"Sweeney Todd" and the Tradition of Pie and Mash

Beth Fhaner
 | Dec 14, 2018
Pie and Mash

Traditional pie and mash.

A London food tradition since the days of Queen Victoria, “pie and mash”—a small meat pie served with a side of mashed potatoes and an optional herbed parsley sauce known as “liquor”—was often the only hot meal one might eat in a day. Affordable, filling and tasty, the staple dish provided sustenance for hungry families and workers alike. The first recorded pie and mash shop opened in Southward in 1844, but it wasn’t long before pie sellers roamed the streets and pie shops were ubiquitous. The hearty dish quickly became synonymous with working-class London.

With Mrs. Lovett’s struggling pie shop figuring prominently in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, it seems fitting that a pre-show meal consisting of pie and mash would become a theatre-going tradition. When Sweeney Todd played in London in 2014, and then later in New York City in 2017, audience members would arrive early to enjoy a pre-show experience of indulging in delicious pie and mash. Find recipes and read about the London menu here.

For Barrow Street Theatre’s production of Sweeney Todd in Manhattan, former White House pastry chef Bill Yosses took on the role of official pie maker, serving-up three varieties of pie and mash (meat pie and mash, vegetarian pie and mash and beef wellington pie and mash) to patrons who had opted in for the pre-show meal. Read about this at NPR and check out recipes.

Although SCR doesn't have an official chef on-site to whip-up meat pies, you can still partake in the Sweeney Todd pre-show tradition with savory pie and mash that you prepare at home. Bon Appetit!

Read more about the Sweeney Todd pre-show tradition of meat pies, plus recipes and where to find pie and mash in London in this Daily Telegraph article.

Learn more about Sweeney Todd and buy tickets.