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WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?

katlaughing 15 Dec 01 - 11:30 AM
catspaw49 15 Dec 01 - 12:13 PM
Uncle_DaveO 15 Dec 01 - 12:18 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Dec 01 - 12:20 PM
catspaw49 15 Dec 01 - 12:28 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Dec 01 - 12:29 PM
catspaw49 15 Dec 01 - 12:30 PM
nutty 15 Dec 01 - 12:39 PM
SINSULL 15 Dec 01 - 12:55 PM
little john cameron 15 Dec 01 - 01:02 PM
little john cameron 15 Dec 01 - 01:07 PM
catspaw49 15 Dec 01 - 01:09 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 15 Dec 01 - 01:19 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Dec 01 - 01:28 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 15 Dec 01 - 01:53 PM
GUEST 15 Dec 01 - 02:02 PM
little john cameron 15 Dec 01 - 05:05 PM
Bert 15 Dec 01 - 05:31 PM
Snuffy 15 Dec 01 - 07:16 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 15 Dec 01 - 07:24 PM
katlaughing 15 Dec 01 - 07:31 PM
artbrooks 15 Dec 01 - 07:34 PM
Liz the Squeak 15 Dec 01 - 07:40 PM
GUEST, Pogo 15 Dec 01 - 07:52 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 15 Dec 01 - 07:52 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 15 Dec 01 - 07:54 PM
Jane 2001 15 Dec 01 - 08:11 PM
Mudlark 15 Dec 01 - 09:07 PM
GUEST,Rowana - still cookie-free 15 Dec 01 - 09:49 PM
GUEST,Canuck 15 Dec 01 - 09:58 PM
katlaughing 15 Dec 01 - 11:59 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 16 Dec 01 - 01:42 AM
SeanM 16 Dec 01 - 04:16 AM
Rolfyboy6 16 Dec 01 - 09:33 AM
GUEST,Desdemona 16 Dec 01 - 10:27 AM
GUEST,sledge 16 Dec 01 - 10:57 AM
Mr Red 16 Dec 01 - 03:13 PM
SINSULL 16 Dec 01 - 03:27 PM
Malcolm Douglas 16 Dec 01 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,Desdemona 16 Dec 01 - 03:55 PM
Liz the Squeak 16 Dec 01 - 06:17 PM
catspaw49 16 Dec 01 - 07:28 PM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 17 Dec 01 - 06:35 AM
GUEST,Desdemona 17 Dec 01 - 08:45 AM
katlaughing 17 Dec 01 - 10:06 AM
Liz the Squeak 17 Dec 01 - 06:50 PM
GUEST,Diana 17 Dec 01 - 06:58 PM
Liz the Squeak 17 Dec 01 - 07:02 PM
Jim Dixon 18 Dec 01 - 09:29 AM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Dec 01 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,SharonA on vacation, checkin' in 18 Dec 01 - 02:38 PM
GUEST,Nicole 18 Dec 01 - 05:23 PM
Liz the Squeak 18 Dec 01 - 05:43 PM
Jon W. 19 Dec 01 - 01:34 PM
GUEST,Bo 20 Dec 01 - 06:27 AM
The_one_and_only_Dai 20 Dec 01 - 09:57 AM
Guessed 20 Dec 01 - 10:53 AM
Steve Parkes 21 Dec 01 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,cavourite 21 Aug 09 - 02:19 AM
MGM·Lion 21 Aug 09 - 04:06 AM
GUEST,wow people are dumb 12 May 10 - 02:15 PM
GUEST,Betsy 12 May 10 - 07:46 PM
Jim Dixon 12 May 10 - 07:54 PM
Charley Noble 12 May 10 - 08:30 PM
Jim Dixon 12 May 10 - 10:05 PM
MMario 13 May 10 - 09:58 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 13 May 10 - 01:58 PM
Mo the caller 14 May 10 - 07:24 AM
GUEST,Betsy 14 May 10 - 10:18 AM
Jim Dixon 14 May 10 - 06:05 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 14 May 10 - 08:14 PM
GUEST 14 May 10 - 08:40 PM
GUEST 14 May 10 - 08:47 PM
GUEST,Patricia 30 Nov 16 - 12:34 AM
Murpholly 30 Nov 16 - 03:50 AM
Mr Red 30 Nov 16 - 04:12 AM
Thompson 01 Dec 16 - 02:04 AM
Thompson 01 Dec 16 - 02:16 AM
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Subject: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 11:30 AM

Anyone know the background of this? Is it just nonsensical for a children's rhyme or did people really used to make blackbird pie, and how did they sing after being baked?

Just curious, it's sounds like one of those old ones and something which could be as much fun as the Hokey Pokey and the Druids.


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Subject: RE: BS: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: catspaw49
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 12:13 PM

According to one source I found, there did indeed seem to be Blackbird Pie several hundred years ago in Europe. The birds were quite common and although we think it gross in today's world, they did appear to be a source of meat for the lower classes as was also true of pigeon. The pies were more along the lines of what's called "pot pie" today and were commonly served.

The same reference also said that there was little meat on the birds and that only found in the breast so it took quite a few to make any sort of pie at all, which should be obvious! Twenty-four is just probably a good scan. The meat was mixed with what ever vegetables were available and a coarse flour and milk. I'd think that it was less than tasty, but then again that's by today's standards and I have eaten a lot of Dove and they are small, but have a good flavor.

Maybe the "singing" refernce is something about the flavor coming out when cooked or something. Like it really brought out the flavor and hence "sang." Makes sense I guess.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 12:18 PM

Like most of the nursery rhymes we know, this is a coded political satire. I don't remember the particular story associated with this one, but I remember something about Jack Horner.

My memory is pretty vague, but as I recall the real-life Jack Horner was a political-benefit seeker, and the "plum" in his Christmas pie was a royal grant to some land. Others may know more of this sort of thing.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 12:20 PM

"Blackbird, he don't tell the truth,
Blackbird, redbird, diddle-i-Day
You ask for whiskey and you get vermouth
Blackbird, redbird, penny on your head bird
Wake up in the morning, and it's almost dawn

"Jaybird, Jaybird, don't you tell me now lie
Whoever heard of blackbirds, baked in a pie?

from Blackbird, by Jerry Rasmussen

My father used to get a penny from his mother every time he shot a sparrow or a blackbird in her garden. Bounty hunter, he was. That's where this song came from.. My Father also told of cooking sparrows on a stick over an open fire. Musta taken a lot more than 24 sparrows to fill their stomachs. Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: catspaw49
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 12:28 PM

BTW, my above posting is complete bullshit of course.....Just wanted to get this BS thread off to a real BS start!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 12:29 PM

Gee, and here I was just about to put it in a song... It sounded completely believable to me.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: catspaw49
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 12:30 PM

Hey Jerry, why not? After all, this is folk music!

Spaw


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Subject: Lyr Add: SING A SONG OF SIXPENCE
From: nutty
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 12:39 PM

The version I taught was a childrens finger game although there may have been some hidden political significance.

SING A SONG OF SIXPENCE

Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie
When the pie was opened the birds began to sing
Wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king

The king was in his counting-house counting out his money
The queen was in the parlour eating bread and honey
The maid was in the garden hanging out her clothes
When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose

The maid began to cry so little Jenny Wren
Flew down into the garden and popped it on again

Pecking off the maid's nose was obviously revenge on the royal household for killing all those blackbirds.
But as the maid was not directly involved in the killing she was granted a reprieve by animal/birds who were obviously much more forgiving than humankind.

Well ..... it's as good a theory as any 8-)


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Subject: RE: BS: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: SINSULL
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 12:55 PM

From "The Straight Dope":
SDSTAFF Dex replies:

It's difficult to know exactly where or how folksongs and folktales got started or exactly what they mean. "Sing a Song of Sixpence" is no exception. It appears as the third rhyme in Volume II of Tom Thumb's Pretty Song Book, published around 1744. No copy of Volume I is known to exist. There is only one known copy of Volume II, which is kept in the British Museum and is generally agreed to be the earliest existing book of nursery rhymes.

The rhyme appears in almost the same version that we have today, as follows:

Sing a Song of Sixpence,
A bag full of Rye,
Four and twenty
Naughty boys,
Bak'd in a Pye.

When the pie was opened,
The birds began to sing;
Was not that a dainty dish,
To set before the king?

The king was in his counting-house,
Counting out his money;
The queen was in the parlor,
Eating bread and honey.

The maid was in the garden,
Hanging out the clothes,
There came a little blackbird,
And snapped off her nose.

You will note a few changes since then, but not many.

The rhyme is almost certainly older than 1744, but no earlier publication has been found (at least, not as of 1970). There are earlier indirect references. Shakespeare, in Twelfth Night: "Come on, there is sixpence for you; let's have a song." And a 1614 work by Beaumont and Fletcher includes the line, "Whoa, here's a stir now! Sing a song of sixpence!"

According to the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, an Italian cookbook from 1549 (translated into English in 1598) actually contains a recipe "to make pies so that birds may be alive in them and flie out when it is cut up." The ODNR also cites a 1723 cook who describes this as an earlier practice, the idea being that the birds cause "a diverting Hurley-Burley amongst the Guests."

It was not uncommon in the 16th century for a chef to hide surprises in the dinner pie; this is also reflected in the nursery rhyme "Little Jack Horner" (of which more later). So the most obvious explanation of "Sing a Song of Sixpence" is that it reflected an actual practice--baking a pie full of live birds that popped out when the pie was opened.

Other theories include:

The 24 blackbirds reflect 24 hours in a day; the king is the sun, the queen is the moon. King Henry VIII is the king, Catherine of Aragon is the queen, and Anne Boleyn is the maid. The blackbirds are--get ready for this--manorial deeds baked in a pie. During the period when Henry VIII was taking over the property of the Catholic Church, the abbot of Glastonbury is said to have sent his steward to London with a Christmas gift intended to appease the king--a pie in which were hidden the deeds to twelve manorial estates. The steward, Thomas Horner, is alleged to have opened the pie and extracted one deed, that of the manor of Mells, where his descendents still live. This may be the origin of the aforementioned Little Jack Horner nursery rhyme. The song commemorates the publication of the first English bible, with the blackbirds being the letters of the alphabet set in pica type ("baked in a pie"). Personally My own uneducated opinion is that this interpretation is dubious, since the 24-letter alphabet only existed between the 10th and 11th Centuries. (W appeared in the 11th Century to condense UU, and J in the 15th Century as an initial form of I.) A few other explanatory notes, some courtesy of William S. and Ceil Baring-Gould, authors of The Annotated Mother Goose:

The "bag" in the 1744 version later became a pocket full, and it's presumed that a "pocket full" was once a specific measurement, like a cupful. Rye is, of course, a grain that was (and is) commonly used in bread making, or piecrust making, as the case may be.

The number four and twenty is among the most common in Mother Goose rhymes. It is twice twelve, or a double dozen. The number 12 brims over with tradition and associations. We have already described why the birds might be baked in a pie. The "counting house" was the place used to conduct business, and is referenced many times in Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor. That pretty much explains the obscurer references; the rest of the rhyme is sort of self-explanatory. I shan't bother with explaining that "hanging up the clothes" was the way to let them dry after washing in the pre-Kenmore era.

By the way, some later versions of the rhyme include happier endings for the maid, such as:

They sent for the king's doctor,
Who sewed it on again,
He sewed it on so neatly,
The seam was never seen.

--SDSTAFF Dex Straight Dope Science Advisory Board

PLEASE NOTE: Snopes is a very reliable and wonderful source for debunking urban legends. However, the section of Snopes called "lost legends" starts with the warning that those "legends" require suspension of disbelief, and not letting "the truth get in the way of a good story." In short, those stories are false, they are made up, they are jokes. This includes the "piracy" origin of "Sing a Song of Sixpence" -- it is totally bogus, although quite amusing.


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Subject: RE: BS: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: little john cameron
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 01:02 PM

Ok ah'll bite,here's whit ah came up wi' oan the net.

The 24 blackbirds reflect 24 hours in a day; the king is the sun, the queen is the moon.
King Henry VIII is the king, Catherine of Aragon is the queen, and Anne Boleyn is the maid.
The blackbirds are--get ready for this--manorial deeds baked in a pie.
During the period when Henry VIII was taking over the property of the Catholic Church, the abbot of Glastonbury is said to have sent his steward to London with a Christmas gift intended to appease the king--a pie in which were hidden the deeds to twelve manorial estates.
The steward, Thomas Horner, is alleged to have opened the pie and extracted one deed, that of the manor of Mells, where his descendents still live. This may be the origin of the aforementioned Little Jack Horner nursery rhyme.

The song commemorates the publication of the first English bible, with the blackbirds being the letters of the alphabet set in pica type ("baked in a pie").
Personally My own uneducated opinion is that this interpretation is dubious, since the 24-letter alphabet only existed between the 10th and 11th Centuries. (W appeared in the 11th Century to condense UU, and J in the 15th Century as an initial form of I.)

Best ah could dae oan the spur o' the moment ljc


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Subject: RE: BS: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: little john cameron
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 01:07 PM

Sinsull,ye wee devil ye beat me tae it.Jist delete mine Joe as his has it aw',mine wis edited a wee bitty. ljc
Aw, John, I think I'll leave it as "evidence...."
You wouldn't want people to think you were perfect, would you?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: catspaw49
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 01:09 PM

Yeah, I love Snopes...Great site......But honestly, doesn't that sound like the same kind of invented for the occasion bullshit?

We ran a thread awhile back about what I don't recall and it debunked the common belief held and we were all amazed and excited. Then someone else came along and debunked the debunker. It's the problem in all historical research. When I try to separate the chaff from the grain, I sometimes tend to believe that it's all chaff.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 01:19 PM

When I was in school many years ago, an ex-Dane (taught manual training in the schools) placed a recipe for english sparrows in a pie in the local paper, based on european recipes. At the time there were too many of them around. Look in very old cookbooks and there are recipes for larks and other small birds (the French still set up nets to catch them in rural areas).
This may have nothing to do with the "nursery" rhyme, but Catspaw's BS was correct about blackbird pies.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 01:28 PM

My grandparents were Danish and come over from the "Old" Country. Feeling old over there yet, Mateys? I seem to remember that they sell sparrows in meat markets in Italy. All is unfounded, of course..

Jerry


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 01:53 PM

From Larousse Gastronomique: "In French cookery, the term oiseaux covers various small birds of the sparrow type...."
"Larks a la piemontaise.
Stuff eack lark with a piece of a gratin forcemeat about the size of a small nut. Cook them quickly in butter. Serve them in a deep, round earthenware dish on a bed of polenta made with cheese. Press the birds down into the polenta. Pour on melted butter. Bake in the oven for five minutes. Sprinkle with a few tablespoons of game stock flavored with Marsala."
This dish would look like a pie. All it would need is a cover of pastry.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 02:02 PM

Its a nursery rhyme, so I guess it was just 'strung together'..... doesnt really need to hang together logically, does it, as its for children.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: little john cameron
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 05:05 PM

dicho,whit is "manual training".The mind boggles!!! ljc


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Bert
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 05:31 PM

A pocket (or poke) was, and still is in some areas, a sack. Our local pub in Paddock Wood, Kent was called "The Hop Pocket" The sign being a hop sack.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Snuffy
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 07:16 PM

A pocket is a very large sack of hops, about 5-6 feet tall. I suppose the same measure could have been used for grain in the past.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 07:24 PM

Ah, Manual training! My grandchildren would be just as uncomprehending as you, Little John. The boys were sent to the "shop" for a couple of hours each week where they cut wood, chiseled wood, nailed wood and glued wood and wasted wood making what, by a stretch of the imagination might be called a stool, or a bench or? This was called "Manual Training." The same Dane I mentioned was a serious stamp collector, and those of us similarily interested spent most of the time in his office cubicle looking at stamps.
The girls went to "Home Economics" where they made aprons, baked and boiled foodstuffs into unidentifiable edibles(?) and otherwise occupied themselves with the "homely arts" of the needle and stove.
This was back in the 1930s for me. I think these school courses finally disappeared sometime after the 1940s.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 07:31 PM

Oh, no they didn't Dicho, they were still very much a part of the curriculum of the 60's and early 70's in Colorado! Made me mad, too, 'cause I wanted to take "shop." **BG**


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: artbrooks
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 07:34 PM

In the states, it was around until the '60s, at least, except ours was called "manual arts". I remember how "enlightened" my school was considered, since Junior year (the second to final year for you UKers, age 16 or so) the girls all got wood and auto shop and the boys got typing, cooking and sewing in their manual arts classes for half the year. Ah, how times have changed. {For the better, for the better...don't hit!}


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 07:40 PM

At almost every mediaeval banquet there would have been an 'illusion' or centrepiece. This was quite often a confectionary boat, marchepain (marzipain) models of animals or birds, "entrails" - a string of dried & fresh fruits covered in batter and baked, anything edible that was made to look like something else.... (like those terribly annoying books that are really a tin of biscuits) to create interest and amusement. The pie was probably baked blind (pie crust baked with a filling that was a bag of washed pebbles, anything to give the impression it was a whole pie, and to stop the pastry from rising too much. The birds were probably inserted into the dish, the hardened crust placed over them and then it was served. The birds would not be harmed other than a little overcrowding in a dark place, but would still be alive when the pie crust was cut or broken.

LTS


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST, Pogo
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 07:52 PM

Oh pick a pock of peach pits, pockets full of pie
Foreign twenty black boards baked until they cry
Winnipeg was open the burst again to sing
Oh worsen that a Danish ditch was two-by-four the king

The king was in a pallor, counterfeiting moneys
The queen was in a tizzy reading all the funnies
The maid was in the garden hanging by her toes
Along came a north wind and that's the way she froze

-Walt Kelly


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 07:52 PM

I guess I cut the date off. I just remembered my daughter was in Home Ec. I remember because she was assigned sphagetti sauce. She took our (I think) very good recipe for a thick sauce. The school was to supply the ingredients. The teacher would not OK tomatoes or tomato paste but said tomato juice was good enough. This was here in Canada after we moved here.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 07:54 PM

Anything like this taught on the other side of the water? Any recipes for songbird pies?


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Jane 2001
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 08:11 PM

According to the guide at Gainsborough Old Hall, the Tudors were into various disgusting tricks with food. Apart from sticking live birds into pre-baked pies they used to stick the feathers back onto roast swans. Of course this doesn't stop the song being political satire as well.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Mudlark
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 09:07 PM

My French Aunt claims that Southern France is practically wild birdless, due to hearty country appitites for larks and linnets and everything....


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST,Rowana - still cookie-free
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 09:49 PM

Liz is right. Bird were put into a pre-baked pie crust. My medieval cookery book is full of spectacle recipes to amaze diners. How about a cockentrice? It's the front of a cooked chicken sewn to the hindpart of a cooked suckling pig, then endored with gold (saffron mixed with egg yolks and flour). I'd be amazed if this was served to me. Wouldn't you?


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST,Canuck
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 09:58 PM

Spaw: it _IS_ all chaff

Caitilin, twenty-some years ago, singing in the back seat:
twenty foreign blackbirds


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: katlaughing
Date: 15 Dec 01 - 11:59 PM

This great! Thanks everyone!

Dicho, sorry, it was called Home Ec(onomics), here, too. But, the guys still were the only ones who got Shop!*bg*


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Dec 01 - 01:42 AM

Shop came with High School. Boys in the university prep. program couldn't take it. Neither boys nor girls in univ. prep. got to take typing (too few machines). As a result I am four-fingered. It was sadly regretted by me when I got into higher college courses because I had to pay a typist to do longer papers.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: SeanM
Date: 16 Dec 01 - 04:16 AM

I'm with LTS and Rowena on this one.

Somewhere in storage I've a Renaissance period cookbook with the recipe for "Blackbird Pie". It's exactly as Liz thought - baked with dried beans or another non-volatile weight inside, then filled chock full o'pissed off birds before serving. The methods seem to vary - the "bake the shell separate" makes MUCH more sense to me than the cookbook's "cut an opening, insert birds, replace opening" method. Then again, I'd imagine said birds would have their own opinions on the entire matter.

As to the rest of the 'disguised' foods...

At the renfaire I work at, they used to (many moons ago in better financial times) host a "period foods" cooking contest. The one that will always stick in my mind was the Golden Apples of Meat. Basically, meat ground and formed into an apple shape, coated with a pastry shell to further fill it into the correct shape, then painted with something before baking to give it the correct color for a pale green apple. They looked FANTASTIC. Honestly, even from close range, they looked VERY real.

Them wacky English...

*G*

M


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Rolfyboy6
Date: 16 Dec 01 - 09:33 AM

Weren't the Franciscan order monasteries important in England at the time of Henry VIII's expropriation of church properties? And weren't Franciscan monks known as 'blackbirds?'


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 16 Dec 01 - 10:27 AM

In the Middle Ages, "grete Pyes" were very common on the dinner table. Existing recipes from the 14th century (notably those of the Goodman of Paris, an elderly bridegroom who wrote what was essentially a "how to" guide for his young wife, loaded with excellent late mediaeval household tips!)call for "coneyes"--rabbits or hares, beef, salt fish, suet, and "smale berdes" of various types, amongst other ingredients like currants, raisins, onions, etc. so birds like sparrows and blackbirds would certainly have been finding their way into pies.

Between courses the cooks would often parade a sort of edible sculpture called a "subletie", often made of marzipan or spun sugar, in the shape of a mythical beast, a castle, a church, or allegorical figures such as Death (really, it's recorded that at the funeral of Blanche, duchess of Lancaster in the 14th century, there was a spun sugar figure of the grim reaper paraded around the room for the edification anf amusement of the assembled mourners). Sometimes a false second crust in an elaborate, fanciful shape could be placed upon a great pie and then removed---possibly in a situation like this, live uncooked birds might have been released?

Food as entertainment---I love the middle ages!


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST,sledge
Date: 16 Dec 01 - 10:57 AM

Its probably an early example of the interferance of the European Union in daily life, before they waded in you could have as many blackbirds, or any other bird, as you liked in your pie. Then one day an early eurocrat squinting over his Velum and inkpot decided that four and twenty was a nice round number and hence the regulation blackbird euro-pie was born. Early enforcemnt of this regulation was doubtlessly left to the Spanish inquisition as they scared the crap out of most people anyway, except in France where they said good idea lets do it, then promptly did their own thing anyway, just like today.

Sledge

:)


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Mr Red
Date: 16 Dec 01 - 03:13 PM

Rolfyboy6
I think you got it smack on target.
I knew the Jack Horner explanation but never realised it was the same politco-satirical reference in "blackbirds".
aren't quails' eggs a delicay, and the quails come to that.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: SINSULL
Date: 16 Dec 01 - 03:27 PM

I have this disgusting vision of 24 angry birds crapping all over the table and guests and half pig/half chicken thing. Enough to make me a vegetarian.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 16 Dec 01 - 03:27 PM

Iona and Peter Opie (Oxford Book of Nursery Rhymes, 1951) list all the principal "allegorical" explanations, commenting:

"Other stories, giving the rhyme allegorical significance, are not so easy to disprove.  Theories upon which too much ink has been expended are [list, including all those mentioned in this thread].  If any particular explanation is required of the rhyme the straightforward one that it is a description of a familiar entertainment is the most probable."

They generally knew what they were talking about.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 16 Dec 01 - 03:55 PM

Yes, exactly---I also couldn't helpicturing the er, physical reaction of 2 dozen blackbirds when they were finally "sprung" from their pastry prison---not pretty!

And the half pig/half chicken thing is called a cockatrice! More humourous food---those wacky, fun-loving mediaevals!


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 16 Dec 01 - 06:17 PM

Well they didn't have the Discovery Channel did they.....?

Our favourite was the entrails. We would just pull them out of a basket and dump them on the table, like so much offal..... got lots of shrieks that did!

I did once gild a rabbit shaped pate..... that was fun...

LTS


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: catspaw49
Date: 16 Dec 01 - 07:28 PM

No big deal Liz.....I was at a party once where they had a castle shaped pate......Which turned out to be not liver, but made from ground White castle burgers instead. I don't know what the equivalent over there might be.......maybe something made from a fish and chips shack that was particularly distinctive in it's taste and very well known......and made much fun of.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 06:35 AM

Why 24? WEll 25 would be just silly!
RtS ( five days left...)


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 08:45 AM

And 26 would be right out!

I'm thinking of the various sculptural uses that could be made of less-than-yummy foodstuffs to make them at least visually welcome at the table. For instance, what creative statements might be made using mushy peas, marshmallow fluff, or my own childhood culinary nemesis, brussels sprouts? Any suggestions?


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 10:06 AM

Stick the brussels sprouts in the marshmallow fluff, with a few peas strewn on the "ground" (chocolate cake underneath) and you've got Sherwood Forest, surely? LOL


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 06:50 PM

Made a Spam jelly once - mashed it up, stuffed it into a jelly mould and decorated it with beetroot coloured mashed potatoes..... ah, fun with food.

LTS


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST,Diana
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 06:58 PM

Ah, yes---and if I placed little flowers made of poppies at random intervals I'd have a "Flanders Field of Brussels Sprouts"...think how impressed, amazed, and probably STRUCK DUMB my family & friends will be at Christmas dinner!


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 17 Dec 01 - 07:02 PM

Morticia's eldest once decorated the tree with sprouts, an endearing little tale that we've never let the darling little Goth forget.....!

LTS


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 09:29 AM

Somewhere I once read that the diet of the modern western world is unusual in that we get most of our calcium from dairy products. In third-world countries today, and in our own countries formerly, people get/got most of their calcium by eating the bones of fish and small animals; that is, animals small enough that their bones, when cooked, could be easily chewed and swallowed along with the meat. I suppose blackbirds would be in that category.

The only instance that I can think of where this is done today is with very small fish, such as smelt or "sardines." Their bones are so small you hardly notice you're eating them.

I suppose the reason such things have disappeared from our diet is that cleaning them is so laborious, in proportion to the amount of meat. While I can imagine eating a blackbird bones and all, I suppose they did remove the feathers. Or did they?

From the above discussion, I infer that two kinds of blackbird pie existed: The pie from which live blackbirds flew out for the amusement of guests, and the more common kind, where blackbirds were actually cooked and eaten.

I like the idea of an entertaining faux-food centerpiece, and I hope the custom will be revived. The nearest equivalent today is probably the ice sculptures that chefs sometimes make, and the gingerbread houses that sometimes appear at Christmas time.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 12:00 PM

"Weren't the Franciscan order monasteries important in England at the time of Henry VIII's expropriation of church properties? And weren't Franciscan monks known as 'blackbirds?'"

Wrong religious order. Benedictine monks with black habits would have been called Blackbirds. Franciscans wear brown, and they aren't monks, they are friars. Both were important in England in pre-reformation days.

I doubt if that's got much to do with the origin of the song though.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST,SharonA on vacation, checkin' in
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 02:38 PM

Jim Dixon, you would've appreciated the faux food at a recent party at the office where I work: one guy brought in a litter-box cake (in a rectangular pan, complete with scoop for serving). It was a crumbly cake with melted Tootsie Rolls for "turds". The cake was a great hit! I'm trying to get the recipe from him but he's left the company; if anyone wants it, PM me and I'll pass it on when I have it.

SharonA


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST,Nicole
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 05:23 PM

In regards to the comments about live birds flying out, I recall reading in one medieval chronicle describing a dinner in which "doves" (probably pigeons) were released from inside a dinner item, and all the "falcons" (probably also hawks and other hunting birds) nesting in the rafters swooped down and killed the doves -- for entertainment.

Ewwww. What a godawful mess.

I'm not sure if it's true: as valuable as hunting birds were, I have my doubts that they would be allowed to nest freely in the rafters.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 18 Dec 01 - 05:43 PM

Franciscans also wear grey - hence the Greyfriars as in Greyfriars' Bobby, and locations around the City of London.

Litter box cake... sounds yummy! I once served a blue jelly in a goldfish bowl, complete with jelly fish shapes and a duck.

LTS


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Jon W.
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 01:34 PM

Anyone remember the "Snake Surprise" from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? But that was just fiction, wasn't it? Wasn't it?

As for falcons nesting in the rafters, why not? Where else would you keep them?


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST,Bo
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 06:27 AM

Re: Blackbirds

I think modern people find the idea of songbird pie far more novel than our medieval and rennaisance ancenstors. Remember that in a hunting culture 'game' of all kinds was the highest food, mostly the right of the nobility esp. the King.

Today event those that like the occaisional goose are seen as rebels, much less swan :).
Somewhere I read an account of Henry VIII having a huge selection of birds, pheasants, sonbirds, geese swans etc.. As I recall variety was much more in evidence than freshness and the whole thing sounded rather gross.

I can reccomend a movie called Vatel, for anyone who would like to see a rennaisance steward in action.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: The_one_and_only_Dai
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 09:57 AM

My copy of Mrs. Beeton's Household Management (1908 edition) has a recipe for Rook and Bacon pie in it. Yumm. She says rooks have a good flavour but are prone to drying out, hence are not suitable for roasting... so I guess very much like pigeon. Anyway, I'll give it a try and let you know.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Guessed
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 10:53 AM

so what order of monks/friars/brothers/**tick as app** populated Glastonbury Abbey?
AND why can't we have an innocent meaning to a song with hidden cues?
The song was one of the few media available for comment. Riddles, plays (involves a lot of people & effort), books (bit expensive then), songs and tunes, and maybe dance but the only political dancing I heard of was Irish crossroad dancing and that was a gesture of defiance not satire.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 21 Dec 01 - 09:39 AM

I can see how you could tae a firm hold on a blackbird with one hand (hold the wings folded so it can't move about, and avoid the beak), lift the piecrust with the other hand, and pop the bird in the pie, whipping your hand out and closing the top in one swift movement. If you were quick, you could get another one or two in in the same manner, but how could you insert, say, number 17 without numbers 3, 8 and 11 escaping? Could a dozen synchronised sous-chefs simultaneously slip them in, while the boss pops on the top? (Sorry about the aliteration!)

Steve


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST,cavourite
Date: 21 Aug 09 - 02:19 AM

Not sure about the Walt Kelly/Pogo reference, but a variation of that came in Mad Magazine in the early 60's. Also not sure about the exactness of the first verse, but the second verse I'm certain is accurate:

Sing a song of nonsense, pocket full of pie
4 and 20 blackbirds, backed until they cry
When the stove was opened, the birds began to swing
Wasn't that a swingin' dish to set before the king?

The King was in his counting house, counterfeiting money
The Queen was in the parlor, looking at the funnies
The maid was in the garden, hanging by her toes
Along came the North Wind, and that's the way she froze.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 Aug 09 - 04:06 AM

Nice to see such ancient threads revivified! As to why 4 & 20, the answer may be implied in a common medieval/renaissance riddle form which crops up when Lear's Fool is trying, unsuccessfully becoz he knows it, to cheer up the poor old King [King Lear I v] -

"Fool: ... The reason why the seven stars are no moe than seven is a pretty reason.
Lear: Because they are not eight.
Fool: Yes indeed. Thou wouldst make a good Fool."

[7 also a mystic much-quoted-in-folklore #, like 24; & thus, similarly, liable to be arbitrarily cited]


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST,wow people are dumb
Date: 12 May 10 - 02:15 PM

Pie Birds or Pie Funnels as they are called in England are "steam vents" that have been placed in the center of fruit and meat pies (while cooking) since Victorian Times.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST,Betsy
Date: 12 May 10 - 07:46 PM

Hiya Katlaughing ,apart from the birds issue , it must be remembered that we English / British ? used to count in a similar manner . The Germans and Dutch still do !!!! fier und zwantig ,and vier en twintig respectively. There might be a spelling mistake in there - but the priciple remains.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 May 10 - 07:54 PM

From an article "Culinary Curiosities" in The Literary Chronicle and Weekly Review (London: No. 123, Saturday, Sept. 22, 1821), page 596:

Another favourite dish at the tables of our forefathers was a pye of stupendous magnitude, out of which, on its being opened, a flock of living birds flew forth, to the no small surprise and amusement of the guests.

Four-and-twenty blackbirds bak'd in a pye;
When the pye was open'd the birds began to sing—
Oh! what a dainty dish—'tis fit for any king.

This was a common joke at an old English feast. These animated pies were often introduced 'to set on,' as Hamlet says, 'a quantity of barren spectators to laugh,'—there is an instance of a dwarf undergoing such an incrustation.—About the year 1630, King Charles and his Queen were entertained by the Duke and Duchess of Buckingham, at Burleigh on the Hill, on which occasion, Jeffrey Hudson, the Dwarf, was served up in a cold pye.—See Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, vol. ii, p. 14.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 May 10 - 08:30 PM

A couple of thoughts come to mind, stirred up by this old thread:

The Queen was in the parlor
Eating bread and honey;
The King was in the chamber maid
And she was in the money!

And then there's my mother's award-winning recipe for Black Bird Pie:

One of Dahlov Ipcar's famous recipes was published in The Sensuous Carrot, edited by Clarissa Watson back in 1972, p. 143. The recipes were solicited from well known artists and there were some interesting contributions. Mother's was certainly a unique contribution - Blackbird Pie.

Suggested Menu

Dinner for six:

Blackbird Pie

Four and twenty black birds dressed
One dozen oysters
One half teaspoon nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste, rye bread crumbs by the pocket full
Four tablespoons of cream or chicken stock
Two tablespoons butter creamed with two tablespoons flour

Brown the birds in butter. Line large deep pie pan with pastry. Arrange birds and oysters, add cream or chicken stock, sprinkle with nutmeg, rye crumbs, etc. Dot with butter and flour mixture. Cover with crust and bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees or until crust is lightly browned. Crust may be decorated with pastry leaves and brushed with beaten egg yolk before baking.

She suggested serving mugs of nut-brown ale all around as the beverage of choice.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 May 10 - 10:05 PM

From The Poetical Decameron, Or, Ten Conversations on English Poets and Poetry, Vol. 2, by John Payne Collier (Edinburgh: Archibald Constable and Co., 1820), page 71:

MORTON. First letting us a little more into the secret about that book you call Epulario.

BOURNE. Here it is, at your service, and you will find it nothing more than an old cookery book, affording a little amusement on account of the strangeness of some of the dishes: for instance the following, "To make Pies so that the Birds may be aliue in them and flie out when it is cut vp."

ELLIOT. That is certainly of the utmost value, being, no doubt, the origin of that famous old ballad, the delight alike of babies and bibliographers;

"Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie;
When the pie was open'd the birds began to sing,
Was not that a dainty dish to set before the king?"

Read it by all means.

BOURNE. I will, a part of it; not to gratify your love of ridicule, but because it affords a happy note of illustration to Shakespeare's expression, "a custard coffin," in his "Taming of the Shrew." "Make (says the translator of Epulario, for it is from the Italian), the coffin of a great Pie or pasty, in the bottome whereof make a hole as big as your fist, or bigger if you will; let the sides of the coffin be somewhat higher then ordinary Pies, which done put it full of flower and bake it, and being baked open the hole in the bottome and take out the flower."

MORTON. And put the living birds in its place, that, I take it, is the great secret.

BOURNE. You have guessed it exactly, and we need read no more of it.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: MMario
Date: 13 May 10 - 09:58 AM

Not sure what species of "blackbird" would have been used for the pie; but grackles are tasty. My grandfather used to drop bags of them off; Mom would skin them and bake them. Usually served 2 or 3 per person.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 13 May 10 - 01:58 PM

ODNR - 1951, #486, p. 395 Opie relates
Parody: In A King's Story: The Memoirs of the Duke of Windsor
Duke of Windsor H.R.H. Edward, G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1951

HRH tells that the information he brought back from his American tour in 1919 which most
pleased Bearge V was the doggerel picked up in a Canadian border town,
'Four and twenty Yankees, feeling very dry, Went across the border to get a drink of Rye.
When the Rye was opened the Yanks began to siing "God bless America, but God save the King!"

Also ODNR -
Aunt Louisa's Sing a Song of Sicpence, 1866, further verse,
They sent for the King's doctor, who sewed it on again,
He sewed it on so neatly, the seam was never seen;
and the jackdaw for his naughtiness deservedly was slain."

Also ODNR
"If any particular explanation is required of the rhyme
the straightforward one that it is a description of a familiar entertainment
is the most probable. In an Italian cookery book
Epulario, quale tratta del modo de cucinare ogni carne....(1549)
there is a recipe 'to make pies so that the birds
may be alive in them and flie out when it is cut up'. This dish
I further referred to (1723) by John Nott, cook to the
Duke of Bolton, as a practice of former days, the purpose of the birds
being to put out the candlesand so cause a 'diverting Hurley-Burley
amongst the Guests in the Dark'.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 14 May 10 - 07:24 AM

I think the pie funnels are called pie birds because of the rhyme and not v.v.
Does anyone still use them?
I thought they were for holding up the middle of the crust if the filling shrank on cooking, to give the pie a rounded top.
In our family we used inverted an eggcup. As well as the standard white pottery funnels they used to sell colourful ones that looked like blackbirds with yellow beaks.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST,Betsy
Date: 14 May 10 - 10:18 AM

Mo you're mostly correct - but the funnel was to let out steam from the meat or contents - most pies that don't need a funnel have scored pastry so the steam can escape


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 14 May 10 - 06:05 PM

What does the Ohio Department of Natural Resources have to do with anything?


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 14 May 10 - 08:14 PM

A much more credible version goes after this fashion:-

Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket full of Rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie,
When the pie was opened a shrivelled blackbird spat,
"Come on lads, a joke's a joke, what rotten sod did that?"

From the collected nursery rhymes of one Richard Digance, Troubadour.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 May 10 - 08:40 PM

In this episode of Heston's Feasts, Heston Blumenthal creates his own cockentrice...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MhqvgABY28


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 May 10 - 08:47 PM

Heston's done the pie! Only just found this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UD3SUbN7Vhw


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: GUEST,Patricia
Date: 30 Nov 16 - 12:34 AM

Has anyone considered the thought that ravens (black birds) were the carry pigeons of early time. Could they have carried urgent messages to a castle that maybe the attacking forces shot down with arrows to stop news getting through and they maybe cooked them in a pie?

I do believe that all nursery rhymes did have a local topical meaning or underground message when they were first created. A sort of 'free press'.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Murpholly
Date: 30 Nov 16 - 03:50 AM

I was always given to understand that this was related to France and that the King was burning 24 protestants (France being Catholic), the singing being the screams as they burned. The King was counting out the money received from land and monies forfeited whilst oher protestants were fleeing abroad.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Mr Red
Date: 30 Nov 16 - 04:12 AM

ever wondered what a pig in a poke was?
as was said earlier, a poke is a pocket. A pig in a poke was a cat in a sack, sometimes sold (sight unseen) because it was squeeling a bit like a piglet. in modern parlance a con. So that is a poke - a well accepted explanation.

The rhyme is well accepted by scholars to be a political satire. The references to Henry VIII might well have survived since religious adherence, particularly Catholicism, was so strong, and there would be so much enmity towards him. A bit like a Catholic colleague I remember who was so adamant that he wouldn't celebrate Bonfire night on religious grounds.
Just like the Trumpifiers today, people mixed with their kind and it perpetuates the common (local for that coterie) viewpoint. Trump love/revulsion may last for 400 years too.
The fallout on global warming will!!!!!!



Hotly debated? I'll get my coat......


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Thompson
Date: 01 Dec 16 - 02:04 AM

"Blackbirds" are a very specific bird in UK English, Turdus merula; in Irish londubh (sometimes ceirseach for the female).

There's a Wiki about this rhyme.

As for the four-and-twenty, how numbers are expressed varies from time to time and place to place; in Irish forty is expressed as dá scór (two score) in certain contexts; in French eighty is quatre vignt (four twenties).


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Thompson
Date: 01 Dec 16 - 02:16 AM

Incidentally, putting live birds into a pie so they can fly out when it's opened, and subsequently eating whatever is in the pie is a genius way of getting salmonella. Probably accounts for many cases of multiple sudden deaths after dinners.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Mr Red
Date: 01 Dec 16 - 04:22 AM

I don't think they would eat the pie, unless it was given to the oiks.

But birds flying around the dinner table can't be hygienic.


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 01 Dec 16 - 05:37 AM

RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?............. because they were unable to find another to make it 25....... I'll get my coat!!


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Subject: RE: WHY 4 & 20 Blackbirds baked in a pie?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Dec 16 - 09:31 PM

Bonfire Night was quite often a pretty sectarian business until a few decades ago, most especially so in Lewes in Sussex, with effigies of the Pope being burned, and plenty of anti-catholic songs. But things have moved on - last year David Cameron and Vladimir Putin went up in flames, and this year it was Donald Trump's turn.


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