Friday, February 8, 2013

{review} australian pie

I'm off on a road trip today: Adelaide to, eventually, Dunkeld in Victoria, but via a very roundabout route so that I can tick off as many Big Things of Australia as I can: Big Olive, Big Ram, Big Orange (my favourite, but sadly closed), Giant Koala, etc. I'm also going to revisit a childhood favourite, the terrifying Bunyip of Murray Bridge... 


By way of travel research I have been reading about meat pies, both historical and practical. Turn away now if you don't fancy a pie. 


Robert Macklin The Great Australian Pie: a history and culinary adventure (2012)

Robert Macklin, perhaps better known as a historical and a biographer of prime ministers, Jesus, and Australia at war (versatile guy!), has produced a little account of the meat pie's importance in his life and in Australian culture: "its glowing golden crust, its mouth-watering aroma of baking pastry and rich beef filling drifts across the inner landscape of Australian psyche." 

Allegedly Australians eat 240 million pies a year! 

This is a light read, but contains some meaty observations about the delicacy as well as a bit of pie p*rn:
The object of our desire is round, oval, square or even oblong. The pastry lid is probably a little flaky but not so much that the flakes will break away and stick around the mouth. The base is firm and beautifully smooth to the touch, lighter in colour than the top, the pastry shorter and more solid. The sides rise from a corner curve and the pie sits neatly in the hand snuggled alongside thumb and forefinger, the base resting on the long middle finger to hold it steady. Slowly the true pie lover raises it to the mouth, breathing in that glorious aroma to the trembling taste buds, selecting just the spot to take that first gorgeous bite that will open up the little treasure house of flavour and…oh, the wonder of it, that first taste of luscious minced beef and gravy lapping round the tongue and mixed with the buttery pastry that almost melts in the mouth. Oh heaven…
I feel able to answer any questions put to me about the pie now, and there is even an accompanying phone 'app' so that one can track down the nearest prize-winning Aussie pie on the go. (This book is only available as an ebook, I think)


Tony Clancy & Paul Clancy The Pie Buyer's Guide to Australia (2012) 

Practical research obviously has to be done on the ground. Thankfully these blokes have done the hard yards, and I am hoping that The Pie Buyer's Guide to Australia will direct me to the best pies on my travels. Sometimes one is also recommended another delicacy (I have a keen eye for vanilla slices [a custard filled mille-feuille]), but basically it is pies: "a good meat pie has the 'wolf' factor; a combination of characteristics that make it so irresistible that it is wolfed down immediately, straight from the paper bag on the footpath outside the bakery." 

The authors travelled 1000s of kilometres and ate many, many, many pies in their search for the best. They even resisted the temptations of more gourmet-type pies in their hunt for meat pies and meat pies alone (I'm a bit of a fan of beef and mushroom, myself). Each pie is ranked from one to five 'pies' and photographed. I've already discovered a four-pie ranked pie just down the road from my house that I'd never have known about without this book. 

Let us just say that this book is not going to be good for my waistline, but oh what fun I shall have!

6 comments:

  1. Enjoy your big trip!

    I haven't heard of the Big Olive before. Will have to look for that one.

    When I was a kid we had a book full of Big Things. I wonder if it is still at my mother's house somewhere. It would be very dated now though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was brilliant, Marg - we saw (in order) the Big Olive [Tailem Bend: lots of lovely tastings], Big Ram [Karoonda], Giant Pelican [Loxton], Big Orange [Berri], Giant Murray Cod [Swan Hill], Big Koala [Dadswell's Bridge], Big Wool Bales [Hamilton], and the Big Lobster [Kingston]. Best longish weekend EVER!

      Delete
    2. There's a big olive in Tailem Bend? I just drove through there twice and never noticed! lol

      Delete
    3. Yes, it's quite close to the highway, though we approached from town, past the golf course. The tasting - oils, olives, dukkah - was really good fun. It is part of a factory, though as it only works at the harvest, it was pretty quiet there.

      Delete
  2. An interesting post Vicki. Pies are well and truly off the menu for me as part of my diet. But I have lost 14 pounds in 2 months so the lack of pastry is clearly having an effect!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Certainly after a couple of pies, one never wants to see another one again, so I guess it will work for me as a diet! (And congratulations on having a lot more willpower than me!)

      Delete

{READ IN 2014}

  • [K = Kindle]
  • 140.
  • 139.
  • 138.
  • 137.
  • 136.
  • 135. Some Must Watch - Ethel Lina White [K]
  • 134. Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone - J. K. Rowling [re-read]
  • 133. Salad Days - Ronnie Scott [essay; K]
  • 132. The Masqueraders - Georgette Heyer [re-read; K]
  • 131. Charlie M - Brian Freemantle [K]
  • 130. The Thirteenth Pearl - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 129. Mystery of Crocodile Island - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 128. The Strange Message in the Parchment - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 127. The Sky Phantom [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 126. The Secret of the Forgotten City [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 125. Mystery of the Glowing Eye [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 124. The Double Jinx Mystery [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 123. The Secret of Mirror Bay [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 122. The Crooked Banister [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 121. The Mysterious Mannequin [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 120. The Invisible Intruder [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 119. The Spider Sapphire Mystery [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 118. The Clue in the Crossword Cipher [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 117. The Mystery of the 99 Steps [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 116. The Phantom of Pine Hill [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 115. The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 114. The Moonstone Castle Mystery [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 113. The Clue of the Dancing Puppet [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 112. The Mystery of the Fire Dragon [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 111. The Clue in the Old Stagecoach [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 110. The Secret of the Golden Pavilion [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 109. The Haunted Showboat [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 108. The Hidden Window Mystery [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 107. The Witch Tree Symbol [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 106. The Scarlet Slipper Mystery [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 105. The Ringmaster's Secret [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 104. The Clue of the Velvet Mask [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 103. The Mystery at the Ski Jump [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 102. The Clue of the Black Keys [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 101. The Secret of the Wooden Lady [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 100. The Clue of the Leaning Chimney [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 99. The Ghost of Blackwood Hall [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 98. The Clue in the Old Album [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 97. The Mystery of the Tolling Bell [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 96. The Clue in the Crumbling Wall [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 95. The Secret in the Old Attic [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 94. The Clue in the Jewel Box [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 93. The Quest of the Missing Map [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 92. The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 91. The Mystery of the Brass-Bound Trunk [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 90. The Clue of the Tapping Heels [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 89. The Haunted Bridge [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 88. The Whispering Statue [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 87. The Mystery of the Ivory Charm [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 86. The Message in the Hollow Oak [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 85. The Clue of the Broken Locket [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 84. The Password to Larkspur Lane [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 83. The Sign of the Twisted Candles [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 82. Nancy's Mysterious Letter [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 81. The Clue in the Diary [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 80. The Secret of Red Gate Farm [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 79. The Secret of Shadow Ranch [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 78. The Mystery at Lilac Inn [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 77. The Bungalow Mystery [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 76. The Hidden Staircase [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 75. The Secret of the Old Clock [Nancy Drew] - Carolyn Keene [K]
  • 74. Pineapple: A Global History - Kaori O'Connor [K]
  • 73. Pineapple Girl - Betty Neals [re-read; K]
  • 72. Hunting the Wild Pineapple - Thea Astley [K]
  • 71. At the Sign of the Golden Pineapple - M.C. Beaton [K]
  • 70. Minerva - Marion Chesney (aka M.C. Beaton) [K]
  • 69. The Pendragon Legend - Antal Szerb [K]
  • 68. North from Rome - Helen MacInnes [re-read]
  • 67. Modesty Blaise - Peter O'Donnell
  • 66. The Circular Staircase - Mary Roberts Rinehart [K]
  • 65. The West End Front: The Wartime Secrets of London's Grand Hotels - Matthew Sweet
  • 64. Louisiana - Frances Hodgson Burnett [K]
  • 63. The Lost Prince - Frances Hodgson Burnett [K]
  • 62. T. Tembarom - Frances Hodgson Burnett [K]
  • 61. Lucy Carmichael - Margaret Kennedy [K]
  • 60. Love Lessons: A Wartime Journal - Joan Wyndham
  • 59. The Venetian Affair - Helen MacInnes [re-read]
  • 58. The Double Image - Helen MacInnes [re-read]
  • 57. Venetia - Georgette Heyer [re-read; K]
  • 56. Poison in the Pen - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 55. Ladies Bane - Patricia Wentworth [re-read?]
  • 54. Spotlight [a.k.a. Wicked Uncle] - Patricia Wentworth
  • 53. The Benevent Treasure - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 52. The Catherine-Wheel - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 51. The Alington Inheritance - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 50. The Key - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 49. The Watersplash - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 48. Miss Silver Comes to Stay - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 47. The Ivory Dagger - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 46. Miss Silver Intervenes - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 45. Pilgrim's Rest - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 44. The Traveller Returns - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 43. The Case is Closed - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 42. Vanishing Point - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 41. The Chinese Shawl - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 40. Through the Wall - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 39. Lonesome Road - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 38. The Runaways [Linnets & Valerians] - Elizabeth Goudge [K]
  • 37. The Blinded Man [Misterioso]- Arne Dahl [K]
  • 36. Cloak of Darkness - Helen MacInnes [re-read]
  • 35. The Hidden Target - Helen MacInnes [re-read]
  • 34. Sprig Muslin - Georgette Heyer [re-read; K]
  • 33. The Corinthian - Georgette Heyer [re-read; K]
  • 32. The Talisman Ring - Georgette Heyer [re-read; K]
  • 31. The Unknown Ajax - Georgette Heyer [re-read; K]
  • 30. The Quiet Gentleman - Georgette Heyer [re-read; K]
  • 29. Unnatural Death - Dorothy L. Sayers [re-read; K]
  • 28. Want to Play - P. J. Tracy [re-read; K]
  • 27. The ABC Murders - Agatha Christie [re-read; K]
  • 26. Out of the Past - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 25. The Listening Eye - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 24. Brewster's Millions - George Barr McCutcheon [K]
  • 23. A Fair Barbarian - Frances Hodgson Burnett [K]
  • 22. Gimlet: King of the Commandos - Capt. W. E. Johns [re-read]
  • 21. Out of Circulation - Miranda James [K]
  • 20. Beautiful Ruins - Jess Walter [K]
  • 19. The Blank Wall - Elisabeth Sanxay Holding [K]
  • 18. Dumps: A Plain Girl - L. T. Meade [K]
  • 17. The Inconvenient Duchess - Christine Merrill [K]
  • 16. Biggles Takes it Rough - Capt. W.E. Johns
  • 15. Pnin - Vladimir Nabokov [K]
  • 14. The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick [K]
  • 13. Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell [K]
  • 12. The Case of William Smith - Patricia Wentworth [re-read; K]
  • 11. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm - Kate Douglas Wiggin [K]
  • 10. A Sweet Girl Graduate - L.T. Meade [K]
  • 9. A College Girl - Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey [K]
  • 8. The Woman Who Did - Grant Allen [K]
  • 7. The Golden Child - Penelope Fitzgerald [K]
  • 6. Her Father's Name - Florence Marryat [K]
  • 5. They Do It With Mirrors - Agatha Christie [re-read; K]
  • 4. Hallowe'en Party - Agatha Christie [re-read; K]
  • 3. Cards on the Table - Agatha Christie [re-read; K]
  • 2. Dumb Witness - Agatha Christie [re-read; K]
  • 1. Fer-de-Lance - Rex Stout [K]