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Bot boi
Posted: 04 August 2008 01:18 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I suppose this is mainly an English, but partly a German query - I was about to write a blog entry on it (at transblawg.eu) but found myself too ignorant.

Have done some Googling, not yet consulted OED or anything else.

Chez Pim today talks about a Pennsylvania Dutch pot pie (bot boi). This seems to contain what are elsewhere known as slippery dumplings.

http://www.chezpim.com/blogs/2008/08/pennsylvania-du.html

In my googlings, I read elsewhere that pot poi is a false Englishing of the German term bot boi. Pim also quotes a ‘real’ German, Thomas, whose language opinions do not convince me. He said first of all that bot boi means pot pourri, and after challenged, that it was an old term for Eintopf (casserole). Very dubious.

My suspicion is that bot boi is a false Germanization of pot pie! Does anyone know anything about the origin of this term?

Second question: the term pot pie is one I’ve often heard, but I could not have defined it. Is it mainly American, not British? I realize there are a lot of British ghits, but the first of them is one of those recipes using cups - I think there are a lot of American texts on ‘uk’ sites.  Anyway, it means what I know as a doublecrust pie. Am I just an uneducated British person for not realizing what the term meant? (I know of single-crust ‘pies’ made on the top of the stove, which is what the Pennsylvania Dutch concoction is, so I thought ‘pot’ referred to the vessel rather than the enclosing crust).

Many thanks in advance,

Margaret

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Posted: 04 August 2008 01:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Sorry, I did not mean to write ‘pot poi’ in the post. I meant that ‘pot pie’ is said to be wrongly used for ‘bot boi’ (whereas I suspect the reverse is true).

M.

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Posted: 04 August 2008 05:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I couldn’t find any British ghits for Bot Boi, I did for Pot Pie (which isn’t something I’ve previously heard of). The Pennsylvania Dutch Bot boi version appears to have dumplings and no topping (bit like a hotpot), whereas British Pot Pie recipes mainly seem to have a top crust of pastry but no bottom crust (though there are potato topped versions). I’ve found plenty of English sites with recipes but so far all modern (its a recipe that comes in various guises - mexican, indian, vegetarian etc. - these days).

So far the only ‘older’ cite I can find is on gourmetbritain.com where they suggest that the recipe - a beef stew with a suet pastry lid was originally a shipboard recipe also known as ‘sea pie’ because it was all cooked in one pot, however this is still a modern website and they don’t give any corroboration for their claim (which isn’t surprising as its a recipe - rather than historical - website).

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Posted: 04 August 2008 05:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Definitions and first cites in OED for pot pie.

pot-pie, n.

1. Brit. regional. A dish made from cubed meat, covered with a layer of dough and stewed in a pot. rare.

1702 J. K. tr. F. Massialot Court & Country Cook 268 Tunnies..may be bak’d in a Pot-pie [Fr. Pâté en pot], putting the Flesh chopt small into a Pot, or earthen Pan, with burnt butter and white Wine.

2. U.S. Originally: a pie filled with meat, game, fruit, etc., and cooked in a pot or a deep pie pan. Now also more generally: a pie, typically with a savoury filling of meat and vegetables.

1823 J. F. COOPER Pioneers i, The snow-birds are flying round your own door, where you may..shoot enough for a pot-pie any day.

3. U.S. A meat fricassee with dumplings. rare.

1890 Cent. Dict., Pot-pie,..A dish of stewed meat with pieces of steamed pastry or dumplings served in it; a fricassee of meat with dumplings.

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Posted: 04 August 2008 08:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks for replies.

flynn 999, I did not mean to suggest that the term bot boi is encountered in Britain. As for ‘pot pie’ in the UK, ou say yourself that pot pie in the doublecrust meaning is new to you, so as I said, I think the fact that there are lots of hits on UK sites does not prove that that meaning is conventional British.

Thanks very much, Aldiboronti. I did not put my old computer on for the version of the OED on it. It is more useful than I feared. It seems to confirm my feeling that a pot pie in Britain means one cooked in a pot - which oddly enough is the Pennsylvania Dutch version. (Of course the doublecrust version may have crept in, as many US terms do).

Funnily enough, for some years in the distant past my mother (who hated cooking) used to make a kind of pot pie using a recipe she must have got from the pressure cooker book. It was done with boiled ham left over after Christmas. The ham was cut into chunks and a pastry lid, possibly with suet pastry, was put over it, then the pressure cooker lid was put on, but no pressure added, and it cooked in 15 minutes. That is what I associate with pot pie.

My chances of anyone with an opinion on how the term ‘bot boi’ came about giving information are slight. I suspect it’s a case of Pennsylvanian Dutch people unable to pronounce or spell English!

Margaret

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Posted: 04 August 2008 10:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Zirbelnuss, my experience of pot pie has been similar to the one your mother made. By an extraordinary coincidence the post I just made in the ‘gravy’ thread about sauce anglaise, well the first course in the gastropub I mentioned was a chicken pot pie. I anticipated a hearty short-crust lid (suet would have done) but what I got was more of a gravy soup with paltry bits of chicken in it and, unforgivably, a puff pastry lid. Vol au vents are fine and puff pastry has its place when used as starters but no real pot pie should involve puff pastry. It’s not filling for a start.
Beef suet is a Brit taste? As in steak and kidney pudding and the dessert jam-roly-poly?

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Posted: 04 August 2008 03:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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In English Food (1974), Jane Grigson puzzles about a 1775 entry in Parson James Woodforde’s diary for a “Charter,” which she identifies with a recipe for a Cornish Charter Pie that she found in a book from 1883: chicken, onions/leeks, thickened with a bechamel sauce enriched with cream, then topped with a pastry lid (sounding very much like a Platonic American pot pie, if perhaps a little short on vegetables). In Food with the Famous (1979), she again quotes Woodforde about a Cottage Pie. This time she can’t find an authentic recipe, but supplies one that sounds a lot like a shepherd’s pie, leftovers enriched with flavorings and topped with a mashed potato crust. But by 1984, in British Cookery, Grigson has decided that Woodforde’s Charter is in fact a sweet custard.

Dorothy Hartley, in Food in England (1954) has a description of a Mutton Pot Pie, which she attributes to Elizabeth Wetherell, who turns out though to be a mid-19th century American from New York. Hartley has a drawing of a “Pot Pie sometimes called Sea Pie” above the excerpt from Wetherell, but doesn’t indicate whether the two belong together. The illustrated pot pie is in indeed cooked in a pot (not a pan, which is what most Americans would call a shallow vessel to bake a pie in), and shows a layer of vegetables topped by a layer of meat topped by a layer of potatoes, then dumplings and then a pastry lid. And over that comes the lid of the pot.

As for the Bot Boi, that sounds like an attempt to represent unaspirated Ps as Bs, which is a common confusion in a language where aspiration in that position has no phonemic significance.

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Posted: 04 August 2008 10:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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The first I heard of pot pie was in one of Nigella’s BBC cookery programmes when she cooked a chicken pot pie, which I think she said her mother made.  Whether her mother called it that, or whether she thought the name would sell books, I don’t know, but I vaguely remember from another TV programme, Who Do You Think You Are, which delves into celebrities’ family trees, that Nigella has some Dutch ancestry.  Or was that just Carol Vorderman?

A pot pie recipe for anyone keen enough to try it, here.  The bot boi recipe I found contains noodles, which seem, according to this site, to be called bot boi.  As bot boi seems to be Pennsylvania Dutch, I’d guess it could be a name that infiltrated Dutch from their Dutch East India Company colonial days.

edited bits

[ Edited: 04 August 2008 11:22 PM by astal ]
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Posted: 04 August 2008 11:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch) is a dialect of German rather than Dutch isn’t it?

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Posted: 04 August 2008 11:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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astal - 04 August 2008 10:55 PM

...that Nigella has some Dutch ancestry ... As bot boi seems to be Pennsylvania Dutch, I’d guess it could be a name that infiltrated Dutch from their Dutch East India Company colonial days.

The Pennsylvania Dutch are of German origin (Dutch as in Deutsch) not Dutch (mostly from the Palatinate region)

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Posted: 04 August 2008 11:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Thanks to everyone for replies.

I should have used the word ‘noodles’ at the beginning. I am referring to these Pennsylvania Dutch bot boi with noodles on top, but apparently in some other states they are called dumplings (one of two types of dumpling) - so I used the word dumpling, which was confusing.

I have concluded, as an anonymous comment on my blog says and as Sean says at the end of his message, that the original word is pot pie, and the term ‘bot boi’ is pseudo dialectal German.

venomousbede, I think suet is a British thing. I have got a packet here, but I haven’t decided what to do with it yet. I suppose one can buy suet at a butcher’s and grate it, but have never done that.

astal, there is a Youtube clip of Nigella making a chicken pot pie:

http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=von_Ij3-1eE

It’s an individual single-crust pie with puff pastry. I find her a bit irritating in her more recent programmes, where she seems to overdo the campness, probably at the request of the producer. The pies look very difficult to eat. Her mother was the Lyons Corner Shops heiress, I think. As flynn999 says, and Myridon too, this is a question about German, not Dutch. However, since the etymology is fake, it doesn’t really matter which it was.

The Franconians, in the area where I live, don’t seem to distinguish between P and B at all. In spelling, they refer to soft B and hard B! (weiches B und hartes B).

Margaret

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Posted: 05 August 2008 02:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Boi is the Pennsylvania Dutch word for English pie.  The German p or pf > b in initial position seems to be an erratic feature of Pennsylvania Dutch.  Browsing through the Vocabulary of A Simple Grammar of Pennsylvania Dutch shows, e.g., Blaum for plum /Pflaume/, blendi for plenty, Bluug for plough /Pflug/, Breddicher for preacher /Prediger/, and browiere to try /probieren/.  The word listed for English pot pie is Batboi.  There are also some words where the German initial p or pf is p in Pennsylvania Dutch: paar /paar/, Paersching peach /Pfirisch/, Peif pipe /Pfiefe/ and Pulver powder /Pulver/.

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Posted: 05 August 2008 04:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Zirbelnuss, you could use the whole packet of suet in one meal.

The Suet Pudding Club UK Annual Menu

Starter - Fried whitebait suet rolls garnished with parsley. Complemented with a Gold Label Barley Wine

Main course - Steak and kidney pie made with a suet crust pastry and served with traditional English chips and two rounds of white bread and butter, garnished with herb Rocket. Washed down with a pint of Bateman’s XXX beer.

Afters - Death by suet as described above and garnished with After Eight chocolates, together with the optional Tizer or more traditional tea with milk and two sugars. The milk should always be added first, the sugar last.

They give a recipe for suet pudding and a handy suggestion about the use of leftovers.

In the unusual event of there being left-overs, the remains are allowed to cool2 until the following morning when one inch sections are carved and fried in butter, then served as previously, with syrup and cream accompanied naturally, by a large glass of whisky and several large mugs of coffee.

The site even comes with a useful health warning.

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Posted: 05 August 2008 09:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Faldage: Thanks very much. I have just had a quick look at Wikipedia on the Pennsylvania Dutch language, don’t know how reliable it is. It places it as a Franconian dialect, which is what they speak in the area where I live near Nuremberg. It says pf > p and p > b, but then it looks as if there is more than one variation. This is described as a shift. I am not sure about that, because in my memory the shift to High German was from p > pf, not back again.

astal: I don’t know how to thank you enough. This is absolutely horrible! I have a feeling the barley wine is revolting (don’t know Bateman’s) and I don’t even like After Eight without suet. Whitebait with more than a bit of flour is also suspect. I could imagine making steak and kidney pudding with a suet pastry, but do they mean a pastry that’s baked?  Fortunately you omitted the details of death by suet - perhaps those who quote it don’t survive to tell.

Margaret

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Posted: 05 August 2008 10:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I think they mean the pastry on the steak and kidney pie is baked - if it was boiled I think they’d refer to a pudding. One of the best comments I read about barley wine was ‘more prized for its high alcohol content than its flavour’ but I used to drink it as a chaser with lager as a student and its not that bad (can be hard to get the publican to serve you barley-wine-and-lager though and they frequently have a thing about snakebites too - another of my favourite student tipples).

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Posted: 06 August 2008 06:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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venomousbede - 04 August 2008 10:23 AM

Beef suet is a Brit taste? As in steak and kidney pudding and the dessert jam-roly-poly?

I wouldn’t even know where to get any in the US except for the kind for birdfeeders.  How about a nice sunflower-seed-corn-and-millet roly-poly?

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