"the escape of an eel from an eel-man's barrow"
European eel
GNU Free Documentation LicenseEuropean eel - Credit: Pmx, Wikimedia Commons
Manze's Eel and Pie House, Peckham
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeManze's Eel and Pie House, Peckham - Credit: Tarquin Binary, Wikimedia Commons
 Eels are elongated fish, numbering approximately 800 species.

 

Traditionally, eels were fished from the River Thames where they were plentiful; they were served in an inexpensive dish known as jellied eels.

Jellied eels are prepared by boiling eels in a spiced stock which becomes gelatinous on cooling; they may then be eaten hot or cold.

Jellied Eels
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeJellied Eels - Credit: Secretlondon, Wikimedia Commons
The dish was often served in special eating places known as Eel, Pie and Mash Houses, which were common in certain parts of London up until the Second World War. A few still operate today.