Does a Pie Need a Bottom? Mary Berry Has Thoughts...
Mary Berry is a delight. So delightful, in fact, that her only major run-in with the law involved trying to bring baking supplies through U.S. customs. Oh, Mary! Is there any limit to your perfection? Apparently, yes, according to Britain's Best Home Cook viewers on Twitter. Berry is making waves with her upended definition of what most people consider a pie.
On last night's episode of the currently-airing series—which sees amateur cooks vying for the title of Britain's Best Home Cook,—it was pie week. The contestants were tasked with creating their own version of the perfect pie while Berry, co-host Claudia Winkleman, and co-judges Dan Doherty (formerly of London's Duck & Waffle) and Chris Bavin discussed their own preferred pastries. According to Metro (the show isn't airing in the U.S. so we'll have to take their word), Berry said, "I love chicken pie with bacon in it," adding, "and I wouldn’t put pastry underneath, absolutely."
Doherty took a risk and confronted the matriarch of British TV cookery head-on. Well, nearly. "I’m very cautious of disagreeing with you." Doherty said. "However I think for a pie to be a pie, it needs a base otherwise it’s a stew with a hat on."
With that amusing image in mind, some viewers of the show took to Twitter to share in Doherty's point of view.
Okay, but by calling out Shephard's Pie with "pie" right in the name, aren't we admitting it's a pie? According to Oxford English Dictionaries, a pie is defined as "a baked dish of fruit, or meat and vegetables, typically with a top and base of pastry." Merriam-Webster concurs with its first definition—"a meat dish baked with biscuit or pastry crust"—but its second definition provides the most leeway for Berry to, indeed, be in the right on this one: "A dessert consisting of a filling (as of fruit or custard) in a pastry shell or topped with pastry or both."
Berry is no stranger to controversial culinary opinions. As the Great British Bake Off has brought the TV presenter more fans, it's also placed her under more scrutiny for her recipe additions and pastry pronunciations. Previously Berry caught flack when her spaghetti bolognese recipe called for, horror of horrors, cream to thicken up the sauce and white (not red) wine to flavor it. Another recent BBHC episode saw Berry taking a stand on whether scone rhymes with "cone" or "gone." And her former home of GBBO was not immune to its own internet outrage when viewers squabbled over what constitutes a teacake.