It has to do with a shameful and, frankly, un-American lack of domestic meat pie accessibility.
Sure, you can wander into any “It’s the Brooklyn of X” neighborhood in America and find some flaky, buttery Aussie-style pies. But it’s nothing like New Zealand, where I spent the holidays visiting my girlfriend. In New Zealand (and I assume Australia, though I never made it farther than the Sydney airport), meat pies are absolutely everywhere. Quality of life is high.
They’re in bakeries—the hipster kind and the old-person kind. They’re under glass in 24-hour convenience stores. They’re appetizers in fancy restaurants. They’re part of a value meal at McDonald’s. One could walk four feet in any direction and find a new meat pie vendor.
But the place I kept going back to was a tiny bakery in Wanaka called the Doughbin. They had about a dozen varieties at any time, priced for $3 US apiece. There was the classic mince—a kind of “mystery meat” whose vague origins are completely forgiven on account of its hot, meaty, cheesy deliciousness. There was a Thai chicken with green curry; Greek-style spinach; Indian butter chicken. They also had bite-size mince pies called “savories” for those times when you weren’t hungry but just wanted the sweet taste of meat pie back in your mouth.
I enjoyed a few pie-centric breakfasts there before going on long hikes. But where the Doughbin really shined was its 24-hour takeaway window. At a certain time of night, the bakery closed up, but a window facing a side street was always open. Drunks gathered round like moths to a flame. That’s how I came to consume one savory, two spinach pies and half of a mince pie standing on a street corner at 3am after having more than a couple drinks.
So, I say to America: how is this not a thing here? It’s cheap. It’s greasy. It’s a carbohydrate filled with meat and cheese. Its ingredients and production methods are somewhat suspect. And it’s best enjoyed in a pleasant state of intoxication. It’s everything we hold dear.
I want meat pies to make America great again.