30 01 2015

In honor of the upcoming Pi Day (3/14/15), I’m considering a contest. There is no deadline.

It springs from this song, A Rollin’ Down the River:

Oh, the Arabella sets her main topsail, the Arabella sets her main topsail,
The Arabella sets her main topsail, rollin’ down the river.
Rollin’ down, rollin’ down, rollin’ down the river,
Rollin’ down, rollin’ down……..
Said the bucko’s mate to the greaser’s wife.
Oh a pumpkin pudding and a bulgine pie, a pumpkin pudding and a bulgine pie,
A pumpkin pudding and a bulgine pie, on board the Arabella.

Later verses replace “topsail” with “foresail”, “royal”, “gainsail”, or other sails.

It seems to be a shanty for sailors who were on a river, rather than the open sea: a “capstan-and-pumps” song. But some think it’s a sea song that travelled from sailors, to longshoremen, to railroad workers, changing here and there as it went. An alternate title is “The Saucy Arabella”.

You can find references to this song here and there on the internet — but no one knows what a “bulgine” pie. Some people think it’s a “bulging” pie, or died-out slang for a “cow-pie”. Since a “bulgine” was sometimes used to mean a train, others theorize it’s a big puddle of train oil left in a trainyard, or on the track.

Since there’s no doubt that pumpkin pudding exists, though, I think Pi Day would be a fine occasion for making a real-life, yummy pie to fit with the name of “bulgine pie”. Maybe to be good with some real-life, thick sauce? Or contain molasses? My favorite theory so far, is it should contain both peaches and plums.

Anyone have a good suggestion for a worthy prize for whoever comes up with a recipe for this? It needs a crust, of course, to appropriately carve the appropriate mathematical Greek letter into the center, in honor of the big day — even if a satisfying solution to this puzzle doesn’t come until long after it’s past!

By the way, I’m probably going to submit the books of The Talan Revolt onto a new site, ReadFreely: http://www.readfree.ly/