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When you ask a British ex-pat living in the US what they miss about their homeland, they’re sure to say ‘proper fish & chips’ accompanied by a long sigh. You might be confused by what we mean by ‘proper’, and since we at Pie Society started serving them in our store in Pooler, GA, we thought we could shed some light on what makes our’s the real deal!

Classic British Fish & Chips are characterized by one huge piece of fried cod (or haddock), with flavorful and crunchy batter on the outside and flaky delicate fish on the inside. On the side you must have ‘chips’ (no not potato chips!), which are like chunky steak fries but much softer and with distinctive flavor. Don’t forget the mushy peas- a well-loved British classic that is sure to confuse most non-British people but is best described as the consistency of refried beans but made with marrowfat peas & flavored with mint. Fish & Chips in the US is a dish which usually has 3-4 goujon style pieces of fish and thin and crispy french fries served with tartar sauce- not traditional but still delicious in it’s own right!

Classic Fish & Chips served at Pie Society in Pooler! North Atlantic cod in our scratch-made chip shop style batter, proper chips & house mushy peas, served with a pint of Boddingtons.

So why are we arguably overly obsessed with this delicious meal? Because it’s cheap, delicious and steeped in history! Dating back to the 19th century, fried fish was first introduced to the UK by Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain, and in 1860, the first fish and chip shop was opened in London by Joseph Malin who sold “fish fried in the Jewish fashion”[1].

Fish & Chips were a cheap and easy way to feed the masses a delicious meal, and in WWII it was one of the few food items that were not rationed. In fact some have gone far enough to say that they helped win the war! As Professor Walton informs us “Unlike the German regime that failed to keep its people well fed and that was one reason why Germany was defeated.”, “Historians can sometimes be a bit snooty about these things but fish and chips played a big part in bringing contentment and staving off disaffection.”[2]. There you go America, you think you saved our backsides but really it was the Fish & Chips!

It is with fond memories that we remember ourselves as kids, paying 90p for a ‘cone of chips’ when walking home from school on a typical dreary English afternoon. And eating Fish & Chips by the seaside whilst on holiday in Skegness, pretending to enjoy the beach with freezing fingers and a very useless wooden chip fork.

Today, there are approximately 11000 Fish & Chips shop in the UK.[3] And with options few and far between this side of the pond, we thought it was time to make sure there was one in Georgia too! It’s pretty typical in the UK to see pies in a Fish & Chip Shop, so it made sense to expand our menu after many requests from local British expats. As bakers who have absolutely zero experience with cooking Fish & Chips, we needed some inside information on how to get this right. With the help from our cousin Jonny in the UK, who had trained at the National Federation of Fish Friers in Yorkshire, we recreated our very own Fish & Chips menu in our store in Pooler. The menu includes a full 8-10oz portion of fish, our own homemade mushy peas, curry sauce and beef gravy (the same gravy as our pies, thick and rich with actual pieces of beef steak), and chunky homemade tartare sauce for our American friends. The fish and the chips are all fried in beef tallow for amazing flavor as is tradition, although we do now offer Vegetarian frying on request.

Some of this may sound a little foreign if you’ve never been to a British chippy. So, some top tips for how to eat your Fish & Chips. The most important thing is that Salt and Vinegar is a MUST. The chips are not seasoned when they come out of the oven, so make sure you grab those oversized bottles on the table. John Lennon used to eat his with ketchup, Michael Jackson was a huge fan of mushy peas, and Winston Churchill referred to his as ‘the good companions’[4]. We have to agree with him on that. And if you want to grab them to go, it only takes 5 minutes! Traditionally they were served on wax paper on top of old newspaper, but since that isn’t the most food safe option we go for regular food safe paper, and we will wrap them up hot to go.

It may sound like we are being overly fastidious over a dish that is pretty simple. But achieving the perfect Fish & Chips has not been easy! It took a while to get those classic chippy sides without the easy access to British ingredients, but we’ve definitely got it down. A lot of experimentation occurred with our fish in particular, as we originally started out with Pacific Cod (Alaskan) but recently switched to North Atlantic Cod after discovering that it was meatier and held together better with the batter. Our batter recipe also went through some alterations in March and we are now proud to say we have the crispiest, most flavorful & authentic Fish & Chips for miles around!

If we’ve convinced you that this is a must try on your local food list, come down to Pie Society in Pooler, GA and enjoy the new smells of salt, vinegar and fried fish every Wednesday (11am-3pm) Thursday- Saturday (11am-8pm), and Sunday (11am-3pm). Now serving a great selection of wines, & beers from Britain, Europe and the US.

And if you’re really brave, try the battered Mars Bar with ice-cream!

[1] Hughes, Glynn “Chip-Shop Fried Fish”. The Foods of England Project.

[2] Alexander, James (18 December 2009). “The unlikely origin of fish and chips”. BBC News.

[3] Lemm, Elaine (27th March 2018). “Traditional British Fish and Chips”. The Spruce.

[4] Alexander, James (18 December 2009). “The unlikely origin of fish and chips”. BBC News.

Without a doubt, the dessert that gets the most ooh’s and aah’s from our customers is the Victoria Sponge Cake. A highly traditional cake that is iconic to British baking, the Victoria Sponge is famed for being extremely light, yet still deliciously indulgent with the combination of sweet raspberries, rich unsweetened cream and buttery sponge. Highly different to many American-styled cakes which favor a richly sweet icing, the Victoria Sponge always incurs sighs of satisfaction from our customers and has been a staple addition to British baking for over a hundred years.

The favorite cake of Queen Victoria I (1819-1901) which resulted in it’s being named after her. The Queen enjoyed a slice of sponge cake with her Afternoon Tea, a phenomenon that became popular late in the 19th century. Due to the nature of eating dinner late in the evening, people were left feeling hungry during the long gap between lunch and dinner. The invention of Afternoon Tea is credited to Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford (1783-1857), who introduced a meal of tea and cakes or sandwiches to her household and frequently invited her friends to join her. One of whom was Queen Victoria herself who quickly adopted it to the royal house for formally dressed parties of aristocratic ladies.

A Victoria Sponge Cake is made with two layers of sponge cake sandwiching raspberry jam and double cream. There are many variations however, with some recipes calling for buttercream or vanilla cream, some using strawberry jam with fresh strawberries and some sprinkling caster sugar over the top instead of powdered sugar. In Queen Victoria’s day the cake likely was made without the cream at all and just layered sponge cake and jam with a sprinkling of caster sugar. The cake also has many variations of name, often being called a Victoria Sandwich or just a Sponge Cake.

Most recently the Victoria Sponge had been made even more popular by being featured on The Great British Bake Off as one of Mary Berry’s decadent creations. As ever, you can grab a slice or order a whole cake at Pie Society in Savannah and Pooler GA! We’re also very excited to announce that the cake fit for a queen is now available for shipping, with our ‘Build your own Victoria Sponge Cake’, complete with our traditional recipe sponge, two piping bags full of fresh cream and raspberry jam, and a mini shaker of powdered sugar. Go to www.thebritishpiecompany.com/order/desserts

Fall Pie Slices (1)

They’re back! Pumpkin and Pecan are back on our extensive menu of handmade pies, alongside many other delicious new treats to try.

Our Pumpkin Pie is 100% made from scratch. We roast our own pumpkins early in the morning to make the filling and layer it over a casing of our secret recipe pastry. Baked in the oven and served with a swirl of fresh, unsweetened whipped cream. Delicious! But don’t take our word for it… try it yourself. Pumpkin Pie will be on the menu until Thanksgiving alongside our deliciously sweet and syrupy Pecan Pie. Stop by one of our stores for a slice or pick up a treat for the family. We recommend you place an order the day before as these delicious desserts sell out daily!

Pumpkins (1)

October’s Pie of the Month is the return of the English special: Lamb, Mint & Mushy Peas. Nothing like your conventional Chicken Pot Pie, this particular flavor may have our British customers salivating and our American customers scratching their heads. But don’t knock it ’till you try it! Ground lamb in a delicious mint gravy is topped with a layer of mushy peas and lidded with pastry. Our twist on an English favorite of Roast lamb and mint sauce with peas.

Also check out other yummy additions to the menu:

Marble Chocolate Brownie: Swirls of dark and white chocolate brownie baked to perfection.

Cherry Surprise: Cocounut & cherries over a layer of chocolate.

Fruit Slice: A mincemeat pie you can enjoy all year round! Dried raisins and sultanas encased in sweet pastry.

Cherry Pie & Blueberry Pie: By popular demand. These are made with REAL cherries and blueberries! Two new flavors to go alongside the traditional Apple and Apple Mixed Berry Pies.

1545767_631488563555705_2068265999_n[1]Introducing our brand new Chilli Cheese Pie! Our special recipe beef chilli topped with cheddar cheese and encased in delicious pastry. We’ve been having some arguments with our American staff over the spelling of ‘chilli/chili’ but so far it’s definitely a hit!

Many of you will also be pleased to learn that the Chicken Curry pie is back on the menu and here to stay. Tender chicken breast in a mild tomato based curry with yummy red peppers and lots of garlic. The Chicken Curry was our first Pie of the Month back in October and made an appearance again last month. It has been so popular with our customers that we’re adding it to our menu.

We’ll be announcing news of a special event which will be coming up at the end of the month so watch this space!