The history of pie birds

While you’ve likely heard the nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence,” with its “four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie,” it would probably surprise you to find a bird’s head peeking out of your fresh-from-the-oven dessert, whether or not it “began to sing” upon being sliced.

Don’t worry, though — there aren’t live birds in most pies, let alone two dozen. While the rhyme possibly alludes to the trials and tribulations of Henry VIII and Ann Boleyn, it may have served as inspiration for pie birds: hollow ceramic figurines designed to vent steam from the pastries, according to Linda Fields, author of Four


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