Culture Recipes Video

Meet Stargazy Pie, A Unique Holiday Dish That Has Fish Heads Staring Back At You

Take one look at this Stargazy pie, and you may be slightly stunned at first as the fish pie stares right back at you. However, this fishy meal is one built on tradition and was actually made to save an entire village, so it’s got a lot going for it.

Stargazy pie originated in the 16th century in Mousehole, a coastal village in the rugged southwestern county of Cornwall, England. Back then, residents got by on the bounty of the sea that their local fishermen were able to bring back. However, with no real fish preservation methods at the time, natural disasters constantly threatened the village. A severe and lengthy storm could starve them all to death.

Legend has it that such a fierce storm had struck Mousehole in the 16th century, and many were worried about their dwindling food supplies. One fisherman, Tom Bawcock, decided to brave the storm and bring back some seafood for his village. Fortunately, he was able to make it back home safely and bring back a massive supply of seven different kinds of fish. These were then baked into a pie and devoured by the locals so quickly that even the heads didn’t go to waste.

Since then, on every December 23rd, Stargazy pies become part of the village lore and are at the center of a holiday festival that celebrates Bawcock’s bravery. Nowadays, as seen in the above video from Great Big Story, the Ship Inn Pub in Mousehole adds on to the Stargazy pie’s legacy by cooking enough of the fish pie to feed the entire community.

The pie gained its name from the sardines’ heads that poke out and look like they’re surfacing and gazing towards the nighttime sky. On the inside, six different white fish are baked into a traditional pie with hard-boiled eggs, milk, lemon, herbs, cider, mashed potatoes, and bacon. The pastry topping is garnished with the sardines, along with pastry remnants shaped like stars and crescents to resemble the nighttime sky.

Stargazy pie may be a far cry from other holiday dishes, but it’s a crucial one to the town of Mousehole.


14 Awful British Foods That Make Us Proud to Be American


This holiday, it’s easy to get caught up in the frills. Fireworks, grilling, the old red, white, and blue. But let’s not forget the true reason for the season, celebrating our liberation from our staunch, haggis-eating, tea-drinking forefathers. Think about it. If we hadn’t told GB to buzz off, we may have never created the Double Down. Girl Scout Cookies would only be eaten at tea time. French fries would be called chips and chips would be called crisps. Crisps!

So, this Independence Day, remember there’s plenty reason to revel in our independence, especially the fact that we didn’t get stuck eating that awful soggy grey stuff they call “food” on the other side of the pond. Sure Britain’s got its cool accents and nifty TV shows, but we’ll take a deep-fried twinkie over this mess any day:


1. Stargazey Pie


Pastry pie topped with fish heads


2. Jellied Eels


Like unagi, only gross


3. Haggis


A pudding thing made from sheep heart, liver, and lungs


4. Black Pudding


A pudding sausage thing made from pig’s blood


5. Baby Gaga Ice Cream


Warning: Made from human breast milk

PicThx Mother Nature Network 


6. Spotted Dick


Another pudding thing made with raisins; thankfully not diseased genitalia


7. Laverbread


Seaweed thing?

PicThx Neil Cooks Grigson


8. Sussex Pond Pudding


A boiled cake with a whole lemon inside. Why is it boiled?


9. Turkey Twizzlers


What looks like Britain’s version of Slim Jims, only a million times more frightening


10. Marmite


Yeast extract-based salty poop sauce


11. Bubble and Squeak


Medley of last night’s leftover cabbage


12. Pork Faggots

porkfaggot copy

Unfortunately named offal meatballs

PicThx Lily In Canada


13. Flies Graveyard


Giant raisin newtons


14. Mushy Peas


Not gross necessarily. Still sad looking though.


Happy 4th of July everybody!

(CORRECTION 7/3/14: A previous version of this article listed Pickled Eggs as a British food. They are British in origin, but can also be found worldwide.)