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The purpose of a pastry shell was mainly to serve as a baking dish, storage container, and serving vessel, and these are often too hard to actually eat. For hundreds of years, it was the only form of baking container used, meaning everything was a pie.
The first pies, called "coffins" or "coffyns" (the word actually meant a basket or box) were savory meat pies with the crusts or pastry being tall, straight-sided with sealed-on floors and lids. Open-crust pastry (not tops or lids) were known as "traps." These pies held assorted meats and sauce components and were baked more like a modern casserole with no pan (the crust itself was the pan, its pastry tough and inedible). These crust were often made several inches thick to withstand many hours of baking.
A hearty, gravy-rich beef stew with carrots and potatoes, authentic for St. Patrick's Day but a really good basic stew recipe all year round too. I especially like this stew because it needn't cook all day, it's ready in a couple of hours, the chunks of beef already tender, the carrots and potatoes firm and sweet, not mushy from long cooking
According to sources, the Cantonese originally came up with the idea of merging these two very different flavors, although it is unclear when the idea originated or what led to its invention. Some believe that pork flavored with sweet and sour sauce was actually created to satisfy foreign tastes. Whether or not that is true, sweet and sour dishes remain very popular in China.
Early settlers of America were very good at improvising. When they first arrived, they brought their favorite recipes with them, such as English steamed puddings. Not finding their favorite ingredients, they used whatever was available. That's how a lot of traditional American dishes came about with such unusual names. Early colonist were so fond of these juicy dishes that they often served them as the main course, for breakfast, or even as a first course. It was not until the late 19th century that they became primarily desserts.
Cobblers are made of just about any kind of fruit or pudding and is often served over a biscuit crust. They are also known to some as Crisps or Crumbles, Betty or Brown Betty, Grunts or Slumps, Buckle or Crumble, Pandowdy, Bird's Nest Pudding, and Sonker.
The origins of pesto are somehow uncertain but some historical letters found in the archives of Genoa (Liguria) mention a dressing called "battuto d'aglio" (literally battered garlic) back in the 1600's. Basil has been known to all the Mediterranean people since the age of the Romans, probably originating from the northern coasts of Africa.
Cucumbers were thought to originate over 10,000 years ago in southern Asia. Early explorers and travelers introduced this vegetable to India and other parts of Asia. It was very popular in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome, whose people used it not only as a food but also for its beneficial skin healing properties. The early colonists introduced cucumbers to the United States.
Cucumbers are scientifically known as Cucumis sativus and belong to the same family as watermelon, zucchini, pumpkin, and other types of squash.
The foundations for Pizza were originally laid by the early Greeks who first baked large, round and flat breads which they "annointed with oil, herbs, spices and Dates."
Pancakes can be found in many cultures around the world, although they might not use the same ingredients as pancakes, they are generally similar in taste and texture. The French often make a wish while turning the pancake during the cooking process, while holding a coin in the other hand.