Christmas traditions come home

Every year, on Christmas Eve, my family has pork pie for dinner. The tradition has been passed down from my mum’s family where they had pork pie for dinner on Christmas Eve because my gran would be too busy plucking and preparing the turkey to cook. (Yeah, yeah, grandpa could have been doing the cooking – let’s just say times were different!) I’ve never met anyone else who eats pork pie on Christmas Eve though mum was recently told it’s a Midlands tradition which makes sense as her family is from around Birmingham. Anyway, this tradition means I’ve eaten many pork pies in my lifetime. Mostly these have come from supermarkets. Marks and Spencers and Waitrose both sell reasonable pork pies, however, in 2010, I bought the Christmas pork pie right here in Brixton.

In early December I found out that Ian, at Cornercopia in Brixton Village, was making pork pies to order in a variety of sizes. These pies were handmade from start to finish, pastry, meat filling and apple jelly. I went for the 10-person pie, judging the size from baking tins Ian showed me. It was the largest pork pie I’ve ever seen (yet not the largest I could have had..). I put in my order and on 23 December I went to pick up my pie. It looked magnificent. A pie worthy of Christmas Eve dinner (and Christmas Day supper and Boxing Day lunch as it turned out!). I carried the pie to my parent’s house near Cardiff. My mum cut the pie. The meat filling looked like, well, meat. “That looks different” everyone said, then “That’s good!” when they tasted it. The pork pie of 2010 has set a standard all other Christmas pork pies will have to live up to. I’m just hoping that Ian will be making them again next year..

But the fact that the pie tasted good is only one reason (albeit a pretty good one!) why the pie was so special. I loved contributing the pie to my family’s Christmas and more than that, I loved that it came from the place I live, and that I knew the person who made it. Telling my family the story behind the pie was as much a contribution to Christmas Eve dinner as the pie itself. And with this I understood even more clearly how Makerhood can work. Buying a pork pie from Waitrose fulfills the need to have a pie for Christmas Eve dinner. But I never felt like I was involved with the pie. Buying my pork pie from Cornercopia felt very different. I was contributing to the success of an independent business in my local area and contributing to my family dinner at the same time. I met the people who work at Cornercopia, they make great pies and I want them to be successful – not least so I can get my pork pie there again next year. In return, they provided me with the best pork pie I’ve ever eaten and a personal, friendly shopping experience that gave me insight into someone else’s life in Brixton. If Makerhood can make experiences like this happen I’ll be more than happy!

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