Potpie: A subject of many heated opinions

The May 18 post on potpie broke a record for “most comments and reactions” on an Only in York County topic!

You might remember I polled you on whether you think “real” potpie is the slippery/boiled kind or the baked-with-crust kind.

Of more than 125 votes, we’re at 82% in favor of slippery! I don’t think lifelong Yorkers are too surprised, right? But the debate got HEATED. In fact, while I’m sharing several dozen comments today, I actually have more input, specifically on how you make the potpie itself, that I’ll share in yet another a future post!

In favor of “slippery” or boiled potpie

Adam says “I think most Yorkers will agree that real potpie is the ‘slippery’ kind (and the poll results would seem to agree). The real debate is this: do potatoes and carrots belong in potpie? I’ve seen this several times (most commonly potatoes).”

Melanie Hady says, “It’s called Pot Pie for a reason: you make it in a pot!”

Another Melanie, Melanie P., writes, “Oh, yum! That photo brings back some great memories of my grandma making pot pie exactly like that. She’s almost 98 now and hasn’t made pot pie in years and years. I’ve always been a little afraid to try my hand at it, but maybe now’s the time.

This was the photo Melanie’s talking about:

In it, Edna Brothers, then 81 years old, checks on the chicken potpie she’s making for Sunday dinner to serve to her sons and daughters-in-law in her East Manchester Township home in this 2006 photo.

In favor of baked potpie

Rosi M. says: “Well, I will concede, it’s all about what you grew up with, but chicken pot pie is called PIE because it has a crust! The recipe you gave sounds like a poor excuse for chicken noodle soup.”

My friend Linda H. agrees. She writes, “Being a Md transplant means real pot pie has a crust. We made it at home that way all the time and it was usually made with squirrel or rabbit. I consider the version eaten here to be more like a stew with big noodles instead of dumplings. The first time I ordered it I stared at my plate and wondered where the crust went. My ex hubby, a native of the area, had to explain it to me. :-) I’ve been here 38 yrs now and still like my pot pie with veggies and a crust.”

And friend and coworker Susan duplicates that Maryland view. She says, “I am also a Maryland transplant. Pot pie means there’s crust, and veggies, too!”

In favor of potpie in general

Bill Landes says potpie “is York County’s greatest contribution to the world!”

Dianne simply adds her cheers for “bot boi!”

And Joe Stein likes all the potpies. He says, “There’s PA Dutch pot pie (real pot pie) and baked pot pie (good as well). I’m sure these Marylander’s would try to add crab and Old Bay! (Just teasing!)”

My sister-in-law, Adriane, agrees. “Not having grown up in York, I do not immediately think of pot pie made the way so many people around here do. I like crust and the creamy sauce in a good homemade chicken pot pie (notice the two words there). BUT I love a good PA dutch ‘potpie’ too and my mother in law makes a very good one. So I like them BOTH!”

…And the debate continued on Facebook!

Asked the same question on the YDR’s page and my personal Facebook page.

Those responses?

Mark Sowers: No crust! Potpie is made in a pot!

Brenda Boitson: No Crust!

Melissa Fair: Homemade boiled pot pie hands down over baked

Wendy Staley: No crust! True pot pie has noodles. And potatoes. And simmers in a large pot all day :)

JoAnn Paules: Thank you Wendy! Joan – in your next poll, ask who calls them noodles and who calls it dough. There are folks with strong viewpoints on that. I’m a noodle person myself.

Carly Stevens: NOODLES!!!

Linda Chenoweth Harlow: Crust crust crust!!!!! (You might remember Linda from above; she weighed in TWO places, she felt so strongly!)

JoAnn Paules: Linda is obviously not from this area. ;-)

Amanda Hertzog Pugh: Homemade noodles … no crust!

Beth Vrabel: There is room in the world for both baked pot pie and slippery pot pie. Slippery’s my favorite, though.

Dianne Bowders: Homemade noodles? That’s another topic, Joan.

JoAnn Paules: Only in York County can a simple food provide enough material for three articles. (Joan says: WINNING COMMENT OF THE DAY!) Homemade noodles are best but I haven’t had any good ones since my grandma stopped making potpie. She’s gone now so all I have left are fattening memories.

Cissy Daughtrey: I make mine with just a top crust.

Jeffery Jackson Carbaugh Jr.: My mother makes up some dough, chops it into squares and tosses it in a pot of water and broth with some taters and stripped chicken cooked off the bone. That’s the “popeye” I grew up with, lol.

Amanda Hertzog Pugh: Thats the kind of recipe I have Jeff!

Jeffery Jackson Carbaugh Jr.: Damn good, ain’t it?

Meanwhile, my sister-in-law Adriane asked HER Facebook friends as well. Their take?

Christine Griffard Licata: I never realized there was a difference! I’ll have to try the York version soon!

Adriane Ohrum It’s not necessarily just York, it’s a PA Dutch thing, so I am sure you can find potpie at a firehall supper near you, LOL.

Erica Hillegas: oh yum. We had potpie at the fam dinner on Sunday. My mom also makes an actual pie…we always called it meat pie.

Like I said at the start of today’s post – more on all of this to come, including some recipe suggestions for both types!

About Joan

My name is Joan and I'm a lifelong Yorker. Throughout high school and college, I swore I was getting out of here as soon as possible. Now, a few years later, I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be. I love my town, and I hear every day from readers who love their towns, too. So please, connect with me and let's share what makes life in York County great. I'm here to help you enjoy this place as much as I do!
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2 Responses to Potpie: A subject of many heated opinions

  1. MBKrebs says:

    Those “outsiders” who are so puzzled by what they’re being served when they order “Pot Pie” should be as particular about ordering it as they are at a Starbucks (no one goes into a Starbucks and just orders “coffee.”)
    And seriously, if you have had any kind of exposure to cookbooks, or the Food Network for that matter, the boiled pot pie we treasure around here is just an unleavened variation of chicken and dumplings down south. Who is going to tell Paula Deen she’s crazy?
    And I know there are many different kinds of meat substituted for the chicken, but I’m a purist — no squirrel, venison, or other varmint for me!

  2. ljr says:

    I think that bott boi originally referred to thick stew, which is what the PA Dutch style is. As you can see somewhere along the way it got changed to Pot Boi and pot pie.

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