Times are tough. Leaders let us down, as do the cream of our sporting crop, but there’s one thing that always remains true. The meat pie.
In this fair sunburnt land we need heroes to ignore, and foodstuffs to admire. For a country that has birthed the lamington, the pavlova and the chiko roll, true icons be stand on the Mount Panorama of things we can truly be proud of. But the meat pie eclipses them truly, the Don Bradman of the uh..pies. And although the Don was actually a bit of a dill in real life, the meat pie sticks to it’s mythical quality. All hail.
But do you know how we came to have them in our everyday lives? I didn’t, so I thought I’d take a look back at the origins of the…wait for it…Aussie meat pie!
The meat pie has been around Australian and New Zealand shores since the mid-1800s. Like the classic dessert, Pavlova, this pastry covered meaty goodness has become a food icon for both neighbouring nations; both sustaining national leading pie manufacturers.
Taking a cue from medieval Europe, who we are told invented the first pie to help preserve and store food, we here did the same. In the settler years, with not many vegetables but an abundance of meat, wheat and dairy, we took the pie making reins and have tried, changed and settled it through the years to make the Aussie pie we know today.
Okay, so for those of you Aussie’s who have somehow never eaten one, let me describe the taste and experience of a meat pie for you. This may or may not come off in a seductive manner, but will surely have you rushing for your nearest pie shop!
Here we go:
You pick up the hot savoury parcel in your eager hands, eyeing the golden flakes of buttery pastry. You lift the hot sauciness to your mouth, but you don’t take a bite. Not yet. Instead, you sit there with your eyes shut, breathing in the aroma of succulent meat and perfectly spiced gravy. Then it happens; the hot pastry hits your lips and the world fades away. All that exists is heaven. Pie heaven that is. Oh God, if you could cry, you would because nothing has ever been this good.
If you weren’t already wondering, yes…I am single.
Interestingly enough, in Australia, almost each state has its own infamous brand of pie. In Victoria, we have the infamous Four’N’Twenty, created by L T McClure in 1947, which has become highly associated with football games. In South Australia, we have Balfours, created in the 1850s; it’s said to be one of the first Australian pies ever made. In Tasmania, we have the National Pie which, unlike its round pie mainland cousins, has become distinct with its rectangular shape – and is delish, I might add. In Western Australia, we have Mrs Mac’s Pies, created by Ken Macgregor in Melbourne in the 1950s. Starting as a small business, he later made the move to WA, and built it up into a nationally loved brand.
Whether the pie you are after is meat or veggie, why not be proud like me – openly pie crazy – and take a bite, look to the sky and say “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi, Oi, Oi!”
Because meat pie, that’s why!
To end this tasty article: a cracker of a recipe I found, which will have you singing the Nom Nom song! Check it out, here!