This week I made a meat and potato pie. It had been a while since I made one, indeed quite some time since I made a pie of any kind. It seems that whenever I decide to do something with pastry I end up deferring the plan for a day or two and usually forgetting about it altogether.
Let’s face it, there are some tasks in the kitchen that are a bit tedious and rubbing in pastry is one of them. Yes, it’s always worth the effort in the end and mechanical contrivances to ease the burden never produce quite the same result – but there’s no escaping the fact that, at the time, it’s tedious. But I’d promised a meat and potato pie.
So I’d got to the stage where the butter is gradually beginning to spread itself through the flour but the aimed-for “texture of fine breadcrumbs” was still some way off and I thought “What can I do to take my mind off this?”
And the answer came: “Sing!”.
It’s a well-known fact, and one to which I personally attest, that singing can enhance one’s well-being and take one’s mind off those aches and pains to which the aging body is prone, but I’d never actually considered it as a means of relieving boredom in the kitchen. Nevertheless, my esteemed coach is always telling me that I should exercise my voice daily and I hadn’t yet and it seemed like a good opportunity, so sing I did.
Well, I started with a few exercises and came to the immediate but premature conclusion that the kitchen has a lousy acoustic (my head was probably too near the cupboard), but a few items into my repertory of bass songs and spirituals I became aware that the contents of the mixing bowl had miraculously transformed into perfect crumbs. And I continued to sing until the newly rolled sheet of pastry was sitting atop the pie dish in which the cubes of stewing steak and Maris Piper had already been simmering gently in a beery gravy with a diced onion for an hour or so.
And when the finished article came out of the oven, the pastry was light, rich and golden. Ah, the power of music!