Woolton pie

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Woolton pie
Woolton pie (4653443530).jpg
Alternative name(s) Lord Woolton pie
Place of origin United Kingdom
Creator(s) Savoy Hotel
Type Savoury pie
Main ingredient(s) Potatoes or parsnips, cauliflower, swede, carrots, turnips, oats, spring onions, cheese

Woolton pie, at first known as Lord Woolton pie,[1] was an adaptable inexpensive dish of vegetables, widely served in Britain in the Second World War when rationing and shortages made other dishes hard to prepare. It was created at the Savoy Hotel in London by its then Maitre Chef de Cuisine, Francis Latry.[2] It was one of a number of recipes commended to the British public by the Ministry of Food during the Second World War to enable a nutritious diet to be maintained despite shortages and rationing of many types of food, especially meat.[3] It was named after Frederick Marquis, 1st Lord Woolton (1883–1964), who popularized the recipe after he became Minister of Food in 1940.


The recipe involved dicing and cooking potatoes (or parsnips), cauliflower, swede, carrots and, possibly, turnip. Rolled oats and chopped spring onions were added to the thickened vegetable water which was poured over the vegetables themselves. The dish was topped with potato pastry and grated cheese and served with vegetable gravy. The recipe could be adapted to reflect the availability and seasonality of ingredients.


People realised that meat was in very scarce supply, but that still did not overcome traditions of meat pies. Woolton pie, entirely lacking meat, was not universally well received. An editorial in The Times commented:[4]

When Woolton pie was being forced on somewhat reluctant tables, Lord Woolton performed a valuable service by submitting to the flashlight camera at public luncheons while eating, with every sign of enjoyment, the dish named after him.

Professor John Fuller has noted that Woolton pie and similar wartime austerity dishes "were forgotten as quickly as possible when conditions returned to normal".[5] (One notable exception to this pattern is carrot cake which, while not invented during the war, was popularised in the United Kingdom during that period because it used the widely available root vegetable in place of some of the scarce flour, fat and sugar found in other cakes.)[6]


The recipe for Woolton pie has been published on a number of occasions since the war, notably in collections to mark significant anniversaries, e.g. Marguerite Patten's (1985) We'll Eat Again, marking the 40th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe.

See also



  1. "Lord Woolton Pie: The official recipe", The Times, London, 26 April 1941, p. 2.
  2. "Woolton pie creator dies", The Times, London, 17 August 1966, p. 1.
  3. Fussell (1989), p. 202
  4. "An Ounce of Practice", The Times, London, 23 September 1944, p. 5.
  5. "Vegetables failing to please", The Times, London, 7 January 1970, p. 4.
  6. Paul Barfoot, "Cracking carrot cake", BBC Lifestyle http://www.bbclifestyle.com/za/features/carrot-cake/, retrieved 14 February 2012 Missing or empty |title= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Fussell, Paul (1989), Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-976331-3<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

  • Woolton Pie (includes original recipe from The Times)