Westwells1And it is doing (sort of)….

I spent today sifting through nearly 1,500 photos of pies and pastries I have consumed in an attempt to whittle it down to a publishable printed selection.

In a desperate attempt to drum up interest in the book prior to pre-launch, I’ll be banging a few of these photos online in rough chronological order to whet your appetite over the next few weeks.

But why is it WHET or not just WET your appetite anyway? Surely it’s the same thing? The word WHET has no other purposeful context does it?

See, I get easily distracted. This is my writing style, and this is why I need a focus. Or a distraction to keep me focussed if you prefer.

In 2008 I took a job in St Helens. Before long people were wittering on to me about Pimmies Pies. Pies in St Helens? Pies are a Wigan thing: don’t talk bollocks I scoffed!! I sought them out and from there on in constructed a spreadsheet of all the bakers and butchers in the area. Indeed at the time there were chippies, caffs and I even bunged Little Chef in there for some inexplicable reason.

If I’m completely honest, it was more a case of “where’s the best place to get summat to eat around here” and a little element of variety added to my mundane life rather than a desire to search out the perfect pie.

Yet this simple Excel spreadsheet began to spawn a monster that took over my life for two whole years…..

So today I head right back to the start, well the start of the book


I only really got my act together midway through the month and of course “the project” was strictly clandestine at this point so apart from me scoffing a Square Pie with my hands out of a box in Canary Wharf, my forays started locally and slowly ventured outwards like the ripples generated from a house brick launched into a reservoir.

After a chat with some of the FC United lads I am fortunate to know they directed me to many of the hidden treasures of the Manchester area, somewhat perversely two of them being situated within earshot of Manchester city’s stadium. Although this is technically where Manchester United started off. Back when they were just a bunch of workshy nineteenth century railway workers who’d rather kick a ball about than stoke up the steam engine with no particular desire for global sporting domination.

So, January: The Crusty Cob in Beswick and Westwells in Openshaw took the honours. The Cob meat and potato warmed my cockles due to it’s unique, distinct shape and Westwells….well what’s not to like about a pie for 85p with a vat of piping hot mushy peas and gravy stacked next to it.

The Crusty Cob



Crusty Cob 2 (thankfully my camera work also improves as the book progresses)


Westwells (and in preview at top)


Coming next: Marshall Spearing – American rapper or Macclesfield Butcher?