What is a pie barm? In Wigan, it’s a way of existence

One year ago, I bought an entire newsroom to a standstill. This wasn’t, sadly, because of any beautiful journalistic success. I used to be simply having my lunch. And it turned into a pie bar.

Pie Barm


Types of Pies List

I didn’t even realize I’d executed something until I became aware of the slow draining away of the hubbub that typifies a nearby newspaper office at noon. I seemed up from what I used to be doing – tapping at my keyboard with one hand, pie bar within the different – and realized everybody was looking at me. Then they started to depart their desks and walk over to mine until uncomprehending faces surrounded me. What, they desired to realize, became I eating?

I blinked and checked out the meat-and-potato pie sandwiched between a buttered white roll. It becomes only a pie bar. I seemed in the back of me to peer if there has been a person eating something exclusive and outrageous. However no. It turned into me: me and my pie bar.


In that crowd changed into a younger woman, perhaps the most stunned and nonplussed of all. Regardless of this … reader, she married me. And knowledgeable me within the ways of carbohydrates, calories and different such things. Not very much time passed earlier than I finished consuming pies in barm cakes.

You might be said to be resting, or in remission, or recuperating. However, when you’re from Wigan, you by no means, in reality, prevent ingesting pies. Consuming pies is a part of our DNA, our heritage, our birthright. And a pie bar – additionally fondly known as a Wigan Kebab – is the epitome of our gastronomic lifestyle.

I hadn’t thought deeply about pie bars for some time until this week, when a few wag – a scouser, manifestly – published on Twitter a part of a press release from the takeaway employer Hungry House, launched to mark British Pie Week.

Most of the many facts was a “Metropolis Pie-Off” chart, listing the five pie by way of town or City. London became pinnacle with, relatively bizarrely, banoffee pie. Nicely, I suppose it goes Properly with the handy. In a wide variety, 4 was Wigan with what Hungry House rightly termed “a nearby traditional,” the pie bar.

In Wigan, the default lunch – and that indicates how to center magnificence I have to turn out to be – is constantly a pie
“What the f is a pie bar?!!” numerous people on Twitter requested. Properly, let me explain.

Wigan folks have been referred to as pie-eaters for almost a century. The story is that during the general strike of 1926, Wigan miners have been the first to crumble and cross again to paintings, which means they needed to consume humble pie and earned the sobriquet. I assume that’s garbage. We similar to pies, and we constantly have executed.

The default lunch (and that suggests how center-elegance I’ve come to be – in Wigan you have got your dinner at midday and your tea at five) is usually a pie. Suppose taken at home, on a plate surrounded utilizing a moat of Oxo. I imagine the pie barm become invented to facilitate ingesting a pie on the hoof. The barm cake – or bar, or roll, depending on where you’re from – No longer best affords adequate insulation to your hand against the warmth of the pie, But serves to soak up any errant gravy or juice – without wasting a drop.

Pies are continually absolutely encased in pastry, none of this slop with a crust simplest on the pinnacle. They can be meat and potato or steak. In case you’re vegetarian, you could have a fowl pie, I assume. You’re by no means extra than a hundred ft from a pie keep in Wigan. Every December, the sector Pie ingesting Championships are staged in Harry’s Bar on Wallgate, which has Now not been without controversy. In 2007 a competitor’s dog ate 20 of the pies the nighttime before the occasion. In 2014, a supplier blend-up and the incorrect were added to the bar, with the competition pies as a substitute going to a divorce party. The pinnacle of the championships went on Choose Rinder to get recompense, But it lost.


Define Barm Cake

Up inside the north, we like to discover humans with the aid of the meals they consume. Consequently, as mentioned, Liverpudlians are scousers; that’s a type of stew. In Wigan’s neighbor, Leigh, humans are “foyer gobblers” because they consume lobbies, much like a scouse. God is aware of what they consume in Wigan’s massive rugby league rival St Helens; babies, possibly. But Wiganers will usually be pie eaters.

How crucial are pies to Wigan? I was hoping you could pay attention; once I worked at the Wigan Night Submit, I wrote a tale about a fireplace breaking out on the Poole’s pie manufacturing unit. It damaged the manufacturing gadget, and they needed to bring in emergency pie-makers to work through the night to ensure the pie stores had their deliveries on time. We splashed the story on the front web page; I assume we’d have headlined it “Black Thursday” or something.

No longer length after my pie bar lunch incident within the newsroom – and that became in Preston, most effective 20 miles up the street from Wigan – I moved over to Yorkshire, in which you can’t get a first-rate meat-and-potato pie for romance nor cash. I won’t even have an idea about pie bars again, However for the flap on Twitter this week. And now I will get the excellent antique Wigan Kebab out of my head.

Even now, the horrifying mentions of pie bars are still scrolling up my Twitter feed. I’m hoping I’ve been capable of offering some solutions. Now, do you want to speak about the delights of chips, pea wet and scratchings …?

Timothy Washington
Hardcore internetaholic. Social media nerd. General writer. Freelance travel junkie. Music practitioner. Twitter guru. Alcohol maven. In 2008 I was writing about wooden trains for fun and profit. Earned praised for my work researching fatback in Los Angeles, CA. Spent 2001-2006 lecturing about walnuts in Cuba. Earned praise for analyzing tattoos on Wall Street. Uniquely-equipped for deploying wooden horses in Jacksonville, FL. Spent a year lecturing about tar in Salisbury, MD.