A surrender to the Meat pie.

Image result for meat pie

 

The walk with our Jack Russell dog ‘Milo’ is during the week-ends taken along a small river that flows through our small town. This routine was established because of the town itself being inundated with motor bikes and their riders during week-ends. Milo has a ‘thing’ about motor bikes which through the years we haven’t been able to solve, no matter how many dog psychology books we have read, or trained him to accept motor bikes. He just goes ballistic. Most of the motor bikes are being driven by pre-coronary failure bearded middle-aged men on their last hurrah before the motor bike gets replaced by the mobility walker.

We broke with this river walk tradition, and took Milo to town last week-end. The weather was pleasant with the sun demurely casting a nice glow amongst the oaks and birches planted in the town square. The town square is surrounded by enough shops and cafeteria to give it an almost European feel of a community at ease enjoying a Sunday without guilt.

As we started to get a bit hungry I suggested we might get something to eat. We sometimes go the whole hog and order ‘lunch’, mainly at Thai restaurants of which Bowral sports a couple.  Depending on the level of hunger, we also, at times, just grab a sandwich or share a plate of fish and chips. This time however, like a bolt out of the sky, Helvi said; ‘I might get a meat pie’. One has to understand that Helvi in all her past septuagenarian years never ever had a meat pie. She took one look at a meat-pie back in 1965 after our arrival in Australia as a married couple, and almost fainted. ‘How could you have shown me that’, she asked? I explained to her that my first experience of Australia was the meat pie. Years before our marriage and as a young 16-year-old newly arrived from Holland, I worked in factories sweeping and cleaning but also ordering lunches for the workers. The main lunch orders were meat pies and bottles of Fanta soft drinks. I was amazed at the conspicuous wealth shown of Australia already then. At times, half eaten pies were thrown out, just like that! Can you imagine? To be able to afford throwing out food surely was the epitome of a belching opulence and wealth. I might have had trouble then in accepting this new cultural discovery but put it down as proof of Australia being everything that we had been told. Not exactly streets paved with gold, but at least with a thick runny brown gravy bravely encased in a brown baked crust.

After Helvi’s declaration and intention to eat a meat pie, I could hardly contain myself. For the first time too, ever! I asked her what changed her mind. She said; The shop advertises that their meat-pies have won many ribbons at the yearly Sydney’s Easter Show. This show is Australia largest agricultural event. A competition of all agricultural products imaginable, even those that are unimaginable. A rich yearly kind of carnival where kids pester their parents to visit, mainly to get their hands on ‘show bags’. Show bags are made to corrupt kids into eating sugar and contain amongst other, Coca-Cola, Mars Bars, Violant crumble, sickening lollies, fizzy powders and much more. After a day of murderous mayhem, the exhausted mothers and kids used to be able to get relief at Bex , Vincent APC and other nauseous and headache relieving medication bars near the exit. I kid you not. They were called BARS!

Anyway, the pie shop is called ‘The Gumnut’ and the windows are full of Easter show ribbons and awards proving their meat-pies ‘year in year out’, are indeed the best in Australia. The meat-pie judging is done by seven pie experts on a podium in clear sight of judges, all in white garb and donning white caps. Gloved fingers prod the pies for buoyancy, firmness, springiness, before actual sampling. It is an exhausting all day affair. The public, including nervous nail-biting pie enthusiasts are seated in the special arena where the judging takes place. We know how involved this all can be because we used to show our finest alpacas at the Easter-show. (Sadly, we never won a ribbon.) It turns out, according to the ribbons shown in this Bowral pie shop, that their pies are the best.

And this, dear readers was the reason that Helvi for the first time ever had a meat-pie. She loved it. ‘Real beef, she exclaimed’!

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34 Responses to “A surrender to the Meat pie.”

  1. Yvonne Says:

    We have a Gumnut pie shop at Bright, also Yackandandah. I wonder if they’re the same mob? Darn good pies.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dorothy Brett Says:

    We have a German pie and cake shop in Umina on the central coast, called Bremen’s (very Germanic) and he boasts that he wins the Easter show for meat pies. Not so fond of the pies but his cakes are mouth-wateringly gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Oh yes, German and Dutch bakers make very good cakes. We have gone off cakes. In our cupboard is still a Christmas cake in its cloth inside a tin. We also have very old biscuits that we haven’t thrown out yet, including speculaas. Milo doesn’t eat them either.

      Like

  3. auntyuta Says:

    What about the pies at the Robertson Pie Shop? I find them delicious for the meat is soft and without any nasty pieces in it! And the crust is thin and crispy. I like spicy, this is why I always ask for a curry pie, and I use some tomto sauce on it. I generally am very fussy about eating meat. I never eat poultry, or pork, or mutton/lamb. Mostly I like to eat vegetarian. But, so far I always liked to eat a curry pie from the Robertson Pie Shop! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • berlioz1935 Says:

      Why don’t we try the Bowral pie shop one day?

      Liked by 2 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, that would be nice, Berlioz. We could have a nice pie time. The Bowral pie shop at week-ends gets a large queue spilling over along the footpath with customers waiting patiently for their turn. Many come from Sydney.
        The Apple/peach/apricot Danish’ are also very good, especially for the sweet lovers.

        Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, I remember the pies at the Robertson pie shop. I did not see or remember any Show ribbons on the windows but I know that the motor bike clubs like to stop over for a pie.
      At the Easter show they might well have lots of different categories of pie competitions. Potato, apple, beef, lamb, chicken and many more. I am not one way or the other when it comes to pies.
      I have never made a pie. But at times a rhubarb-apple crumble did hit the mark very nicely.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Robert Parker Says:

    I ate English-style savory pies when I was in college – a semester in Hull, Yorkshire – and they were great! I think the shop was just called “The Hull Pie” and had dessert pies, too, so basically you never had to leave. It was a huge relief from eating my own cooking.
    One of my grandmothers used to make “chicken pot pie,” which is really kind of a Pennsylvania Dutch stew, with lots of vegetables and square noodles (instead of dumplings or spaetzle), and not usually done in a pie crust, just a big casserole dish, although she usually put a dough lid on top. They were delicious. I’m glad your wife is a convert!

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Well, Helvi had one pie only so far, Robert, but it is a good beginning. She liked it very much. The beef was real and in solid squares. It was not runny which she always thought looked revolting. She has seen people with a pie who had the slurry run down their chin and drip onto their clothes.

      There are also pea pies which I never had. Another food that is almost an institute in Australia is the Lamington. This is a kind of spongy cake surrounded by soft chocolate and dipped in coconut sprinkles. I don’t think we have ever been tempted but many like it.

      My mothers best dish was pea soup with rookworst. We loved it, especially on cold winter evenings.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Robert Parker Says:

        I love pea soup, too. Sometimes my folks make it with 1/2 peas, 1/2 lentils, ham bones, and sage sausage. They have excellent pea soup in Quebec, they put in some salt pork, and yellow peas, so it’s a different color, but delicious.

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  5. freefall852 Says:

    My pie story..: I worked for several years with this Pommy bloke who told of his first encounter with an Aust’ pie seller..it being the old “Cowleys Pie Cart” parked up there outside the Adelaide Railway Station back in the sixties…This bloke, coming from the Old Dart and being used to many varieties of meat-pie fillings, quietly stepped up to the counter at a rush-hour moment and politely enquired of the chap…:
    “What’s in your pies?”…to which the obviously bust attendant replied testily..:
    “If I told you that, you wouldn’t eat them!”
    Of course, any aged South Aussie will have a tale to tell of Cowleys famous; “Pie Floater”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, there are some tales about dodgy pies. It wasn’t unusual for workers to try and put the remnants of a pie down some unfortunate apprentice overalls. For some reason, the poor apprentice was often the victim of some cruel jokes played out on factory floors. It wasn’t nice nor funny.

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      • freefall852 Says:

        The “Pie Floater” is a meat pie “floating” in a wide-brimmed , shallow bowl, on a thick concoction of green-pea soup base…a generous dollop of red tomato sauce gives the touch of lively colour to the already appetizing sight…It must be mentioned that such a dish served to one after pub closing hours has all the equivalent “healing compounds” of a compination of half-dozen “Barocca” tablets, a raw egg sucked through a hole in the shell and gargled with a mix of yoghurt/milk compound before a stiff workout on track or field.

        I have to confess that the above is mere hearsay to myself, never having got past first viewing of the proffered “delight”!

        Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I don’t think I will ever have enough courage to eat a ‘floater’. The name itself conjures up drownings or suffocations. The English cuisine is not the gastronomical equivalent of the French, Italian or Asian cuisine, is it?
      Of course, in England there is no greater delight than eating cold cabbage while standing in a draught, and studying the gas bill at the same time..

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      • freefall852 Says:

        ” Of course, in England there is no greater delight than eating cold cabbage while standing in a draught, and studying the gas bill at the same time..”…You see, Gerard…THAT is the beauty of the intellectual mind..

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  6. shoreacres Says:

    Chicken pot pies were staples when I was growing up, and a great treat. They were made like a regular pie — double crusted — and they were delicious. We never bought them at a shop, though. Mama made them, and taught me the tricks, and I still will produce one from time to time, although only in the winter. Funny, how some foods as winter foods and some are summer foods. Pasta salads are for summer, pot roast and chicken pot pie for winter.

    The great discovery I made after moving to Houston involved a different sort of meat pie — the empanadas of countries south of here. My favorites are the Argentinian: beef with black olives and onions, spinach and cheeses, and so on. They make sweet ones, too, and there’s nothing better than one (or two) of each for a lunch.

    Liked by 3 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I cant’ say that chicken pies have ever taken off in Australia. I often cook chicken but mainly in curries, or, as fillets on the barbeque. My favourite roast is a lamb and spinach curry with lots of turmeric and curry paste… Garam masala, tomatoes and coconut milk.
      Our grandkids love it and left overs improve with age.

      Yes, our meals in Argentina we remember fondly. You know, they start going out when we turn off the lights and turn in.
      We came close to selling up and moving to Buenos Aires. We loved it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    HA! I love this! YAY, Helvi! Way to go! And, YAY, meat pie! 😀
    We should all get “wild” and try something we’ve rejected trying in the past! 😉
    Hmm…wonder what we’d all chose?!?!
    I love savory pies more than dessert pies!
    HUGS to you and Helvi!!! 🙂
    PATS and RUBS to Milo!!! 🐶

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Just now we have come back from another Gumnut-shop pie eating afternoon. We took Milo who had to share the bits and pieces with a whole army of sparrows keen to peck at the bits of pie-crust that blew off our able.
      It was the real price winning pie experience again. You wonder how those Easter Show pie judges feel at the end of the day, tasting pies non-stop. Are they like wine judges and spit the samples of pie out in a bucket. For the buoyancy test they put the pie in a bucket of water. If it floats above the half way mark, the fat content is too high.
      The mind boggles, Carolyn.
      Hugs,
      Gerard

      Liked by 2 people

  8. petspeopleandlife Says:

    I have a feeling that I have missed out on a good bit of rather fine eating since I have never traveled outside of the states no do I eat anything furred. I am not sure if a “regular” meat pie can be found aside of the ones made by folks of the Latin American persuasion. The meat pies sound super delicious, though. I have known for many years that meat pies are more or less a staple dish in Europe. I agree with Linda about the chicken pot pies. I too enjoyed those as a youngster.

    I am curious- do eating establishments allow pets to come inside or do you eat outdoors in a patio setting?

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Ivonne. Pets are allowed to eat at cafes at outside patios. We had an Italian friend who used to take his pet python to the café, much to the amusement of our grandsons who had befriended the python.

      We never sampled pies in Europe or South America.
      There are only two foods I can’t eat. One is vegemite and the other lumpy porridge.

      When my mother finally was brave enough to buy a jar of vegemite and opened it in the late 1950’s, the whole family ran outside, almost ready to call the police. It is so brown in colour and looks like something taken out of a hospital bin not unlike post-colonoscopy swabs.

      I will never surrender to Vegemite.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. rangewriter Says:

    Oh my. I can’t think of a meat pie without thinking of that demon barber of Fleet Street, ol’ man Sweeney Todd! That pie does look pretty yummy though. I take it Milo survived his stroll with the motor bikes?

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, that is a most unfortunate association to the meat pie. And after reading the story again I might just give meat pies a but of a lull. I won’t tell Helvi though, now that she has shown such bravery.

      Yes, Milo is getting older and his explosive rages against motor bikes have abated a bit. We all become more tolerant with age, don’t we?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. rangewriter Says:

    Indeed, don’t mention Sweeney to Helvi!
    Do we get more tolerant with age or just lose the acuity in our ears?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. freefall852 Says:

    Helvi’s delighted exclamation of “real beef!” in her pie…brings to mind a local butcher trading in Port Augusta back in the seventies who, using a newly adopted method of advertising on the popular “T” shirt, gave out freebies of the same with the logo / motto of his business proudly advertising his wares printed on the back ..: “I was raised on Jack’s Meat!”….”Jack” being the local butcher in question…Now..I don’t know if any double entendre was intended, or if it was just an innocent statement advertising a well known fact of that local trader…but I do not see that once popular meat industry slogan used on television adverts in Aust’ for many years…”Feed the man meat”…I suspect such a statement would not survive either the sexist elitism of such a comment , nor the sexual innuendo implied…innocently or otherwise..if used in relation to encouraging women to consume more of the product.

    But anyway..it was good to see that Helvi enjoyed the pie.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Big M Says:

    Kudos to Helvi for indulging in such a culinary delight.

    We rarely eat pies, but on our recent sojourn to Hobart, deviated from our usual practice by having oysters and beer for breakfast then Wallaby pie for lunch, with a breakfast of scallop pies the next morning. absolutely beautiful!

    We are back to more frugal fare on the mainland.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. freefall852 Says:

    My wife; Irene just made this “Grated quince preserve” from the Tess Mallos cookbook recipe…and by keeerist!..it is fantastic!…like a Greek “turkish delight”…but not as sweet and with the almond…mmmmmm!

    Like

  14. Forestwood Says:

    Everyone it seems has their favourite pie shop and some years back, we found one too. Our exchange students from Scandinavia loved them and it was the one thing that they asked to be served when they returned for a second or third visit to Australia.

    Like

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