Most Americans have never had a good meat/savory pie. Why? I don’t really know, but yesterday I was in Seattle and drove by a restaurant named Pie. I nearly drove off the road turning my head to see if they had meat pies or if it was just another attempt to miniaturize a dessert food and sell it to me with a cup of $5 coffee. It was not. I turned my vehicle around, decided to eat lunch an hour before I had planned and soon found myself trying to decide which savory pie I was going to order.
When I lived in New Zealand for a year I discovered meat pies and when I say I discovered them I mean I discovered them like Columbus discovered America. Meat pies had always been there (or at least as long as I had been alive which is all it takes to exist forever in my book) but I discovered how tasty meat pies were at my school: Mount Roskill Grammar. A few of my mates (that’s what we call each other in NZ) bought meat pies at the little food stand in the courtyard where seagulls pooped on everyone and there was a large painted sign on the roof of the school building that said, “Yankee Go Home.” I think the sign was meant for someone else and it never really bothered me because after being in NZ for a week I considered myself a Kiwi because I learned to say “Mate” and took a liking to tea and piekelts. Anyway, I ate my first meat pie (yes, I had eaten the American version of a meat pie: the awful pot pie) and decided that these New Zealanders had discovered the perfect way to eat a meal, put it in a crust and make it delicious.
When I returned to NZ a few years later, savory pies were on my list of things to eat. This list included anything less than $2. Around the corner from where I put in some time (we won’t call it working because that sounds like I would need a Visa to do something like that) was a pie shop. They had a metric ton of pies: Chicken and cheese, steak and bacon, lamb, bacon and egg, chicken curry, steak and mushroom, chicken and mushroom… Each day during a little break from my activities I walked to the corner and ate two meat pies, my goal was to try all the good sounding ones and even a couple bad sounding ones. I ate many, many pies during breaks from activities.
So yesterday when I saw the pie shop, my heart did a little leap, I carefully turned my car around, found a free parking space, and scampered into the pie shop. The variety was limited: Chicken, beef, pork, steak and peppers, bacon and egg, and then several vegetarian flavors that I ignored, but the three pies I ate were all good.
Why aren’t there pie shops on corners all over America? What is wrong with us? There are four terrible Mexican restaurants in every city in America, but trying to find a pie shop is like trying to find a teenager that doesn’t say “like” every other word. Come on America! We can do better. I propose that we set a goal to be the #1 meat pie producing nation in the world within five years. I don’t think there is a great deal of competition out there. If we can map the human genome, fly to the moon, and spend more money than all the rest of the world on defense (weapons) then surely we can lead the world in meat pie production. Don’t do it for me, do it for the millions of Americans who have never had the pleasure of a great meat pie.