I do love a bit of food porn; TV chefs, Masterchef, Delicious Magazine etc etc and I recently came across the recipe for ‘Stargazey pie’.
‘Stargazey pie’ is a peculiar dish made in Cornwall, England, that features a shortcrust pastry pie of pilchards/sardines where the heads pop out of the pie and stare heavenwards …hence ‘stargazey’!
And this got me thinking of a beautiful book (and by now you must know my penchant for illustrated books!) called ‘The Mousehole Cat’ by Antonia Barber and illustrated by Nicola Bayley –
Mousehole – or ‘Mowzel’ as the Cornish would have it….is a harbour town with a tiny harbour mouth. One year an enormous storm, created by the ‘Storm-Cat’ prevents the fishermen from leaving the harbour to catch fish. Everybody in the town is starving so an elderly fisherman and his cat Mowser venture into the sea to catch some much needed food. Mowser sings to the great ‘Storm-Cat’ just enough to calm him so that the old fisherman can catch some fish, and then again to get back to the safety of the harbour.
” And her purring rose like a hymn to home above the noise of the Great Storm-Cats’s howling. Such music had not reached the ears of the Great Storm-Cat since the dawn of Time, for when do cats purr out in the wind and the darkness?
Puzzled, he paused in his howling, bending his ear to catch the strange sound. It seemed to him that he had once heard such a song long before, when he was no more than a Storm-Kitten.
The Great Storm-Cat grew quiet: gone was his hunger for hunting, for making his meal of the mice-men.
Only the pleasure of the purring remained.
Then the Great Storm-Cat began to purr with Mowzer, and as the soft sound grew, the winds waned and the waves weakend.”
From then on, the real Mousehole/Mouzel venerates the episode by recreating their lighting up of the harbour with candles, lanterns and torches and celebrates the catch with ‘stargazey pie’!
Just like ‘The Lost Thing’ there is an animated movie of it…..
and part 2
and part 3
I think I might make Stargazey Pie this weekend!