This is my favoirte time of year. I love the holidays. Thanksgiving is creeping up behind Halloween. All the smells, atumunal gatherings to bring inside, family, and FOOD. My mind is bubbling over with Thanksgiving side ideas...brusses, sweet potatoes, stuffing, pie. PIE.
A pie bird, also known as a pie vent, pie whistle, pie funnle or pie chimney, is a hallow ceramic instrument used to allow steam to escape from a baking pie. When fruit filled pies are cooking, they have the potential, if filled enough, to bubble over, making the worst kind of mess all over your oven's insides. Pie birds were created to aid in the baking process of good pies.
Traditonally the pie funnel was in the shape of a bird. The pedestal, wide to fit into the pie innards and the bird, hollow to allow steam to rise through the device. Pie birds come in many other forms, including but not limited to; elephants, roosters, farmers, sailor girls, aunt Jemmimas, and the elusive Pillsbury Dough Boy.
If you are interested in collecting pie birds, there is a pie bird convention. (Though I couldn't find any informaiton past 2004.) These two posts offered helpful information as far as manufactures and a more extensive history: Favourite Collectables and Antique Trader. Amazon.com had these two books available; "Collecting Stuart Bass Pie Funnels", and "Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Vol. 1: Pie Birds, A Pictorial Identification and Value Guide."
A poccet full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened,
The birds began to sing;
Wasn't that a dainty dish,
To set before a king?