The H and I were driving to Dunedin. It’s never to early to stop at Jimmy’s Pies - ‘The original kiwi icon’ in Roxburgh. Also home to Roxdale apricots. Sad sad day when they closed their canning factory. Love me a stewed apricot. Love me a pie more.
If it’s Jimmy’s. There was a queue on Thursday 14th July at 11.35am, 2016. Coppers, travellers, pie eaters. I usually get a bacon and egg. A swirly salty mixture of crumbly scrambled lemon coloured curd with chunks of rindless bacon and maybe a pea, encased in soft ‘n crunchy lardy pastry.
Mmmm she was a tough call but, look, it’s a freaky freaky world out there (just watch the news) and it probably isn’t incredibly wise to have all your pies in one basket. I decided to be adventurous. Radical.
I mean pie above! It was past breakfast pie time. It was lunch pie time.
I chose the smoked fish. Oh pie. Its metallic manuka scented Hoki by pokey aroma sunk into every pore of the car’s interior. I buckled up for the ride. Sat in the passenger seat, I nobbled that pie. Biting through mashed tattoe, delicately hand criss crossed with a fork and lightly browned. I munched my snappers down into a stiff white sauce, in which boiled egg and delicate fishy flakes were securely fastened. Down. And beyond. And all around PASTRY. God that whole damn thing was a dish-o-joy nestled in a crisp boat of pastry. Pie ahoy.
‘It could be warmer. But it’s good!’ I purred, not pausing for breath. ‘How’s yours?’
‘Yeah good.’ His was steak ‘n cheese. The coppers’ pie. 'Hot!'
Pie heaven. A duet.
Every mouthful chugged down slowly, thoughtfully, eventually coming to rest in the oceanic depths of my stomach. As if sinking into a storage well far below. For later.
Green grassy scenery with tall trees might have whizzed by but I was blinkered. I had a nosebag on. Pie and I. Together alone. I was elsewhere. I was 12, back in our farm house in Onga Onga. My mum had invited friends for lunch. She was serving her famous fish pie at our highly polyurethaned kauri table. With table mats and napkins and a green salad. Winter sun shone low through a paned window; dust particles danced. A fork lunch. A ladies lunch. My sister and I babysat the twins in the kitchen. Pudding was pavlova with kiwifruit. Mum probably served a nip of her homemade wine in between courses. A Central Hawkes Bay palate cleanser.
The landscape dipped and dived. We past Lawrence. I was still munching. Of all the pies I’ve ever eaten that was the most pie of them all. Smoked Fish - you’ve got to be hungry. I was filling my pipes. In fact, my pipes were blocked to over flowing but I could not stop.
It was a solo pie eating competition. Pie was cheering me on. 'Go!', said pie.
I took a sip of water. Swallowed. I won.
But pie. With pastry. 50 years perfecting. Homemade. ‘Delicious eaten hot or cold’. “Jimmy’s”. A copy editor's nightmare. And situated right beside the St John’s ambulance depot, should you be in need of the defibrillator.
I thought about that pie again when someone on the radio started talking about the New Zealand Pie Awards. Godammit – AWARDS they’re everywhere. And pies. I love it when a rookie wins. I looked up the results. An apprentice baker from Timaru was second runner-up. Julia made the newspaper – because she’s a vegetarian. She won a set of knives, Chelsea products and certificates.’
Oh joy. Oh life. Certificates. And pie.
Please note: contrary to what the paper bag states, my pie was smoked fish in mince clothing.