[Sca-cooks] Coffins was beets...

Johnna Holloway johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu
Wed Sep 6 20:36:23 PDT 2006

As regards coffyns-- Ivan Day has pictures of raised pies
along with a description of various recipes.

Coffins need not be casket shaped.
A coffin also was a basket. OED says

*1. * A basket; transl. L. /cophinus/, Gr. /ko/enticons/acute.giffinoj/.

[So in OF. and many mod.F. dialects.]

    * *C. 1380* Wyclif /Serm./ Sel. Wks. I. 62 Þei gedriden and filden
      twelve coffynes of relif of fyve barly loves;
    * *1382* Wyclif /2 Kings/ x. 7 Thei..slewen the seventy men, and
      putten the hevedis of hem in cofynes.
    * *1432-50* tr. /Higden/ (Rolls) I. 15 Gedrenge..the fragmentes of
      the cophinnes remanent.
    * *1542* Elyot /Dict./, /Tibin/, a baskette or coffyn made of
      wyckers or bull rushes, or barke of a tree: such oone was Moyses
      put in to.

*. * Cookery.* * A mould of paste for a pie; the crust of a pie. Obs.

    * *C. 1420* /Liber Cocorum/ (1862) 41 Make a cofyne as to smalle pye.
    * *C. 1420* /Cookery Bk./ 45 Make fayre past of flowre & water,
      Sugre, & Safroun, & Salt; & þan make fayre round cofyns þer-of;
    * *1588* Shaks. /Tit. A./ v. ii. 189 Of the paste a coffen I will
    * *A. 1654* Selden /Table-t./ (Arb.) 33 The Coffin of our Christmas
      Pies in shape long, is in imitation of the Cratch.

It was also
A paper case; spec. a receptacle made by twisting paper into a conical
form or `cornet', to contain groceries, etc., or for use as a filter;
still applied by printers to small paper bags of this shape to hold
spare type, superfluous sorts, etc.*1577* Frampton /Joyful News/ (1580)
42 The smoke of this Hearbe, which they receaue at the mouth through
certaine coffins, suche as the Grocers do vse to put in their Spices.

There are various reasons why pies might have been round. Stability
is one aspect. It's also probably far easier to raise a piecrust in a 
round shape.


Stephanie Ross wrote:
> Also, I have another question.
> Were there certain shapes for making cofyns/coffins, and did the shapes
> change over the centuries? I can't imagine anything more wasteful of space
> in an oven than a round pie tin. Weren't coffins square for the most part?
> What could you use to imitate a coffin pan? I think an 8 X 8 pan would be
> too deep, but I'm really not sure.
> ~Aislinn~

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