Oh My, Meat Pie Transcript

[ed. note: since AB plays his Great Great Grandfather, he often speaks to us in the first person to us at times when the Scene is located in the Pie shop]

The Kitchen

    Oh, hello. I'm just looking over this old journal that my great-great-grandfather kept of his journey from the Old World to America. He was a cook, like me, and his last days in London were very, very odd indeed. Now he arrived from the north on a foggy evening in 1850. And being famished and not well-funded, he entered a small pie shop down on Fleet Street.

Fleet Street Pie Shop

GUESTS: Mrs. Lovett
              AB's Great Great Grandfather

MRS. LOVETT: [she is the proprietor of a pie shop, she strains as she rolls out some dough with a rolling pin]
GGG: [enters] Hello?
   ML: [in a Eliza Doolittle accent] A customer.
GGG: Oh, you're closed. I, I apologize. I'll come back some other time.
   ML: Wait! We're open. Don't go. Here.
GGG: Alright.
   ML: You just sit down right here, Sir.
GGG: Thank you. It's just, you know, the place looks kind of empty.
   ML: Right.
GGG: I thought that maybe, you know ...
   ML: Now here you go, Sir. Best pie in the shop.
GGG: Really? Extraordinary. Thank you, ma'am. [stabs at it with his fork, takes a bite, and gags a bit]
   ML: Oh, here, wash it down with this. [hands GGG a beverage]
GGG: I am sorry. It, it's just ...
   ML:  ... the worst pie in London. I know. I try, Sir, but my skills are ...  lacking.
GGG: Exactly what kind of meat is that?
   ML: You know, I don't remember. But it was fresh at the time, I assure you.
GGG: Well, perhaps if you changed your spices and you cut up your meat a bit finer and used half the amount of fat in your crust ...
   ML: You talk like a cook, Sir.
GGG: Oh, I, I am a cook. I'm off to America soon.
   ML: Oh, oh please, Sir, if you could just delay your journey for a few days, I promise to be a most excellent student.
GGG: No, no, I couldn't possibly.
   ML: I'm a poor widow, alone in the world. You'd be saving me life, you would.
GGG: Yes, well, I'm afraid I ...
   ML: Yes? Oh, thank you, Sir!
GGG: No, no.
   ML: Thank you.
GGG: No.
   ML: Oh, I'm sure in no time at all ...
GGG: No.
   ML:  ... you'll be able to elevate ...
GGG: [shaking his head vigorously] No.
   ML:  ... my poor pies to ...

[Good Eats Theme]

Fleet Street Pie Shop

GUEST: Sweeney Todd

GGG: The first thing we must do is get straight on all of our pies.
   ML: Where did these come from, then?
GGG: A ... uh ...  shop just up the street.
   ML: I see.

GGG: Sorry. Um, first, we have a potpie which is nothing but cut up meat, usually poultry, with some vegetables, a nice thick sauce, all topped off with dough and baked.
   ML: Yes, that's exactly what I made you.
Pot Pie
GGG: Right. Next, a mincemeat pie. Mincemeat pie really isn't meat at all. It's dried fruit, spices, nuts, a bit of beef suet to hold it all together, and then a crust, or not. Now over here, something really extraordinary. It's from France. These are Cape Breton pork pies. They are a great deal like the mince pie, only instead of the beef suet, they use pork fat instead. Mincemeat Pie

Cape Breton Pork Pie

  ML: Well, what's that one there?
GGG: Ahh, the standard cottage pie. Lovely, really. It's just a crust with a nice, thick stew, topped off with mashed potatoes and baked. Now when I was up in the North Country, I concocted a new version of this that I like to call "Shepherd's Pie".
  ML: Oh, not too many shepherds here in London.
GGG: No, no, I shouldn't think so. But what I did is I converted it to mutton, which I thought a shepherd might like to eat.
Cottage Pie

   ML: Oh. Yeah. Tell me, love ...
GGG: Hmm?
   ML:  ... could you use some other type of meat?
GGG: Hmm, I suppose you could. What do you have in mind? [the door bell jingles]
   ML: Oh, Mr. Todd. This is Mr. Brown. He's going to help me with my pies.
GGG: Pleasure to make your acquaintance, Sir.
   ST: Pleasure's all mine.
   ML: Mr. Todd's a barber. His shop's right over our heads.
   ST: My chair is now open, Mr. Brown.
GGG: Oh, a bit of a shave would be lovely. Perhaps I could ...
   ML: Oh, no, no, Mr. Brown. Please, you're as smooth as a baby's rump. Besides, think of the pies.
GGG: Of course, Mrs. Lovett. I'm sorry. Perhaps another time, Mr. Todd.
   ST: Mrs. Lovett, I believe I spied the meat man at the back door.
   ML: Oh! Oh, yes, of course. Um, excuse me, Mr. Brown, I'll be just a minute.
GGG: Perhaps I could be of some assistance.
   ML: No! No!
   ST: No, no, no.
   ML: No. No.
   ST: No.
GGG: No? Fine. Just be right here, then. Right here. Well, it wouldn't hurt to have a little poke around the pantry, now would it?

Fleet Street Pie Shop Pantry

GUEST: Milk Girl

    [sounds of pots clanging, as GGG looks about the pantry] Well, that's extraordinary. Huh! Mrs. Lovett has the strangest-looking potatoes. [holds up Russets] I've never seen a variety like this before. It must have come from America. Probably took them off of some unfortunate sailor. Hah hah. Shepherd's pie, then!

Fleet Street Pie Shop

    [AB voiceover] Great-great-grandfather went about peeling and cubing one and a half pounds of Russet potatoes. But of course, even back then he knew that the real secret to mashed potatoes wasn't just in the potatoes themselves, but in dairy. Luckily, a milk girl was passing by.

1½ lbs. Russet Potatoes

Fleet Street Pie Shop Storefront

GGG: [opens the front door, and walks outside] Ah! Milk girl, come over here. Ah, hello.
GGG: I would like to have a tuppence worth of milk and fresh cream. You know what I call it when I mix it together like this?
  MG: No, Sir.
GGG: I call it half-and-half. Catchy name, I think. Now, I don't suppose you have any butter there, do you?
  MG: Yes, Sir. Finest in London, Sir.
GGG: Excellent. Excellent.
  MG: That'll be a penny, Sir.
GGG: Ah, that seems reasonable. There you go. Now the last thing I need is an egg. I don't suppose you have an egg in that contraption of yours.
  MG: Yes, yes, Sir. Laid just this morning, Sir.
GGG: Outstanding! Thank you.
  MG: That'll be another penny, Sir.
GGG: Yes, I assumed it would be. Profitable business you have. Thank you very much, young lady. Off you go.
GGG: Ah, well, prices are exorbitant, but you can find anything you need in London. Ha!

Fleet Street Pie Shop

GUEST: Mr. Smythe

   ML: [sets down a container of "meat"] There, freshest meat in town, it is.
GGG: Ooh, lovely. But tell me, Mrs. Lovett, exactly what kind of animal is this?
   ML: Um, you're the cook. You tell me.
GGG: Well, is it mutton?
   ML: Well, of course it's mutton [with a false grin on her face].
GGG: 'Cause I'll tell you right away, this looks very much like pork as well. Exactly what cuts did you grind?
   ML: Well, what was it that you wanted?
GGG: Well, I would have been very happy indeed to have had a pound and a half of lamb shoulder. But, uh, mutton will do just fine. But you know, I do believe that one day in America, there won't be any mutton, no smelly mutton. It'll all be lamb. Beautiful, luscious lamb all the time. And you know what? It'll come from New Zealand. [Bell jingles]
   ML: New Ze ...
GGG: Yes.
MR. SMYTHE: [enters carrying a box of groceries with ST behind him]
   ML: Oh, hello, Mr. Smythe. [to GGG] He's the grocer. [to MS] Here for a pie?
   MS: Oh, gracious, no. I'm ...
   ST: Well, Mr. Smythe, you're just on time. What'll it be today? An artful trimming of the hair, a relaxing facial massage, or perhaps the shave of a lifetime?
   MS: Actually, I was thinking' about highlights.
   ST: [pointing to his own hair] Did these myself. Right this way. [both leave]
GGG: Bit of an odd one, that Mr. Todd, eh?
   ML: Well, never noticed.
GGG: Oh.

In Medieval times, pie crusts were referred to as coffins.

Fleet Street Pie Shop

GGG: Now, Mrs. Lovett, as you can see, our potatoes have been simmering for about 15 minutes, and they are perfect. It is critical when you are cooking shepherd's pie that you not overcook your potatoes.
   ML: Well, why not? I do it all the time.
GGG: Yes. I know. You see, if you could look at any one of these under a microscope, you would see that ...
   ML: A what?
GGG: Touché. Let us just say, Mrs. Lovett, that each one of these pieces of potato are chock full of wee little capsules of a substance called starch. Now these starches swell up when they cook, and that's a good thing. But if we overcook them, they over-swell. And if they over-swell, they explode. And if they explode, we end up with gluey, gummy potatoes. [empties a pot of potatoes, and hands the hot water to ML] Now here, toss that out for me, would you?
   ML: Right. So I guess gluey is bad?
GGG: Gluey is very bad indeed. Now I think right over here ...  [retrieves a hand mixer, as sounds and brief sights of thrashing about in the adjoining barber shop suggest that Sweeney Todd is murdering Mr. Smythe. Mrs. Lovett closes the window to hide the sounds] I've got my ...  I'm sorry, did you say something?
   ML: Uh, no, nothing. Oh. What's that?
GGG: Oh, this. This is what I call a "vitawhiperator." [holds a hand beater] It's my new invention.
   ML: Right. What's it do?

GGG: Well, it whips. It whips things. Just, here, take it like this and turn it and just have a go at those potatoes. Go ahead. Alright, very good. Now while you beat that, I'm going to add my two ounces of melted butter and a quarter cup of my half-and-half, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt, a quarter teaspoon of black pepper and, last but by no means least, one single egg yolk. 2 Ounces Melted Butter +
¼ Cup Half & Half
¾ tsp. Kosher Salt +
Black Pepper
1 Egg Yolk

   ML: Well, uh, so, what's the egg for?
GGG: Ah, well it contains these things called aminosat least, I, I thinkand they tend to help the binding of the potatoes, and they assist in the browning as well.
   ML: Oh, don't you worry. My old oven can brown anything.
GGG: Yes, that's called rust, Mrs. Lovett. Now that's all fine and good, good, good job. Let's cover that up while we turn our attention to the stew.
   ML: Oh, I thought we was making shepherd's pie.
GGG: The basis of which is always a simple mutton stew. You do know how to make a stew, don't you, Mrs. Lovett? [ML hands GGG an unmarked can] Ah, yes. Well then, we're going to need a few things. We're going to have to chop up a cup's worth of onion. We'll need to dice two carrots. We'll need to mince two cloves of garlic, and then, of course, chop down two teaspoons of fresh rosemary and a teaspoon of thyme. Got it?
   ML: Oh, well, I've got the onion.
GGG: An onion? Oh, pity we don't have any money for a grocer then.
   ST: [enters with a large container of vegetables] We don't need no grocer. Our friend was called away all sudden-like and asked me to give you these veg-it-ables, Mrs. Lovett.
   ML: Oh, you're wonderful! I mean, he's wonderful.
GGG: Oh, they are lovely. We're going to have to remember to send him a pie.
ML and ST: [try unsuccessfully to restrain their laughter]
GGG: So, Mrs. Lovett, do you have a big, sharp knife?
   ML: Oh, of course.
GGG: It's what we're going to need to dispatch these. These are perfect for ...
   ML: Like this? [presents AB with an enormous knife]
GGG: Ahh! Gracious. Um, actually, I was hoping for something a little more ...
   ST: [whips out a straight razor]  ... shiny?
GGG: Ooh, yeah.
   ST: Allow me. [brandishes a second straight razor, in a very dramatical chopping sequence with vegetable bits flying everywhere, he chops everything into neat, perfect piles] Chair's open anytime, Mr. Brown.

GGG: [narrating] Right, now our stew begins with two tablespoons of oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the carrots and onion for several minutes, until they take on a nice little bit of color. And then the garlic goes next. Good, good, smells nice. Now we're going to go with our meat, a pound and a half of lamb or mutton or pork or whatever we happen to have, and a teaspoon of coarse salt. 2 Tbs. Canola Oil

1 Cup Chopped Onion +
2 Carrots, Peeled & Diced

2 Cloves Garlic, Minced

1½ lbs. Ground Lamb
1 tsp. Kosher Salt

   ML: [points to AB's salt dispenser] What's that?
GGG: Ah, just a little invention of mine. It helps to keep your salt clean. There. And half a teaspoon of black pepper. Although ideally, Mrs. Lovett, you would want to grind this yourself.
½ tsp. Freshly Ground
    Black Pepper

   ML: Why is that?
GGG: Because at this point in British history, it is not uncommon for black pepper to be adulterated with coal dust, pencil shavings and very, very small rocks.
   ML: As long as it's cheap, I don't care what's in it.

GGG: That's the spirit. Keep stirring. Now that we've cooked a bit of moisture out of that meat, we can thicken it up with a couple of tablespoons of plain old flour. 2 Tbs. All-Purpose Flour

   ML: Oh, why?
GGG: Well, because like the potatoes, the flour granules are full of those little starches. When they swell up, they'll thicken the sauce.
   ML: Well, if it works like potatoes, why don't we just use potatoes, since we've already got them?

GGG: Well, because ...  It's very scientific, Mrs. Lovett. Just keep stirring, please. We've got our thyme and our rosemary. There we go. Two teaspoons of tomato paste. Brought that from Italy, don't you know. One cup of fresh chicken broth. There we go. And last but not least, a teaspoon of this. [holds up what looks like a flask of spirits] 1 tsp. Chopped Fresh
    Thyme +
2 tsp. Chopped Fresh
2 tsp. Tomato Paste
1 Cup Chicken Broth

   ML: Oh, mind if I have a nip?
GGG: Help yourself, Mrs. Lovett. You see, I was up in Broad Street in Worcester just last week, and found this magnificent little chemist's shop, run by Mr. Lea and a Mr. Perrins, I believe it is.
ML: [has turned around to take a nip of what she thinks was sprits but begins sputtering when she tastes the Worcestershire sauce]
AB: And there they mix up this concoction which I promise you is going to change culinary history as we know it.
   ML: What's in it, then?

GGG: I have no idea. They say it's a menagerie of spices from the subcontinent. Strong stuff, this, so we'll go with just a bite. There. Now give that a stir, reduce this heat to a simmer and clamp on that lid. 1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce

   ML: Oh, what's a lid for?
GGG: Well, of course, to, uh, to hold in moisture and also to evenly distribute the heat.
   ST: [reenters] Mrs. Lovett! Another meat delivery for you, I believe.
   ML: Oh, coming, Mr. Todd.
GGG: My goodness, they do go through the protein around here.

Lea & Perrins continue to make their Worcestershire sauce to this day.

Fleet Street Pie Shop

   ML: Oh, sorry it took me so long. That last batch was a bit tough. Wore out my grinding arm.
GGG: Ah, no, no, no worries. As you can see, our sauce has thickened up. The meat is nice and tender. It's time to make any last moment adjustments. Now thanks to Mr. Smythe's largess ...
   ML:  ... and his generosity.

GGG: Yes, um, we have access now to a half cup of good green English peas, shelled, of course ...
   ML: Of course.
GGG:  ... and half a cup of corn, what the Americans like to call maize. Now that's good. Time for us to add these potatoes. Now it's very important that we have even coverage all across the pan, so we're going to kind of dollop this on. Just go around the edges. Dollop, dollop there, all the way around, dollop. Now all we have to do is smooth that out evenly. We'll use my new invention. I call it the spat-oo-la, hah hah, after the Latin, of course, spatha, which means a broad, flat tool.
½ Cup English Peas +
½ Cup Corn Kernels

   ML: It's all Greek to me.
GGG: Actually, the Greek word ...  Never mind. It is critically important, Mrs. Lovett, that we have a good, firm seal all the way around the outside of the pan. If we don't, and this goes into the oven, the filling will bubble up and make a terrible mess.
   ML: Oh, you're a bit obsessed about the cleanliness, aren't you?
GGG: Actually, I like to call it "sanitation." Off to the oven we go.
ST: [enters]

GGG: [at the oven] Ahh, now I'd say it's, uh, 25 minutes at 400 degrees, feels right, should do the trick.

400 Degrees

   ST: What have we here, Mrs. Lovett?
   ML: Oh, it's a shepherd's pie, Mr. Todd.
   ST: I wasn't aware we had any shepherd.
   ML: Uh, he's such a joker. Oh, hah hah.
GGG & ST: [forced laughter]

[later, all 3 are eating some of the pie]

   ST: Delicious, Mrs. Lovett. You outdid yourself this time.
   ML: Why, thank you, Mr. Todd.
   ST: I have to say, I could go for something sweet, like mincemeat, the way me mum used to make it, with tongues, spleens, hearts and the like.
GGG: The mincemeat that you speak of, Sir, of course, is our link back to medieval humble pie. Although in modern days we don't use the bits and pieces of animal, rather just beef suet.
   ST: Whatever. I must get to my 4 o'clock. He's dying for a trim.
GGG: Mr. Todd, might I borrow one of your razors?
   ST: Take it. I've got plenty.
GGG: Thank you. Mrs. Lovett, go get your grinder.
   ML: Oh, goody. [licks her plate as she gets up from the table]

GGG: [back at the counter] Why, Mrs. Lovett, I think we have everything together now. We have two apples, eight ounces of golden raisins, four ounces of dried figs, two ounces of dried cherries, one ounce of crystallized ginger from Australia, I do believe, a quarter teaspoon each of ground allspice and clove. Oh, and we'll need a half a teaspoon of ground nutmeg. But never fear, I always have this with me [shows a whole nutmeg]. Six ounces of dark brown sugar, and the zest and juice of an orange and a lemon, which I understand we have, courtesy of the Royal Marines? 2 Granny Smith Apples
8 Ounces Golden Raisins
4 Ounces Dried Figs
2 Ounces Dried Cherries
1 Ounce Crystallized Ginger
¼ tsp. Ground Allspice
¼ tsp. Ground Clove
½ tsp. Freshly Grated
6 Ounces Dark Brown Sugar
Zest from One Orange
Zest from One Lemon

   ML: Oh, lovely boys they were.
GGG: Yes. And we will need some alcohol of some type. Perhaps you have some brandy about, or some ...
   ML: [clears her throat asking AB to look away]
GGG: Oh, sorry.
   ML: [produces a container of alcoholic beverage from her underclothing]

GGG: Yes, very well. Now ordinarily, I would just mince all this up fine and make our pie. But since all we have is your "cutlery" and, of course, Mr. Todd's razor, I think we'll roughly chop it and then send it through your ghastly grinder which I feel certain was responsible for London's last plague. Oh, and of course we're going to need two ounces of the fat from around the kidney of a cow, also known, of course, as suet. Cube 2 Ounces Beef Suet & Add to Grinder

   ST: [produces some kidney fat] Like this.
GGG: How did you possibly come up..?
   ST: I was just walking by when the delivery man dropped this.
GGG: But how did he know that we ...
   ML: Tuesday is always suet day.
GGG: This is Wednesday.
   ML: Then I shall file a complaint immediately.
GGG: Mr. Todd, where's your 4:00?
   ST: Oh, hold on, just upstairs, chilling. Cheers. [hands the fat to GGG, and leaves]
GGG: Cheers. Chilling. What a fascinatingly strange thing to say. All right, Mrs. Lovett, let's grind on.

    [AB voiceover] Although my great-great-grandfather's recipe always said to simply roughly chop and run through a grinder, for you modern cooks, I do want to say that if you don't want to grind like this, you can run it through a food processor. Just don't turn it into paste.

   ML: [panting, as she returns with the ground mixture]

GGG: Ahh. Excellent job, Mrs. Lovett. Now all we have to do is add our remaining ingredients. We have, of course, our brown sugar, which will go right in. There we go. Our spices, which we could have added to the grinder, but this is better. The juices of the citrus, and, of course, your brandy, which you were so nice to give. Now, of course, that is going to add a bit of preservative to the party, which means that we can put this in a crock and keep it for up to two months without any refrigeration at all.
ML: [faints as she reaches for the flask of brandy]
Juice From Orange & Lemon
½ Cup Brandy

If your butcher doesn't offer suet, any beef fat will do.

Fleet Street Pie Shop

GUESTS: Pie Shop Customers #1, #2 & #3
              Scotland Yard Officers #1 & #2

    [AB voice over] After reviving Mrs. Lovett, my great-great-grandfather showed her the family dough. It begins, of course, with 12 ounces of flour, then 1.5 ounces of sugar, a teaspoon of salt—there you go2.5 ounces of yellow cornmeal. Once that is stirred together thoroughly, of course, comes eight ounces of cold butter. 12 Ounces All-Purpose Flour
1½ Ounces Sugar
1 tsp. Table Salt
2½ Ounces Stone Ground

8 Ounces Very Cold Butter

GGG: Mrs. Lovett, keeping this butter cold and getting it down into very small pieces before you work it in the dough is critical for a tender crust. So I am going to use one of these. [brings up a box grater]
   ML: What's that?
GGG: Oh, this. This is what's called a box grater. A new-fangled invention. Fascinating. Watch how it saves me time and labor.
GGG: [panting] As you can see, Mrs. Lovett, this device saves me considerable hardship.
   ML: [sarcastically] Oh, considerable.

GGG: All right, that'll be enough of that. Now we will knead in the butter with our fingertips, just until it looks rather crumbly. Then we'll add two ounces of cold apple cider and bring the dough together. Now if it's a bit shabby, we'll add just a little bit more cold liquid—some water will doand form that into a disk. There. Now we'll wrap this up in a little bit of oil paper and let it just sit in a cool place for 20 minutes. 2 Ounces Cold Apple Cider

   ML: Oy, no pounding, no rolling, no cursing?
GGG: Mrs. Lovett, contrary to popular British belief, food, in actuality, does not appreciate violence. Come on.

    [AB voiceover] Twenty minutes later, great-great-grandfather divided the dough, as I have done so many times, into four pieces. Then without even using a rolling pin, just a little bit of flour, he pounded those out into nice thin rounds, dolloped some mincemeat right on the middle, and then folded the edges of the dough over the mincemeat to contain it nicely.
    He then had Mrs. Lovett add just a little bit of egg wash around the edges for browning. And then, of course, very important, a little bit of sugar, mostly just around the dough. Very, very nice.

    They then positioned the pies two by two on parchment-lined sheet pans and baked for half an hour at 400 degrees.

400 Degrees

    [later in the day] That same afternoon, Mrs. Lovett's reopening was a resounding success.

CUSTOMER #1: I say, these pies are jolly good indeed.
CUSTOMER #2: Mmm, absolutely delicious. What kind of meat do you think they have in there?

    [AB voiceover] Unfortunately, the good spirits were darkened by a raid in which members of Scotland Yard entered and briskly removed Mr. Todd from the premises.

   ST: Officers, here for a shave? No! Oh, no. Hey! Let me go! No!

    Apparently they wished to question him ...

   ST: I didn't do nothing'! I didn't do nothing!

... regarding several disappearances which had occurred in the vicinity. In his highly agitated state ...

   ST: Let me go! Not me!

... Mr. Todd made some very alarming statements.

   ST: It's her! Mrs. Lovett, you're the devil incarnate! Mrs. Lovett! Mrs. Lovett! Mrs. Lovett!

    Nonplussed, Mrs. Lovett quietly slipped away, leaving great-great-grandfather to attempt to put the dreadful picture together himself. But before he could make good on his own escape, Mrs. Lovett returned, insisting that the duo depart for America immediately, stopping only long enough to tie the knot.

The Kitchen

    And so my great-great-grandfather and great-great-grandmother came to this country and started their own meat pie business. Now he disappeared under rather mysterious circumstances a few years later. But luckily, all of his recipes and culinary secrets are safe with me. Perhaps we'll venture deeper into these pages on another episode of Good Eats.

Fleet Street Pie Shop
Outtake from Scene 8

ST: [wildly chopping the vegetables]
AB: And you're finished.
ST: [points to his wig which has flipped back]
AB: [looks at it] Sweet.
CREW: [laughter]

Transcribed by Michael Roberts
Proofread by Michael Menninger

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Last Edited on 08/27/2010