Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Shepherd's Pie: A History
Last night, figuring I should utilize the Sunday-roast-and-potatoes leftovers, I made shepherd's pie for dinner. Curious about the origin of the dish, I turned to the internet -- Why is it called shepherd's pie? Are there shepherds in it? -- Well, I learned that the term "shepherd's pie" first appeared in 1877 after a woman named Mary Shepherd (nee Lamb) got tired of her children complaining about what was for dinner, told the little darlings to "shove off" and dumped all the leftovers in the fridge into one casserole dish. Then she stood over the table with a pitchfork until the ungrateful brats had finished every bite.
Okay, okay, I might have tweaked the history a bit. But that's because I've had my own run-in with shepherd's pie. You see, once upon a time when I was a wee lass, my mom served shepherd's pie for dinner. Being the obedient, grateful child that I was, when she scooped it onto my plate, I said, "Why thank you, Mother, this looks delicious!" and I ate the whole thing. Then I offered to do the dishes.
Hahaha! Whew! I couldn't even keep a straight face while writing that.
What I actually did was whine and complain and moan about having to eat it. I whined and complained and moaned so much that my mother finally turned, scooped up a forkful of potatoes and gravy, and smeared it in my hair.
This escalated my whining to utter hysteria. "Mom!! N-n-n-nnnow my hair is messy!!"
She did the only reasonable thing: She dumped an entire pitcher of water over my head.
I tell you this story not to embarrass her, but just to say, Mom, I now know EXACTLY how you felt.
And shepherd's pie? I kind of like it.