Sanders, or saunders, was a nineteenth-century method of getting rid of the leftovers of a joint of beef or mutton, a prototype of the shepherd's pie. It is first mentioned in 1827, in a New System of Cookery, and Eliza Acton gives a recipe in Modern Cookery (1845): ‘Spread on the dish … a layer of mashed potatoes. … On these spread … some beef or mutton minced. … Place evenly over this another layer of potatoes, and send the dish to a moderate oven for half an hour’ (the French make their version of shepherd's pie, hachis Parmentier, with potatoes below as well as above the mince). The origin of the term is obscure, but presumably it comes from a real or supposed inventor of the dish, now safely anonymous.
Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.