. The first time is believed to have been in 1788 to celebrate the recovery of King George III from his mental illness.
The History of Denby Dale Pies
Ten pies have been made as part of nine pie festivals over the years — one of the festivals was ditched in 1887. The pie that was made for the millennium celebration in 2000 weighed a staggering 12 tonnes. That's in excess of 26,448 pounds — a tonne equals slightly more than 2,204 pounds. The pie was 40 feet long, 8 feet wide and 3 feet 8 inches deep. It contained three tonnes of beef and a tonne of potatoes, and it was wetted down by 22 gallons of John Smith's Best Bitter, which is brewed in Tadcaster in Yorkshire. The pie was so big it had to be transported to the Pie Field on a 70-foot wagon. As befitting a work of such magnificence, it was blessed by the Bishop of the nearby city of Wakefield.
Not all Denby Dale pies are of such magnitude. More approachable pies are made to the same authentic recipe. The business wavered at one point, but the company was rescued and bought out of receivership by a team led by food entrepreneur Andrew Hayes, preserving 17 jobs in the region.
More recently, Denby Dale Pies engaged the services of renowned Yorkshire bard Ian McMillan to write a poem — renamed a piem — in honor of the Denby Dale Pie. The poem was released in time for National Pie Week 2012 in the UK. National Pie Week is a week-long celebration of British pies both sweet and savory.
If you prefer to read your poetry rather than listen to it at the link above, here's how McMillan's work goes:
"It's pleasing to the nose
And delightful to the eye
Wait till you taste that Denby Dale pie!
It's a symphony of crust,
Taties, gravy and meat
A Denby Dale pie makes your life complete!
They've been making pies in Denby Dale
For centuries and more
They're as Yorkshire as puddings and good strong ale
You can smell 'em through the cottage door!
They've been eating pies in Denby Dale
Since King George was a youth!
Each massive pie could tell a tale
or a slice of historical truth!
're making them again
And the pie-maker's art
Is once more close to this town's heart!
So all those in favour
Stand and bellow Aye! Then have a taste of that there Denby Dale Pie!"
For those who aren't familiar with Yorkshire Dialect, "taties" means potatoes, "'em" means them, and "'re" means they are.