Sunday, January 18, 2009

Odd.

I realized something a couple of days ago. My French-Canadian mother-in-law makes a lot of Shepherd's Pie, which is, from what I understand, a traditional French-Canadian dish. I don't understand the Shepherd reference, because from what I understand, there were very few French Canadian shepherds. That sounds Scottish to me. In French, she calls this shepherd's pie "Pate Chinois". Which, literally translated into English, means "Chinese Paste". I am almost positive that meat-and-potato pie is not a Chinese dish. To whom, exactly, does this dish belong, and where did it originate? Or is it just so un-tasty that noe one wants to take the blame for it, and they all want to pass the buck to another culture?

6 comments:

  1. Eric, go and google Pate chinois, you will find a lot of sites that explains what it is, and it is not chinese paste in English, it is chinese pie which by the way is very good, ask your fiance, lol.As for the Sheppard's part of it, I have no idea why that is.

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  2. Shephard's pie is actually made with lamb. When beef is used, it's Cottage Pie.

    http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodpies.html#shepherdspie

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  3. My father-in-law (also French Canadian) claims this was a dish invented to feed the workers (apparently lots of Chinese!) who were building the Canadian railway, and they fed them this "chinese pie".

    Of course, my father in law always invents all kinds of nonsense, so this could be totally bogus.

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  4. kim anh's father in law is right...and so is scott...

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  5. I was taught the Canadian railway story as well. The workers served food to the bosses which consisted of meat, potatoes and vegetables. In order to feed the other workers they would just throw all those things in together, hint the word "paste" I guess.
    I never understood why you crazy anglos call it Sheppard pie though.

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  6. Maybe that's it - it was created by French Canadians, called "Chinese" because it was served to the Chinese labourers, and then when it was translated into English, it became "Shepherds" because that was a random word they chose. Any word would do, as long as it no longer called attention to this horrible period of our nation's history. And "Shepherd's Pie" sounded better than "Not-slavery Pie". It all makes sense now! Sort of...

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