Following yesterday’s post extolling the virtues of Galloways, I got a tweet off @IlfordDaveSCFC (married to a Wiganer @catalinar) who had excitedly spotted a box of Pooles meat and potato pies in the freezer aisle in Beckton Tesco’s. Thus making today’s pie of the day a shoe in.
Far be it from me to dampen the enthusiasm of exiled Northerners unearthing proper meat ‘n’ tater within the sound of Bow bells but the “since 1847” on the box has a story behind it with much more recent history.
You see, Pooles Pies were the stuff of legends. Between them and Galloways they’re probably the inspiration for writing the book. They used to sell them in every corner shop in Wigan in hot glass display counters. And there used to be a little general store on every street corner in Springfield, Wigan when I was growing up.
Pooles also had cafes in town, indeed the remnants of one still exist opposite Wigan North Western station. They were quite dark inside but overflowing with character as old girls wearing traditional pinnies served up plates overloaded with pie, peas and gravy.
And as for those pies: simply heavenly! They were never the biggest but both the meat and potato and meat were packed with a rich, sloppy filling that poured out delivering such intense flavours they really could not be matched.
So the story goes, that Dave Whelan bought them out and didn’t pay up for the recipe and sadly the “original” Pooles Pies seem lost in the annals of time. Subsequently they went bust last year and were bought out again by Countrystyle foods in Yorkshire.
They’re still not bad though, a bigger size now with a wide range of flavours including a new range of gourmet pies; my only gripe that the crust is a bit crumbly: keep the Gaviscon on stand by.
There’s another 313 pies like the above featured in Life of Pies. If you want to order a copy of the book for just £9.99 plus postage please click this link to order www.lifeofpies.co.uk/buy
You’ll receive it in around er……..69 days!