A long time ago before food wrapping was ever thought of people wrapped their lunches or travel snacks in an old clean piece of rag – pulling together the four corners and tying together in a knot. This meagre meal usually comprised of a lump of bread and a small portion of cheese. Until someone had the idea of finding an alternative way of carrying a meal away from the home. This take-away meal was the pie. Pie crust could be used to encase all kinds of variations of meals. The outer pastry casing (which was used as a protective layer to keep food clean) was always thrown away once the inner contents had been eaten. It is only in more recent times that we have eaten both the inside and outside of the pie.
It was commonplace for people to eat either birds or deer for there were no great herds of cattle or sheep. The wealthy would have all the fine cuts and best pieces of meat and the poorer people would be left with the more stringy portions of meat and the offal. Deer offal is known as ‘humble’ – so poor people would eat humble encased in pastry – otherwise known as ‘humble pie.’
Hence the expression “eating humble pie” the acceptance of humiliation or being inferior – accepting one’s inferiority.