Daily entries from the 17th century London diary
Meat was the main component of a meal in the seventeenth and a wide variety of meat was eaten. Apart from beef, lamb, mutton, Pepys would also have eaten duck, venison,chicken, turkey, game birds and of course songbirds like larks. It was also a favourite trick to conceal all sorts of surprises in a pie in that period - hence the old nursery English rhyme "Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie".
i had understood that the "blackbirds" rhyme referred to the social status (from Tudor times) gained from a pie to outdo all others in your social circle - apparently Henry VIII had a pastry pie shell made in which were placed 24 blackbirds which fluttered out when the pie case was cut, to the amazement and edification of all.
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