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first_imgBen Coffer gorges on piesTHE BE-MULLETED eighties pop duo Tears For Fears were wrong about so much, yet in one respect they were right on the button: this is, as they sang on the soundtrack to Donnie Darko, a mad world. And in such a mad world, there are few things which have any enduring significance. Popes die, promises made to Chancellors of the Exchequer are forgotten; even the royals we assumed would live in sin forever eventually do the right thing and tie the knot.Nonetheless, there remains a single area of modern life that is, like one of those towns on the retreating cliffs of Whitby, firmly immured against the salty tides of change: the Great English Pork Pie. Anything the world throws at it simply slides off its greasy pastry outer shell, disdained. The pie is a monument to empire. The pie is forever. The pie will be here after Armageddon to feed the cockroaches.The reason for this is simply that the pork pie is the perfect food, in no need of change. Its pastry crust speaks to a diner of infinite potential, obscuring what’s within and defying conventional conceptions of identity. “Don’t ever f**king judge me,” it proclaims, like those modern-day philosophers and renowned lovers of the pork pie, Slipknot. For who can say what lies beneath a crusty mask? While the ’Knot remain forever obscured by theirs, however, the ever-rewarding savoury simply teases until all is revealed with the first bite. Further mouthfuls continue to surprise, offering the full range of textural experiences: an average pie (if such a thing exists) provides the obvious moist chewiness, along with moments of unexpected and inexplicable crunch, and even the more unconventional quivering of the jelly.Such icons inevitably have detractors. There are those, for instance, who frown and tell me that the Pork Pie is too unhealthy to survive in a world where even McDonald’s sells salads. But so what if British meat is accepted worldwide as a breeding ground of BSE, Foot and Mouth, and myriad other plagues? No sane Englishman seriously expects a pork pie to contain real meat. It’s a scientific fact that a pie is 73% safer than a British steak. Pies: one; modern world: nil.“But that’s not the only reason they’re unhealthy,” retorts that insistent voice of modernity. “Pies are incredibly fattening.” Yes they are. And it’s an acknowledged truth that the majority of girls prefer larger men. Pies two; modern world: nil.Still, though, our whining contemporary society persists in its attempts to prove the invulnerable Pork Pie defunct, practically screaming, “Pies don’t actually taste very nice.” No, indeed they don’t. But to dwell on such points is really to misunderstand the ethos of the pork pie. This is a pastry that doesn’t care what people think. It doesn’t need your affirmation. It couldn’t give a toss whether or not you like how it tastes. Rather, it challenges you to eat it in spite of its blandness. This isn’t some nouveau riche foodstuff that wants to be loved. The great English Pork Pie is the aristocrat of the culinary world, and I but its humble serf.ARCHIVE: 0th week TT 2005last_img read more