Chicken pot pie used to be a much more lively dish. In the days of the Roman Empire, these pastries sometimes had living birds under the crust that would burst out of the shell when served. Meat pies became trendy again in 16th century England, where one author, perhaps inspired by the Romans, wrote a recipe “to make pies that the birds may be alive and fly out when it is cut up…" But most pies were simpler affairs, involving a pastry crust, meat and gravy. Fondness for meat pies later crossed the Atlantic into the New World. The cookbook American Cookery, published in 1796, included recipes for chicken pot pie, beef pot pie, and something called “Sea Pie,” which called for pigeons, turkey, veal and mutton. True to its name, the recipe was originally developed aboard ships, which used whatever preserved meats were available.