Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pie eyed

Skipton ('Gateway To The Dales') is a smallish Yorkshire town with a lot going for it. We were there on Market day, and it was buzzing - stall after stall groaning with things you'd actually want to buy. Cheese, meat, sweets, brooms, boots, books, skirts, apples, spanners, dog chews, music. There was one bloke who sold nothing but hats. The handsome high street is thriving without the intrusion of too many boring multiples. At one end is the 900 year old castle and the neighbouring parish church. Just round the corner from there is Stanforth's. Technically it's a butcher, but the permanent queue is all about their pork pies. Once outside you might see the 'Stanforth Bend'. This is the name given to the action of bending forward from the waist in order to eat. The pies come from the oven warm, and if you don't bend forward clear of your footwear, the first bite will send a stream of liquid fat straight over your shoes. It's hard to describe just how good these pies are. The perfect wholesome comfort food. The inside of one looks like a cross-section of the Pennines.


A F-A said...

Hah!! The market...AWFUL! Driving the town into ruin, benefitting solely the trailers-and-gawpers and Tea-and-Pee brigade from dubious parts of Lancashire, who arrive in bloody great big coaches to clog up the car-park. As far as I know, not a single stall-holder is actually a Skipton resident, and very few locals like the market at all - and their number does NOT include me. But the pies.....oh yes, great pies! It's a real battle between Stanforths, Drake and Macefield, and Ted Lee, each having their cheer-leaders - it's the pastry that differentiates them. I'm a Ted Lee fan myself...something to do with his head cook taking trays of them past my shop en route to his, warm and succulent and irresistable (the pies!). Me and my mechanics would waylay her...snatch three or four each, drip them over customer's 'bikes! As that usually meant she was a dozen light when she arrived chez Ted, we were asked to desist! Worst withdrawal symptoms I ever had!

Ten Inch Wheeler said...

Compared to our nearest market, down here in yer actual east end Skipton's was a joy. Nobody tried to flog me a Chinese-copy DVD of Tropic Thunder, a Nokia facia showing a hemp leaf or stab me with a knife. I've not tried any other pie apart from the mighty Stanforth ones - though I did notice there are about 300 butchers shops in Skipton, so plenty of scope for testing.