Sing a song of sixpence

Residents at Little Bramingham Farm, the residential care home in Luton run by Friends of the Elderly, were recently treated to a sumptious game pie by chef Jim Wright

At Little Bramingham Farm, the residential care home in Luton run by charity Friends of the Elderly, residents have been treated to a historical and gastronomical delight. Regional Director, James Batchelor and care home chef Jim Wright, discovered a scrumptious game pie recipe and decided it would be a tasty treat for the residents to enjoy now the autumn days are here.

“Jim and I thought that creating a Game Pie for our residents would not only provide them with a delicious and wholesome meal, but that it would also provide a great talking point about its history and origins,” says Batchelor. “It’s the first time we have served gamepPie and we are so glad the residents thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Game pie has a long history that dates back to Roman times, when the main ingredients were wild birds and animals such as partridge, pheasant, deer and hare. However, Game Pie reached its most sumptuous and extravagant form in the Victorian era, with detailed recipes complete with specialised game pie moulds and serving dishes. An 1890s edition of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management even shows a Game Pie topped by a stuffed pheasant!

Wright, the chef at Little Bramingham Farm, is from award-winning TNS Catering and has been delivering tasty and well-balanced meals to the residents since January 2023. He says: “I love to create delicious and nutritious meals for the residents as I’m dedicated to serving them appetising and flavoursome dishes every day. Our game pie included pheasant, partridge, venison and hare, was encased in a shortcrust pastry and was served with a rich gravy and vegetables.

“One of the residents told me that in medieval times, the birds in a game pie included heron, crane, crow, swan, stork and blackbirds and that this is where the 18th Century nursery rhyme Sing A Song of Sixpence stems from. But of course, we didn’t have four and 20 Blackbirds in our pie!”

When asked to comment on the game pie, 90-year-old Eileen Gleasure who has been a resident at the care home since 2018, enthuses: “It was absolutely delicious,” while another resident, 93-year-old Ellen Every adds: “It was so tasty and went so well with my red wine!”

“Ensuring that our residents have a nutritious meal is our first and foremost consideration,” confides Emma Lawrance, the Registered Manager at Little Bramingham Farm. “With Jim, we try to introduce tasty meals which are a little bit different, while also taking into consideration our residents’ likes, dislikes and preferences. They all agree that a new dish can be a delicious surprise.”

Bachelor concludes: “Food brings people together, and everyone at Friends of the Elderly recognises that it’s not just about providing great food, but the importance of interaction and how it can impact an individual's day in a very positive, personal way. Game Pie Day was such a success that it will definitely become an autumnal addition to our menu.”

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