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Meat pies & tomato sauce

The Story of the Meat Pie

The Story of the Meat Pie

Pies have been popular in Australia since 1788, becoming a beloved part of Australian culture and providing an Aussie take on takeaways.

This delicious pastry is a staple in Australian cuisine and can be found in almost every corner of the land down under. And what better way to enjoy it than with some tomato sauce, or as we Aussies like to call it, dead horse. But wait, it gets even more "ocker" than that - we actually refer to the pie and sauce combination as a "dog's eye with dead horse." 

Whether it's at the footy match or as a quick lunch on the go, these flaky pastries have been a beloved part of Australian culture for generations. But did you know that Australia has a rich history of pie-making that dates back to the early days of European settlement? 

Origins

Pies were initially introduced to Australia by British settlers back in 1788. In those days, pies were a cheap and easy way to feed hungry families, and they quickly became a popular part of Australian cuisine. In fact, pies were so popular that they became our take on the British tradition of takeaways, providing Aussies with a portable and hearty meal that could be eaten hot or cold.

The First Pie-Makers

As time went on, pie-making techniques evolved and Aussie chefs began to innovate and experiment with new flavours and ingredients. The first Australian pie-makers emerged in the early 1800s, around the same time that wheat was first being milled in the country. By the 20th century, pie production had become a booming industry, with companies like Sergents producing pies that were almost identical to the ones we know and love today.

Australian Pie Folklore

One of the most fascinating stories in Australian pie lore is the tale of the 30,000 pies that were cooked for the opening of Parliament House in Canberra in 1927. Unfortunately, not enough people showed up to the event, so the rumour goes that 10,000 of these delicious morsels were buried under where the Treasury Building now stands. Today, pie production continues to thrive in Australia, with Four & Twenty producing a staggering 50,000 pies per hour.

Evolution of the Pie

While pies have remained a favourite food of Aussies for many years, they have certainly evolved from their humble beginnings. Today, chefs experiment with all sorts of unique flavour combinations and ingredients, from crocodile and kangaroo to more traditional meat fillings. Pies are no longer just made with beef or chicken; lamb, pork and even vegetarian options are now widely available.

With over 270 million pies consumed each year in Australia, it's clear that this beloved food is here to stay. From their origins as a cheap and easy meal for early settlers to their place as a staple of Aussie food culture, pies have a rich history that continues to be celebrated and enjoyed today. So next time you tuck into a piping hot pie at the footy, take a moment to appreciate the tradition and history behind this iconic Australian dish.

So if you're ever in Australia, make sure to try this classic combo and impress the locals with your newfound slang knowledge!

Eating a meat pie in Australia can be an art form and there are several methods people use:

  • Tomato Sauce on Top: Some people put tomato sauce on top of the pie and then just bite into the pie.
  • Poking Holes into the Pie: Some poke holes into the pie and squirt sauce in.
  • With a Knife and Fork: Some people prefer to use a knife and fork, which allows you to dip each bite in sauce.
  • Deconstructed Pie: Some people completely deconstruct a pie before eating it. They take the lid off, put tomato sauce on the meat, eat the meaty insides with a spoon, and then eat the meatless pastry.
  • The Cautious Way: This method involves carefully slipping out a small mouthful-sized portion of the pie from the plastic cover, adding sauce to this part, and biting into it.

However, traditionally, after removing the pastry lid off the pie, Australians squeeze the tomato sauce onto the meat, place the lid back on top, and eat the meat pie carefully – using gravity to ensure no meat spills. Enjoy your pie!

26 Oct 2023

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