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Is Hot Pie overrated as a baker?


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#1 Khal Pono

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:11 AM

In Arya's POV chapter, she reflects that Hot Pie doesn't do anything well except bake and sing.

I say, however, that fans have made far too much of Hot Pie's baking prowess. First of all, as a street urchin in King's Landing, we know that his mother made the pies and he sold them in the streets, yelling "Hot Pie! Hot Pie!" wherever he went. More pieman than baker, really. He might have watched his mother make pies and helped her from time to time, but I don't think he had enough experience or time with his mother to truly learn the secrets of pie baking.

Second of all I think our appreciation of Hot Pie is somewhat exaggerated by the fact that there are very few competent bakers appearing as characters in ASOIAF. If there were POV chapters about the master cooks of Illyrio's manse in Pentos, or about the artists in the Red Keep's kitchens who made pie full of doves, do you think Hot Pie's wares would even be a blip on our radar? No, ser. While we're on the subject, you may note that one of Joffrey's last utterances was that the pigeon pie he ate was rather "dry," but do not be fooled by this. He was at that point suffering from the effets of the "Strangler" potion, and every other indication we have is that the pies of the Red Keep's kitchen were delectably moist.

Back to the subject at hand, we also see Hot Pie making tarts and cakes in the kitchens of Harrenhal but he is essentially a baker's helper, one of many servants who work in the kitchens. It is the master baker's recipes that he uses, not his own. It's not as if he is running the kitchens himself. Also, note how Amory Lorch or Roose Bolton don't make any comment about the quality and deliciousness of the bread coming out of the kitchens; this shows us that Hot Pie's work, even under the instruction of a master cook, was middling at best.

Finally, Hot Pie informs the innkeeper at the Kneeling Man inn that his breads are tough and unpalatable and that he knows how bake much better bread. This may be true, but keep in mind that this scene takes place in the war-ravaged countryside where baking ingredients such as flour and leavening are scarce and those that can be found are of appallingly low quality. Also, the innkeeper was never trained as a baker, so of course his bread is subpar. While there is no doubt that Hot Pie is knows his way around the oven, almost anyone's baking would be better than the inedible loaves being baked when Hot Pie arrived.

In conclusion, we must be wary lest our emotions and sentimentality--Hot Pie is, after all, an amusing and memorable character---cloud our judgement of GRRM's depiction of his characters' baking abilities. A close, impartial reading of the text reveals in no uncertain terms, to the dismay and chagrin of Hot Pie's fanboys everywhere, that our fat young friend's wares are not the pies that were promised.

#2 Dracarya

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:12 AM

I name you a heretic, for saying such filth about the legend that is Hot Pie.

#3 Naathi Prince

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:13 AM

This was awesome thanks.

#4 Kanon

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:13 AM

Watch out, the Hot Pie fanboys will rip you appart for this...

#5 larrytheimp

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:14 AM

You have pulled the wool from my eyes. I feel like an utter fool.

#6 Naathi Prince

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:17 AM

Look man, clearly Hot Pie is a good baker. I don't know how you could possibly doubt this. You have Arya saying he bakes well, and she grew up in a castle eating lemon cakes. She knows her baking. Besides, Gregor and Lorch are going to just give out compliments. Hot Pie even being alive at this point is a testament to his baking skills.

#7 Garlan Marius

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:20 AM

A true bakerist reading of the text would show that when Joffrey says that the pie is dry at his wedding, he means "I wish I had some of Hot Pie's fabulous pies. He is the best." Despite the phrases apparently being completely unrelated, and the latter not appearing in the text at all, the latter is clearly what was meant. If you disagree, you really ought to do a reread through a bakerist lens.

#8 Winter's Knight

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:21 AM

The sexism is strong in this one. Would you say the same thing if Hot Pie had been a girl instead? Of course not-then it would have been perfectly natural-nay expected-that she be good in baking. You'd be bending over to find excuses for her-her age, her displaced childhood, her poverty-but because Hot Pie is male, he is doubly scrutinised.

#9 Brony Stark

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:22 AM

Filthy lies, the proof is in the pudding pie

#10 Lady Lea

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:30 AM

Exposed!

Oh and when Arya steals his little pies and treats, she's living as a servant and not fed very well, so of course anything slightly fancier will taste amazing to her.

#11 Khal Pono

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:32 AM

Exposed!

Oh and when Arya steals his little pies and treats, she's living as a servant and not fed very well, so of course anything slightly fancier will taste amazing to her.


This is true as well. Never forget that the action of ASOIAF takes place during a war and near-famine and, as the saying goes, "hunger is the best sauce."

#12 Karelian

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:34 AM

But.. this can't be true. Cake is a lie, there is only Hot Pie!

#13 Naathi Prince

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:38 AM

Nobody here is a Baker. I come from a long line of bakers so everyone else's opinion is irrelevant.

#14 Sandor's Hound

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:45 AM

So much win! Haha!

#15 Sandor's Hound

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:46 AM

Look man, clearly Hot Pie is a good baker. I don't know how you could possibly doubt this. You have Arya saying he bakes well, and she grew up in a castle eating lemon cakes. She knows her baking. Besides, Gregor and Lorch are going to just give out compliments. Hot Pie even being alive at this point is a testament to his baking skills.


This.

#16 SerStinger

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:48 AM

I want pie now after reading this thread.

#17 Aemrys

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:53 AM

What blasphemy! Of course Hot Pie is an awesome baker! However it has to be said that he's a fresh baker, thus can improve a lot with hard training and discipline. After all he's a hot pie, meaning he's straight out of the oven, thus a fresh pie = new baker (but good).

#18 KingHodor

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:58 AM

Hot Pie forever!1!1!1
Hot Pie is good for his age and has alot of potential.

#19 Eyron-san、最初の

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 12:10 PM

We must remember that Hot Pie is a young boy, and he has been out of his element for a while. I think the chances are good that he will learn and improve his baking skills, and that this will prove an important role in the future of the story.

The cooking and especially pies are major themes in this story, and I have no doubt the author did not make Hot Pie the son of a baker by chance. Just like making Gendry a smiths apprentice was not a random choice, Hot Pies ancestry is not random. GRRM do not make these choices randomly.

Mark my words folks, Hot Pie is on the path for great things, and his baking skills will become a huge plot point further on. There is no way all this backstory and commitment to the character will lead to nothing. Chekov's Pie I call him.

#20 Pomp & Happenstance

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 12:16 PM

He was merely holding back his baking prowess so as not to draw notice to his superior skills.