Food Surprises… A Pocket Full of Rye

Vinny made this tourtière from pork, not pigeons

Remember that song about a pocketful of rye? The king cuts into his pie, and surprise… a blackbird nips off his nose! This nonsense isn’t as silly as it first seems.

For one thing, birds have turned up for centuries in tourtière, a kind of pie they serve at parties in French Canada. It’s named for the passenger pigeons (tourtes in French) that once went into making it. The pie must have been a real hit—the passenger pigeon is now extinct. Chickens, turkeys, even ducks, find their way into tourtière today. But usually, it’s pork.

Then, there are these little songbirds—captured alive and fed oats and corn (and, according to the song, rye). It’s rumored they’re drowned in brandy, roasted whole,  and eaten… bones, beak, and all! It’s a  food mainly meant for kings, presidents, and celebrity chefs. I would guess if one of these little chirpers ever managed to survive its stay inside a pie, no wonder it’d be mad enough to peck off your nose!

But really. Most parents would never think of serving up such a crazy dish to kids. So actually, it’s pretty safe to taste most of the odd things our folks put on the table for us to eat. Like, say they come home one day with a pocket full of rye and plunk some of it on our plates? Go ahead. I say, don’t be afraid to try it.

Rye has quite a powerful taste. But rye bread is a super hero. Its complex carbs take a long time to break down into sugar in our stomachs. We stay full longer without adding overly to our blood’s sugar load. And that’s a good thing.Why not add rye bread to the list of things you’ve tasted lately? You may just find yourself singing a song of sixpence!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. vinnygrette
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 12:22:55

    Vinny says… See what I mean? You can’t always trust pies. You never know just what might be lurking under the crust. Squirrels? No way! Thumbs up for funny shapes with the pastry, though! How about a teensy little pastry squirrel on top? Keep cooking!


  2. Karen
    Dec 06, 2010 @ 08:22:18

    Pies are a big favourite here in England, so I have currently been experimenting with variations. They’re very simple to make in that you let the cooking do most of the work (while you throw in the goodies) – and with pre-made puff pastry readibly available, it’s easy to throw that on top. I find it fun being creative with the borders and other fun shapes I can make to put on top!

    ps – I hear squirrel is making a resurgence, but it’s not a meat I’ll be attempting to cook any time soon!


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