Since starting this blog, I’ve spent more time than ever thinking about that most glorious of pre-weekend dishes, the pie. I think about eating it, I think about admiring it, I think about it as a cornerstone of our sopiety.
Recently, I’ve been intrigued by the expression, “As easy as pie”. Where oh where, I wondered to myself, munching on a Sainsbury’s own mini pork pie, could that phrase have come from?
After all, there’s not a lot about pie I’d call easy. Not buying it, which requires money, and still less cooking it, which requires dealing with that notorious but necessary bastard, pastry. Hell, even blogging about it isn’t that easy – synonyms for filling is one of my Google alerts.
Curiosity piqued, I finished up my snack, brushed myself down, scattering crumbs and gelatin, and headed off to the library with a new sense of purpose.
It was there, surrounded by leatherbound books and ostrich feather quills, that I discovered the truth.
As it turns out, “easy as pie” at the time of its coinage had nothing whatsoever to do with my favourite dish and pet obsession. On the contrary, it is actually Cockney rhyming slang for “lying crying” – confusing indeed, as “mince pies” is already rhyming slang for “eyes”.
At its inception, “easy as pie” really meant as easy as it is to feign tears (or “lie cry”).
The more you know.