information from Wendy Dewhurst
The history of my own butcher ancestors has yet to be fully revealed. Sam Dewhirst who
emigrated to Toronto in the early 1900's was a successful butcher there and had a street
named after him. My own grandfather, Fred Dewhirst had the family butcher's in Whetley
Hill, Bradford and bought livestock from the farms around Bradford, keeping them close by
in a field until slaughter took place. I wonder why I tend towards the vegetarian!!
I had never questioned why, as a family , we knew so many farmers until starting on the family history. My grandmother was a wizard at making wonderful meals as she said she was always left with the odds and ends from the shop. I have a great photo [ed. note: picture coming!] of her in the pony and trap with her young baby delivering the meat and the fresh pork pies that she had made . I do have her special recipe for stand pies, as we call them over here and the thought of her getting up at 4.30 am each day to make them fills me with admiration. She also had a young family of 5 children!!
Talk about coincidence, in reading [ skimming!] the Sunday paprer, there was a short piece on the Vestey family which said they disbanded the Dewhurst butchers chain of shops in 1995. The piece was on the richest young people in the UK and one of the Vestey young men was worth £300 million pounds.....perhaps we should have supported our butcher ancestors more!Now, back to the recipe for stand pie that my grandmother used to do. Talking it over with my aunt, her 80 year old daughter, she suddenly remembered she had her fathers pork butcher recipe book. We searched her bookshelves, and sure enough, there it was! What a find! It contained fascinating recipes, for example , how to make lard. I am definitely more vegetarian now than I used to be! My grandmother made the pies by hand and put different decorations on the pie lid, such as the Prince of Wales feathers. There were, however the state of the art Pie making machines, see example picture.
To make the paste:
Take 14lbs of the finest wheaten flour, 2 and a half ozs of Baking Powder and 3ozs Fine Salt. Place in a large bowl or trough and form a well in the centre, and into this pour 5 lbs. of boiling Lard, to which must be added about 2 pints of boiling water. Knead up into a rather stiff paste. If the quantity of Lard and boiling water given prove insufficient to make the desired consistency, add a little more boiling water.
To make the pork pies:
About equal weights of lean and fat. [my grandmother only used lean meat and cut the fat off.]
Mince to the size of small peas and add half an ounce of seasoning to every pound of meat. [see below for recipe]
The lids of the pies should be well brushed over with well-beaten egg, and baked in a good sharp oven for about three-quarters of an hour for the smaller sized ones. The larger Pie is made, the slower it should be baked. Use I oz. Of Bergice [Dry antiseptic] to every 14 lbs. of Pie Meat.
3lbs Ground White Pepper
3 ozs Cayenne Pepper
2 ozs Nutmeg
6 and a half Fine Salt.