The name "cottage pie" was first used at the end of the 18th century. It was around that time that the poorer people of Britain, people who lived in cottages in the country, started using potatoes as an everyday food. Originally, a pie made with any kind of meat and mashed potato was called a "cottage pie".
In modern British English, the dish is usually called "cottage pie" if it is made with beef. If it is made with lamb it is usually called "shepherd's pie" (because a shepherd looks after sheep). The modern day cottage pie may now contain vegetables, lentils or beans in place of meat.
- John Ayto (1990) The Glutton's Glossary: A Dictionary of Food and Drink Terms, Routledge, London.
|The English Wikibook Cookbook:Shepherd's Pie has more information on:|
- Cottage pie recipe Archived 2010-12-13 at the Wayback Machine
- Shepherd's pie recipe Archived 2014-01-05 at the Wayback Machine