Oh the scandal! The outrage! Grass-eaters winning a competition that should be dominated by pies filled with traditional steak and kidney, bacon and egg, pork and venison? And, to top it all, taking place in the hallowed heart of pork pie heaven, Melton Mowbray – the home of the classic pork pie.
For the sensitive souls (and taste buds) of the noble omnivore, this egregious affront to human taste and dignity comes far too soon on the back of Greggs’ launch of their ridiculously successful vegan sausage roll 1 . So successful, indeed, that it’s been credited as the cause of the 7% rise in the company’s share value 2 .
The vegan “pie” was produced by a company called Jon Thorner’s of Somerset 3 . As if it wouldn’t be so bad winning just one prize, they ended up winning a total of three awards at the recent 2019 British Pie Awards 4 for their Curried Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash, namely: “Best in Class”, “Best Producer” and “Supreme Pie Champion 2019”, beating 886 other competitors 5 at the contest in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire 6 .
The leading chef, Richard Corrigan 7 , has blasted this butternut squash thing “a disgrace”. And, surely, the opinion of this Michelin-starred chef should be honoured and respected when he calls it a “pie in the sky”. All sane gastronomes will be relieved when he promises to make his “pig’s feet and black pudding and Swede pie” the next prize winner. 8
That’ll show those lily-livered lentil lovers!
While being interviewed by the Telegraph 9 , this bastion of butchery, who has proved his credentials as an arbiter of taste by having cooked for the Queen not once, but twice – showed how deeply affected he was by this culinary onslaught by uttering: “Please, please I’m going to cry.”
And, in support of the moderate and fair majority of people, he reminded us all of what proper food should be: “Pies are supposed to be filled with the most delicious morsels of steak and liver and kidney, with the jelly and little pieces of fat in the middle delicately dripping onto your tongue.”
As though we’ve not had enough of populist nonsense – what with Brexiteers bandying around such outdated words like “democracy” and “national pride”. But to now have this travesty inflicted upon our already bowed and bruised heads by…one can hardly bear to say the word…v e g a n s.
As Chef Corrigan explains: “The oldest culinary art form left in the world and the vegans have taken it away. It’s a disgrace…The millennials have taken over…We should all just retire now.”
Matthew O’Callaghan, chairman of the 2019 British Pie Awards, appears to have slipped from the comforting embrace of omnivore common sense when he claims: “This year’s Supreme Champion was outstanding and well deserving of the accolade. From its very appearance on the judging tray you knew it was going to do well and it didn’t disappoint when it was opened and tasted. This pie isn’t just for vegans, it’s a pie for everybody. With this award we can truly say that veganism is now entering the mainstream of British food.” 5
The scale of the challenge ahead from marauding lettuce-lovers should not daunt the still-virtuous veganphobic nation of true meat-eaters.
Even as the faceless hordes of herbivores lay siege to the once great nation and its noble gastronomic traditions, I am reminded of John of Gaunt’s spirit-raising words of encouragement, as he lay on his death bed in Act One of Shakespeare’s Richard II:
“This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England,
This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,
Fear’d by their breed and famous by their birth,
Renowned for their deeds as far from home,
For Christian service and true chivalry,
As is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry,
Of the world’s ransom, blessed Mary’s Son,
This land of such dear souls, this dear dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now leased out, I die pronouncing it,
Like to a tenement or pelting farm:
England, bound in with the triumphant sea
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds:
That England, that was wont to conquer others,
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
Ah, would the scandal vanish with my life,
How happy then were my ensuing death!”
He may as well have been making this speech now, just as the lights are being extinguished in the finest meat and two veg eateries across our nation…
Now, I’m not claiming that the likes of Thorner’s vegan pie or Greggs’ vegan sausage roll are either ideal foods for optimal human health or what I would recommend as part of a WFPB diet – except maybe the very occasional “treat” to remind ourselves of what too much added salt and oil taste like. I mean, the name of my Greggs’ blog (“Greggs’ Vegan Sausage Rolls – Why Veganism Can Fail“) was not chosen for no reason!
However, the amount of venom spewed out by newspaper readers is somewhat over-the-top by anyone’s standards.
Such as some of those following the Telegraph article 9 :
- “What’s the problem? They are made out of Vegans, aren’t they?”
- “I can’t eat grass; animals can. I can eat animals.”
- “Sorry, vegans. I only eat fatty pork pies, or pies with succulent chunks of cow floating in ale and gravy.”
- “You can keep your veggie rubbish.”
- “I’m with Mr Corrigan: if it’s “vegan” you can’t call it a pie. That would be an insult to the centuries of gloriously rich, meaty, aromatic, mouth-watering pies that have gone before. A non-meat snack for trendy neurotics, perhaps?”
- “Meat is good and the majority of people will not succumb to this utter BS.”
- “Also why salad lovers liberally apply dressing: because chomping on grass is not for humans it’s for ruminants. Cows eat the grass, we eat the cows, that’s the way the food chain works.”
- “You do know you’re made of meat right? And when your vegan body starts to starve you start to digest it to survive. That will be the least of your problems.”
And if you think that trying to educate people about veganism is a bit of a challenge, try espousing the virtues of a non-SOS WFPB diet. You’d lose count of the toys thrown out of prams.
- Greggs’ Vegan Sausage Rolls – Why Veganism Can Fail
- The Guardian: Success of vegan sausage roll gives Greggs surge in sales
- Jon Thorner’s of Somerset
- British Pie Awards – 2019
- LeicestershireLive: Vegan pie named ‘supreme champion’ at British Pie Awards – for the first time ever
- Location of Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.
- Wikipedia: Richard Corrigan.
- Richard Corrigan: Facebook.
- Telegraph. 8 March 2019: British Pie Awards 2019: Vegan pie is crowned Supreme Champion .