Suzi and I are finishing off our Southwestern journey. I’ll be looking for game in today’s meal. My tastes for game have grown after reading this British tome on making classic British pies. And, and, trying to get us me to make them. I eat them. I let Suzi make them. Division of labor in a marriage is key. This review comes from 2016. I hope you enjoy it.

Say “pie” to an American and visions of apples spring into their mind. Say “pie” to someone from Great Britain and the images are quite different: lamb, beef, venison, chicken, leeks, and potatoes.

Savory pies are a mainstay of British cuisine. Yes, we Americans will buy that frozen chicken pot pie, and we love them, but we rarely make them ourselves. And beyond chicken? Oh, no, unless you enjoy a shepherd’s pie at your local pub – assuming your city or town is lucky to have one of those.

Even in Britain, people can need pie assistance. And men, not always kitchen familiar, can surely use assistance. Men, of course, do not read cookbooks. Men read and use manuals. Thus we happily have Men’s Pie Manual by Tom Kerridge

The book has eleven primary chapters divided into two sections. Preliminaries cover

  • Tools of the trade
  • How to make pastry
  • How to make the sauces and stocks so essential for a complete, rich dining experience.

Recipes are bundled in chapters for

  • Meat Pies
  • Chicken and Game
  • Fish
  • Potato-Topped Pies and Cobblers
  • Veggie Pies
  • Things That Are Almost Pies [Beef and Pork Wellingtons!]
  • Sweet Pies [finally, the apples appear]

The book is bright in color and text with plenty of pictures. Whole panels of photos walk you through the steps of making each type of pastry: Shortcrust, flaky, hot-water, suet, and cobbler dough.

Why don’t we make pies ourselves? Well, although dough looks delicious, it can be a treacherous kitchen experience to make a dough that is presentable if not edible. Once you have had a dough disaster, you are a little gun shy, or dough shy. Men’s Pie Manual can help you hurdle that fear. You’ll have a very different and most successful experience following the techniques presented here so well and so simply.

What kind of recipes will you discover here? Wondrous things that you really cannot find in American restaurants. Things like:

Pork with Fennel and Cider Pot Pie

Lamb Shank Pie

Venison and Rabbit Pot Pies

Partridge and Pear Pot Pie

Smoked Fish Pie with Cheddar Mash Topping

Crab Pot Pie

Beef and Guinness Cobbler

Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese Pie

Salmon en Croute

Banoffee Pie

About that Banoffee. In 1972 a very clever man, Ian Dowding, combined sweetened condensed milk, bananas and coffee, plus a topping of whipped cream, to create a modern treat that was immediately proclaimed to be a classic. An addictive classic. It’s here in all its sweet glory for you to discover and enjoy for yourself. Perhaps after one of those other more savory delights.

The feel and look of this book are lovely. The page layout — the scale and fonts and organization — so does resemble a hardware or do-it-yourself manual that every guy will instantly recognize. It’s a book clearly designed to be comfortable for men. But, to avoid any hints of sexism here, women can enjoy this book, too.

In fact, I’m going to show the Banoffee Pie to my wife. She is going to say no to me. I am going to remind her my birthday is just around the corner. She will waver. I will press. I’ll blog the recipe for you with the picture of my birthday Banoffee Pie.

I can be very persuasive. This book will persuade you to get busy with making dough and then finding some exciting filling — savory or sweet. Once you start down the pie path, you won’t deviate.