Says the Pie Man: Pies & Culture.
"Remember, never trust a skinny pie man!"
Some of you I see regularly in the café, others I see out and about in Windsor Terrace, where I’ve lived for twelve years. But I don’t often get the chance to share the story of how I came to be living in the Northern Hemisphere with a passion for spreading the gospel of the meat pie. Bear with me while I tell you my tale of odd jobs, soul-searching, and achieving success on the five-pie-a-day-diet.
After two weeks of working the AM shift as a taxi driver in NYC, September 11 happened. Before this, I had been living in California & Oregon, biding my time in the corporate world, dreaming of writing a book, and generally feeling pretty adrift. New York can make you feel more adrift than anywhere else on earth—especially after a tragedy—but it can also give you a sense of belonging you never knew you could feel. I immediately swapped the taxi gig to become a manager of the counselors working directly with survivors at one of the disaster assistance centers (I had received my Master’s in Psychology back in New Zealand).
But after a year I was completely drained—emotionally and mentally. I needed the comforts of home. Some people need to spend 40 days and 40 nights in the desert for answers, others need to sit under a tree and meditate all night long. I had to eat five meat pies a day for several months to attain enlightenment and discover that the answer to every question is “meat pies.” I knew my duty was to return to my adopted hometown and share the love that is the humble yet mighty meat pie.
After a crash course in pie-making with some of my favorite pie men in New Zealand, I came back to New York, opened DUB (Down Under Bakery) Pies in 2003, and have been bringing the ultimate comfort food to the masses ever since.
I don’t just want to make pies because they’re tasty and remind me of home. The beauty of a meat pie is that it can be eaten down the pub with your friends while you unwind over a match, keep you warm while you walk around the park with a loved one, or shared with your six-year-old who invariably ends up with crumbs all over his face. All the jobs I’ve had have been about bringing joy and comfort to peoples’ lives—from radio DJ to counselor—but this one has been the most meaningful. Food feeds the soul, even more so if it’s a delicious meat pie.
A Story Told In New Zealand Slang (*translation guide below)
Guest Blog by Anna Orchard
So, there you are, knackered after a long work-week, your team has just lost in the footie and all your mates have scarpered for the weekend, they'll not be back for yonks. Your ex is sending you round the bend and you just want to tell them to rack off. The stroppy sprogs keep throwing a wobbly and the rellies are driving you mad. It's time to get your arse into gear and come to DUB Pies to suss out the best cuppa and savory pies in all of Brooklyn!
Whether you come to DUB every arvo to chat up the server you fancy or you just need to go bush for a while, we suggest grabbing yourself a chook pie to take-away and eat in nearby Prospect Park, but whatever your pie preference you’re sure to have a cracker day 'cos we have heaps to choose from in our selection of delicious meat pies, vege pies, sausage or spinach rolls.
And that's before we even get started about the our now legendary flat whites! Tumeke!
Oh, and don't forget our sweet pies: apple, peach, cherry/rhubarb.
Of course there's always plenty of HP and tomato sauce to go round while you have a cheeky natter with our regulars, listen to some brilliant New Zealand tunes, appreciate our gallery of locals' art-work and recover from the large one you had last night.
You might be in for an ear bashing if you don’t bring home a Lamington for the missus, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
After stuffing your face with a curry vege pie, Anzac biscuits, and Brooklyn’s own Dough doughnuts, you’ll be away laughing. Sweet as.
We’ll have your guts for garters if you don’t come back!
*Kiwi-American Translation Guide
Anzac biscuit: Sweet cookie made with oats, coconut, and golden syrup
Away laughing: No more worries
Chat up: Flirt with
Cheeky: Sassy; A bit rude;
Chur: thanks; cool; sweet; cheers
Cracker: Very good
Cuppa: Hot cup of tea or coffee
Ear bashing: Talking incessantly; won’t shut up
Fancy: Attracted to; have a crush on
Flat white: Double shot of espresso and micro-foam milk served in a ceramic cup
Footie: Rugby game
Go bush: Get away from it all
Guts for garters: In big trouble
Heaps: A lot
Lamington: Australian sponge cake coated in chocolate and coconut
Large one: Big night out
Missus: Wife; girlfriend
Natter: Talk; chat
Rack off: Go away
Reckon: To think
Round the bend: Going crazy
Savory pie: Filling—usually meat, vegetables, and/or potato—wrapped in pastry
Scarpered: disappeared, fled, taken off, left the vicinity
Stroppy: Moody; bad tempered
Suss out: Figure out; sort out; take care of
Sweet as: No problem; all good
Take away: To go
Throw a wobbly: Become angry; have a tantrum
Tomato sauce: Ketchup
If you're not from the lands down under it might be difficult to fully comprehend the importance of the humble savory/meat pie to New Zealand and Australian food culture. To say that a pie is as important a staple down under as pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers are (collectively) to the American food landscape is not at all hyperbole.