Monday, June 05, 2006

Dear Diary,

My quest for the ultimate pie continues, unabated, despite the ongoing disappointments and setbacks. Today, Diary, I'm going to recap both the high and low points this journey has taken me through, and reflect. Where am I going? Where have I been? Where did this all begin? I believe it all started that fateful day at Alpine Toboggan Park.

Yes, Diary, that's where we were that sunny spring day; I remember it all too well. And if I hadn't bought that damned soy cheese, all of this may never have begun. Small children were pushed aside in our enthusiasm to tear down that ever so fun hill on our metal
sleds. They were later taunted. Popsicles may have been stolen off the smaller ones. We retired, victorious, to our BBQ luncheon where Fandango BBQ'd like a gloriously crowned king, and served us all our fare. He BBQ'd my soy-burger. It didn't look any better, or tastier once BBQ'd. He tried to shape it into a more burger-ly shape. It sort of crumbled into a soy-heap on the BBQ plate. He put another soy-pattie on there, and this time tried to garnish it with soy-cheese. It still didn't look anything like appetising food. I resigned myself to this fact, and took a bite. I spat the bite out. I tried a nibble without the soy-cheese, which had just attempted to assassinate my tastebuds, and the results were no better. I looked at my soy-food in despair. I gave Fandango permission to use remaining soy-food to decorate the shelter we stood under. I picked up a garlicy, tasty rissole, and with two words, 'Fuck it.', I devoured the meaty delight; And another. Then another still. There was celebration, and seemingly as ritual, more children were scared & taunted. Several years of vegetarianism, gone in one tasty treat, followed with the simple words, 'Shit - don't tell mum.'

Yadda, yadda, yadda, and now I like pies.

Anyway, enough of that crap. I like pies. I love good pies. And now I'm going to share my pie themed adventures with you.

Mrs Macs Famous Meat Pie - Somewhere in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne

Now, I can't say I spend a lot of time in the Western Suburbs - you know, not being a fan of industrial ports and all - but the last time I was out there, I was on the go and decided to pick up a service station pie. A bol
d move, yes, but a necessary one. I've had Mrs Mac's meat pies before, and while they're nothing special, they're generally fairly edible. This one was not. Why? Because despite the outside being hot, the entire innards were a stone cold mush of mince and gravy. Errrrghhh.

Note to self: Always be sure of heat of pie, even if this means pre-purchase fondling of said pie.

Pie w/ Mushy Peas - Circular Quay, Sydney
When last in Sydney, Fandango and I continually heard reference to 'pie with mushy peas'. Needless to say, we were intrigued. We got a recommendation on where to find 'the best pie with mushy peas' from a friend who turned out to be directionally retarded. We tried to walk through the botanical gardens to said location, but all we found were cops, fences, federal co
ps, and cop-placed spy cameras attached to temporary fencing. Oh, and tents full of more cops, some bearing dogs, some bearing horses. After a long trek and an small incident where a cop took exception to Fandango's general existence, we decided to turn around and head back to circular quay, and just get the fucking pie there given some shops advertised it in a meal-deal thingo.

We sat down and eagerly awaited our delicious treat, mushy peas and pie! Now, I'm not sure either of us had really eaten mushy peas
before, but my thinking at least went something along the lines of 'Peas are good. Mashed potato is good. Mushy peas must be good!' Somehow, we were sortof right, but still very, very wrong. The pies arrived, liberally covered in mushy peas and gravy. Our Indonesian guest was so amazed that she actually took photos of the pies! Fandango & I tucked right in, with enthusiastic declarations of 'mmm!!!' and 'good!'. By the time we'd finished about half of it though, the situation had changed a little. The pie was good, but the peas were eaten sparingly, with as much gravy and other shit we could fit on our forks at any given time. It was the only way it could remain edible.

We spent the rest of the afternoon with mushy peas poisoning.

Traveller Pie - 7/11's Melbourne Wide
On the tw
o occassions I've eaten this pie (the pepper steak variety), I've decided they're the greatest idea ever... the shape is perfect, they're convenient, they're cheap, they're available everywhere, and they're the tastiest thing ever. On both of those occassions, I've started talking to the person next to me about what a great thing the Traveller Pie is, that's how good they are. However, I am yet to try one while sober enough to drive. Other good bits of tasty to be found from the Sev when inebriated include jamball donuts, slurpies, and of course, the humble hotdog. Once again, I cannot attest to the quality of any of these fine products while sober.

Beef & Guiness Pie - some pub, somewhere I can't remember.
If you ever come across a pie with this title, purchase it - if made correctly this is the actual pie of the gods. 'Nuff said.

Lamb & Mint Pie - Some fucking cafe, Auckland Airport, NZ.
This was a poor experience from the start. The staff had trouble understanding my particular brand of English. They ignored my order. They eventually took my order and charged me approxiamtely the sum of money required for a return trip for two to the moon.They then sent me to the 'bar' end of t
heir counter to recieve my paid-for pie. The guy staffing the bar just looked confused. Approximately three hours later, they gave me my fucking pie.

As I walked back towards the table my beloved was perched at, I removed my pie from its bag. I bit into it. I pondered as to where the filling might be. I dropped the pie, maybe a touch heavily, on the table, and proceeded to disassemble the pie. I might have been giving it a stern talking to at the time. My investigation revealed a whole three s
mall cubes of meat in what appeared to be a thick-ish, opaque brown water. I crushed my pie. The people at the neighbouring table moved away, hurriedly escorting their son. My beloved told me to calm down, as I attempted to discuss the sheer nerve of the dicks in the cafe selling somethat was clearly not a pie, at far above standard pie-prices, as a pie to a captive audience. By this point, I had squeezed the 'pie' into a pastry ball and had thrown it at a bin. My beloved ushered me out of the area. I glared, nastily, at the pie retailer. I may also have glared with words. Fucking New Zealand.

Which leads me onto another rant - how fucking difficult is it to make a pie, anyway? I once had a pie that actually had
two pastry-shells. It was ridiculous. At first I felt somehow priveleged. Then I realised that pie pastry really isn't that good. So, how the hell do you end up with two pie bottoms? I'd blame machine fault, but it was from a fucking bakery. My father's a baker, and I think I can say in all honesty that you don't have to grow up around bakehouses to realise that two pastry shells in a pie tin is a very fucking obvious mistake to spot. I mean, how the hell do you put pastry in the same metal tin twice? The answer is of course, you fucking can't, because there's already pastry in the tin on the second application. Seriously, unless they're taking equal opportunities to new and cruel extremes by placing blind people in industrial kitchens filled with lots of generally burny and arm removey equipment, I can't see how it happened. Maybe they're employing monkeys. I dare'nt go back there lest I find a solid monkey-crap filling in said pies.

It just can't be that hard to get the filling equation right, either. I mean, it's meat, and it's gravy. You cook it up in a big pot until it resembles a stew. Then you fill your pie casings with it. Not rocket science. It's not a fucking chop surrounded in water. It's not something that should be able to be drunk through a straw. Get it fucking right!

As far as condiments/general food-accessories go, this is easy. Peas (of the unmushed variety) are good, as are chips. I'm still undecided on South Austr
alia's Pie Floater - I mean, it looks foul, but it does seem to be a workable improvement to the mushy peas option... but then again, nothing good come from SA, except for these. If you're going for the pie-as-a-snack option, go with the failsafe tomato sauce. And don't be one of those wankers who sticks the sauce nozzle into the pie to distribute. It's fucking gross & unnecessary. Meat gets stuck in the sauce bottle nozzle and it's just generally foul. Wankers.


Fandango Jones said...

Haha! I'd forgotten about the soy-flinging-fun had at that park! I daresay that there is still a lump of soy-based goop stuck in the roof nail-strips of that particular BBQ hut. We should go back and investigate... with fire.

I noticed you didn't mention just how tricky and complex it can be to access the hotdogs from 7-11, let along putting them together =P
A story for another day, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Last pie I made was filled with meat and cheese, heaps of cheese! So tasty!

BTW Those frog cakes from Adelaide are delicious!

kit said...

around these parts of the world fruit pies take presedence over meat pies.

Fandango Jones said...


Kipper said...

Frog cakes...
In France they have chocolate frog cakes and pink pig cakes. They're covered with a pink marzipan 'skin' with chocolate facial features and chocolate cream inside.

The don't have pies though. Unless you count terrine baked in pastry.

Joanne said...

If you're looking for good pie you gotta go to northern England. Don't go to the south though, too dry and shitty.