MOST of us who minister to cars, trucks, bikes and buses for a living tend to rely heavily on the presence of a good bakery nearby. Mechanics rarely have time for a luxurious sit-down lunch. Baked goods, however, are easily consumed on the go, and are a rare but welcome comfort in a profession where a cup of International Roast might be considered a luxury. They also serve – along with a Big M Iced Coffee – to provide breakfast when late to work, and are essential on any long road trip. Here, then, is my ode to the bakery, and a few tips for how best to approach them.
The most important rule of the lamo is to grab a spare. Buying a single is fraught with danger and just plain silly. Just trust me here and grab lamingtons in pairs.
The pastie is the health food of the bakery. Ordering one makes me feel like Trevor Hendy. It’s the peas. Peas are a superfood and the five or so inside each pastie proves that healthy choices in the bakery do not have to affect taste. Eating two pasties is the best way to double your daily vegetable intake.
THE SAUSAGE ROLL
The perfect breakfast food. The trick to eating a sausage roll is in the way you treat the ends. Some people approach it with the Miss Hilton method and demolish a good length of it straight up. But it is far tastier hitting it broadside and enjoying each crunchy end in two bites. This way you get four crunchy bites per roll.
And let us not forget the delicacy that is the sausage roll in a roll. I’m a fan; as a ‘bakery athlete’ it makes sense to carb-load. But the native home of the sausage roll roll is the tuckshop or truck stop. Taking on the SRR in a bakery setting may take up valuable stomach space that could be better utilised for lamingtons. I’m telling ya, you walk a tightrope trying to work out ‘best practice’ for stomach filling.
THE SQUARE PIE
Every now and then I come across the baker producing the square meat pie. I give them a wide berth, as they are a throwback to Freemasonry. To get a square pie takes a special handshake or a signal to the baker to prove you are in the Lodge. Normal citizens that ask for one will be told they are still cold and not for sale yet. The square pie is the pastry equivalent of Scientology. Stick with round pies and reality.
ON THE SAUCE
I can take or leave tomato sauce with my pie; however, if the person serving me asks: “Dead horse, mate?” I immediately say yes – I’m a sucker for rhyming slang. There are a few techniques to consider when it comes to applying tommy sauce to a pie. Allow me to take you through them.
1. Missionary Style. This is where you penetrate the lid of the pie and inject the sauce within.
2. The Truckie Dump. This is where you get a single-serve squeeze pack, hold it over the pie and squeeze it in one hard, explosive movement. Great for when you’re driving.
3. The Zombie. Remove the pie lid, stir the sauce through the internal flesh, then refit lid to the undead pie.
4. The Professor. The polar opposite of The Truckie Dump. The Professor thinks he can distribute the sauce onto the pastry evenly enough to get the perfect sauce/pastry/meat ratio per mouthful.
5. The Redmond. This is done by squeezing tomato sauce onto your shirt within five seconds of obtaining it. A canteen medallion.
THE APPLE PIE
The circular shape of an apple pie is the single greatest piece of engineering in the history of mankind. It helps ensure the stewed, sweetened apple and buttery pastry are consumed in the correct ratio. However, there are some simple steps to follow for maximum enjoyment. Some keen and green eaters of pie charge straight into the goodness recklessly. It is only when they are left holding a collapsed shell that the true toll of their gusto is revealed. The ‘hog bite’ method may yield some great results in the early stages of the pie, but only serves to undermine the pastry and will lead to an eventual collapse. Much better to work with the circular shape and adopt the bite-and-rotate method, remembering to also add about 35 degrees of forward tilt. The tilt method will strip the roof of the pie at a slightly increased rate compared to the floor, leaving the structure sound and controlled right to the last perfect bite.
I like to think of the baker as more of an alchemist than a chef, turning meat and flour into rows of golden, flaky, hot and delicious parcels of happiness. Every now and then I stumble across a baker (wizard) producing the Holy Trinity of Alchemy: the curry potato pie. This is the pinnacle of the baker’s art. I may even forgo the apple pie to leave room for the CPP. Well, actually I normally eat both, with a smile like a hippy at harvest time, tears of joy washing down my face and spilling onto the floor in big fat heavy happy drops.
I support our community bakers by making sure I drop a minimum of $15 each visit – it’s the least I can do. Indeed, bakers have been known to organise their daughter’s wedding upon hearing the approach of my motorcycle and pray to the Gods of Gold that I became a local.
I have been doing some work with current and former members of parliament to try and get bakers the recognition they deserve. So far I’ve got Kim Beazley and Clive Palmer on board with my idea of a national week of public holidays to celebrate the baker. A week of sharing around fresh, warm loaves of white bread, and bringing the family together for pies and sausage rolls with sauce. Who’s with me?
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