The Issue of Pie – not just a dessert food!

Note: Sorry for the lateness of this post – it was supposed to happen last week!

a tomato & onion pie for one!

a tomato & onion pie for one!

After returning from my recent trip to Australia, I had a longing for a good meat pie (having enjoyed a couple whilst I was there) – and since you cannot buy a meat pie here in Sherman, Texas, I set about making my own family sized meat pie (I added tomato and onion too, because that’s my favourite).

In America, a meat pie (as an Aussie or Kiwi would think of one) is practically unknown and although pizzas are sometimes referred to as pi’s, a pie in the US is generally of the sweet, dessert variety.

berry pie - courtesy of my friend Becky Goldsmith

berry pie – picture courtesy of my friend Becky Goldsmith

American’s love their pies and the research I have done indicates that there are dozens of favourite varieties including: pecan (definitely a Texan favourite), apple, coconut cream, custard and cream, strawberry, rhubarb, key lime, cherry, Mississippi mud, banana cream, blueberry, lemon meringue, peach, etc., the list goes on. However, in Australia, if you mention pie, most people would conjure up the image of a good old meat pie smothered in tomato sauce (ketchup). And a meat pie has a pastry top as well as a pastry bottom. A true meat pie should not be confused with an American “pot pie” which is served in a crockery pot with a pastry top (not a true pie)! Americans, please be advised –  pies are not just for sweet things and can be equally delicious when filled with savoury flavours (pumpkin and sweet potato don’t count).

One family sized meat pie!

One family sized meat pie!

The meat pie is a staple in Australia – a favourite at all sporting events (as Americans would consume hotdogs at the football, Aussies would eat a hand-held meat pie), it could almost be considered a favourite national dish. The traditional meat pie is made of diced or minced meat and is most often smothered in tomato sauce (ketchup).

Dinner: a slice of meat pie served with veges and a glass of red wine!

Dinner: a slice of meat pie served with veges and a glass of red wine!

Now meat pies are not solely made of beef; in Australia pies often contain other, flavour enhancing ingredients (mushrooms, tomato & onions, cheese, bacon, peas, carrots, etc.) or instead of the traditional beef, the main filling could be lamb, chicken or even seafood. The humble meat pie has come a long way in Australia; there are now many gourmet-type pies. (I should also mention this applies equally in New Zealand – where you can find some mighty fine and delicious pies. I know because I have lived there and enjoyed quite a few).

Meat pies also feature in an iconic jingle to promote Holden cars in Australia (made by GMH, a subsidiary of the US General Motors) “…football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars.” Perhaps Americans would recognise a similar jingle by American Chevrolet: “…baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet”?

Aussies are so passionate about their pies, there is an annual competition to determine the best pies in the land – The Official Great Aussie Pie Competition http://www.greataussiepiecomp.com.au/

Do you have a thought or comment about pies? I’d love to hear it. Post a comment below.

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