It was just yesterday that it occurred to me, I had been negligent in my duties as a fair dinkum Aussie bloke for far too long. Too many days have been spent on experimenting with fancy tucker like Thai, Spag Bog or other such boutique cuisine, while ignoring that most important, nay essential, life-giving sustenance for my soul. Yes Dear Reader, I’m dead set embarrassed to announce it’s been at least six months since I had myself a meat pie. I know. I would not blame anyone at all for calling into question my basic Australian maleness.
But I can happily say I have averted that near disaster. A quick drive down the Gold Coast Highway to that Mecca of the Ocker Aussie – The Yatala Pie shop. For those who live outside the general South East Queensland region, just take my word for it, you’ll go a long way for a better pie experience. So we rocked on in and joined the queue that was about as long as Johnny Farnham’s mullet, circa 1988. For most people the long queue would be of some benefit as it would give you time to peruse this fine establishments bill of fare, which is quite substantial. But not me. It will only ever be the one option for me – the plain beef pie.
You can’t improve on perfection, and in my humble opinion perfection was achieved at that moment in time when someone, somewhere in this wide brown land took some minced beef, drowned it in gravy and poured it into a hand-sized pastry and then whacked a lid on it. Job done, no need for anything further. For years people have been trying to improve on this one simple parcel. They chuck bacon into it, they smother it with a layer of mushed peas, chuck mushrooms in it, even a bit of curry, but all for nought. None come up to the pinnacle of gastronomy that is the plain meat pie with a good squirt of tomato sauce on top – the quintessential Aussie delight of a Dog’s Eye with Dead Horse. (For anyone of foreign extraction that may be reading this, dog’s eye is rhyming slang for pie and dead horse is rhyming slang for sauce. Since tighter restrictions came in during the 1990’s, you are very unlikely to find a dog’s eye and/or any part of a horse in your pie. Although there are some dodgy dealers around, so you never know).
Now I know what you’ll be saying, “other countries have their version of meat pies, why do Australians claim them as their own.” And if that is what you think then we can’t be friends. But in response I say unto you “they may have their own version, but we are the only ones who got it right. The Seppos (Americans for those who have not mastered the Aussie vernacular) seem to think only fruit goes into pies, the Pomgolians (English chappies for those who need further explanation as per Seppos) whack a heap of mashed spud on top of theirs and stuff them with left over bits of shepherd, as is my understanding. And the Frogs? The closest they come is the bloody croissant. No wonder they struggle with the odd visitor from Germany.
I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that the humble meat pie has the power to bring peace throughout the world. You may disagree, but just go with me here for a sec. Australia has the meat pie. We’re also a laid back, mainly peaceful, happy go lucky bunch of people. Whereas the Yanks have the highest murder rate in the world, nearly ten times that of their nearest rival. NO PIES. The Middle East has been a dog’s breakfast for centuries. NO PIES. The two greatest tragedies of the 20th Century went down in 1918 and 1939, predominately between the Germans, Frogs, Poms and Ruskies. That’s right – NO PIES. And China? Why are they buying up our ports, houses and energy infrastructure? To improve the Chinese economy? Nah. They don’t have pies. And they’re coming for ours.
So my fellow Australians, as much as we love our little Aussie icon I think the time has come where we can no longer keep the little ripper to ourselves. We need to release it to the wider world so the true potential of this wonderous tucker can be fully realised and world peace can finally be achieved.
Send me a message in the comments box below to let me know of your greatest meat pie dining experience – or your worst. I’ll be interested to know.