Saturday, March 10, 2012

America discovers Oz's tasty pastry

Kony 2012 spread round the globe in a day, but it's taken the Aussie meat pie more than two centuries to get to America.

Hey Adelaide, guess what the latest big thing is in New York. You'll never guess. OK, I'll give you a hint – you guys have known about it for ages. YONKS. I mean seriously, more than a century.

You can eat it. It's good with sauce. South Aussies like it on a plate covered in pea soup. It rhymes with “my”, as in “oh my god, I can't believe Americans have never heard of this before”.

Yes, I'm talking about the humble meat pie.

Not so humble anymore, actually. Since Sydney chain Pie Face opened here in January, the snack has been breathlessly written up in local media and even scored a spot on David Letterman's Late Show.


Meat pies - or as they've been oddly described here, “hand-held pot pies” - are a complete novelty to Americans who are more used to the fruit-filled dessert version.

“Pot pies” - a dish of stew covered with a sheet of puff – are popular, but for some reason no one ever thought to do away with the pot and make the whole thing out of pastry. Given that 99.9 per cent of things are improved by the addition of more pastry, I would have thought that was a no-brainer, but there you go.

For the record, Letterman loved his pie, not to mention the bizarre chocolate-dipped, coconut covered Aussie sponge cake he got as a bonus treat.

Pies and lamingtons aren't the only Aussie foods to have caught on here. Last month a local TV news channel reported on the newest cafe trend to hit Brooklyn - the “babycino”, while New York bible Time Out magazine ran an excited article about the “flat white” which it described as “Australia's answer to the latte”. Pfft. We have lattes TOO, actually, New York. (Another article about the trend appeared in New York magazine)


This is a revolutionary concept in New York.


(As a side note, I can attest that the flat white fad is definitely still in its infancy – ask for a “white coffee” in this city and at best you'll get a blank look. At worst, people will think you're being weirdly racist.)

I'm fascinated by this celebration of what, to me, are fairly mundane foods because it proves what a geographically-specific experience eating is.

Thanks to the internet you can see the latest fashions in Paris from a backyard in Beachport.

You can watch a trailer for the newest Hollywood blockbuster from a living room in Loxton, and download the hottest new UK band from a pub in Penola.

But until teleportation is invented, the only way people can truly be exposed to new and different foods without actually travelling is if immigrants physically bring them across the border.

The good thing about this is it's one small barrier to the world becoming a big, boring, homogenised society.

The downside is that you can't get a Cuban sandwich in Adelaide. And believe me, Adelaide, you want that sandwich. Maybe I'll bring it back with me.

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This article was first published in the City Messenger and Eastern Courier on March 8, 2012.



1 comment :

  1. Costco carries Aussie Pies! Or, at least they did in CA in the mid to late 90s. I haven't been to one in ages. I practically lived on those for quite a while. Mmm, Aussie Pies.

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