If you’re in search of the perfect pie, butter has to be better!
That’s the verdict of Preston’s pie-eaters after a Post poll on the city’s Flag Market.
We took the challenge to the people after learning Preston has been shortlisted for the grand final of the Cock o’ The North Pie competition.
Renowned Wigan piemakers Poole’s is searching for the perfect northern pie which it will make in a limited edition for its discerning buyers.
Poole’s managing director Neil Court-Johnston invited pie lovers to capture the taste of a “changing north” by nominating a pie for their town, city or region.
And it turns out Preston loves its humble potato and onion pie...otherwise known as butter pie.
Preston’s spud, onion and buttery sauce confection is in the final 10, competing with the likes of Hull’s Fish Special (with pattie and chip spice), a Yorkshire ”Posh Pie” boasting steak with chantel mushrooms in burgundy sauce with a hint of dark chocolate, Bury Black Pudding Pie, the Bolton Pastie and Blackburn and Burnley’s Lancashire Lamb and Mint Sauce pie.
While many people may wonder why Preston, surrounded by farming country, opts for a vegetarian pie, the answer is thought to lie in its ecclesiastical heritage. As a town with a large Catholic population whch observed the “no meat on Fridays” penance rule, the pie was a popular non-meat meal.
Janet Gray, of Penwortham, said: “I love them, but I’m a Preston girl, so you’re brought up with them. It’s a tradition. You go anywhere else - my sister lives in Nantwich - and you just don’t seem to get the traditional sort of things.”
Preston’s pie and cooked meat purveyor Arthur Strand said: “They were meant to be an alternative to meat. A pie was a quick snack, but now top restaurants make butter pie in a mini version as a starter throughout the country.”
Arthur recalls that after being very popular for decades the pie became hard to find and he says he asked now closed pie makers Ashworths of Preston to make it to meet customer demand in the 1970s,
Nicola Parker-Thompson, a civil servant from Lostock Hall, said: “It should be a winner. I like them mostly because they are vegetarian and I love butter and I love pastry.”
Student Shaahid Mahomed was visiting Preston from Blackburn. He said: “I like all pies - I eat them when I want a quick snack. They seem to sell a lot of pies here.”
Pat Wells of Beech Grove, Ashton: “I’m a Prestonian and I buy butter pie now and again - they’re very tasty. If it was pie it was Friday - that was why you had it. It’s definitely the best northern pie.”
Preston Council worker Terry Smith said: “I was brought up with butter pie. On a Friday you could never have meat - you had to have a butter pie! There were a lot of pie shops in Preston in the 1950s and 60s. People buy them frozen and taken them home - I do it all the time, I’d definitely vote for butter pie.”
Fellow Preston Council worker Linda Vanilavicius said: “I loved butter pies - it was like a meal. I like it with a bit of cheese on top - and they are the best because they are sloppy.”
Mrs Jean Treasure of Fulwood said the pies are renowned in the town: “People talked about them - I think they are very popular.”
To vote in the contest log on to www.facebook.com/poolespies. The winner of the title will be announced on November 27 and each vote will count as an entry into a prize draw with the winner receiving a year’s supply of the chosen pie.
The shortlist is also to be presented to a panel of experts including TV personality Stuart Hall and chef John Benson-Smith.