Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Waiter, there’s a hare in my pie!

Waiter, there’s a hare in my pie!

By Dr Lynley Tulloch

Most New Zealanders are familiar with the joke about the safety of eating overheated pies. In 2009 police dog handler Guy Baldwin was caught on camera telling a teenage car-jacker that his pie will be “thermo-nuclear” after being in the warmer since 3 am. He advised him to “always blow on the pie.” It was screened on the Kiwi cop show Police 10-7 and went viral.

Meat pies are something of a cultural icon in New Zealand and are very popular. According to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) New Zealanders eat an average of 15 meat pies each in a single year. That is 66 million pies being consumed each year.Given their popularity, hopefully all of us have received Baldwin's safety message and are practicing pie consumption safely.

Unfortunately, a new pie issue has just arisen – the need to check for hairs in your pie filling. News that a chunk of hair was found in a pie by Nae Nae woman Elena Vulu recently hit the headlines.

Disgusting. There’s a hair in my pie. It conjures up that old ‘waiter there’s a fly in my soup’ joke. Shhh or everyone will want one.

I don’t mean to come across as churlish, but it has to be said. That hair was the least disgusting thing in Vulu’s pie. Unfortunately, Vulu may have been eating any number of things in the 25 percent of meat flesh that each pie must contain. According to the food code meat flesh means:

“The skeletal muscle of the carcass of any buffalo, camel, cattle, deer, goat, hare, pig, poultry, rabbit or sheep, slaughtered other than in a wild state (i.e. not bush meat), plus any attached animal rind, fat, connective tissue, nerve, blood and blood vessels.” ‘

Apparently offal, pig snouts and tongue are not in pies unless declared on the label by the manufacturer. But poultry skin can be. And nerves and blood vessels from a camel – although I am entirely unclear if camel is even on the menu in New Zealand. I have seen a goat pie at a service station, so I know they end up beneath the flaky crust.

What’s to stop the odd hair from falling in during the messy slaughter process?

In short, we have come to expect rather a lot as consumers. We expect that those responsible for producing the food we eat separate the body parts of animals into edible and non-edible categories. There is a lot of blood and bone and nerves and things when an animal is killed. It is not a clean process.

Our indignation at finding a hair in the pie needs to be measured against the process of slaughter. Meat is the body of a dead animal. Animals have hair.

In this light the whole thing just seems really sad. I begin to think who the hair in Vulu’s pie belonged to. I am not sure it was a hair of a hare, but if it was, then the meat would be legitimate, and the nerves and the connective tissue – just not the hair.

Food is a cultural construct and the norms we are socialised into determine how we feel about what we put in our mouths. Toddlers will happily scoff a worm, hair or no hair. As we grow up we come to associate pleasure and disgust with certain foods based on our cultural patterns of eating.

In New Zealand dog, horse and monkey meat may be off the menu, but hare, goat, buffalo and camel connective tissue in our pies is just fine.

The meat pie in New Zealand is not just a cultural icon from the local dairy, it is also the remains of an animal encased in pastry. Don’t be so surprised when you find a hair, or a hare in your pie.

And shh, or soon everyone will want one.


ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Charlotte Graham: I OIA'd Every Council In NZ...

A “no surprises” mindset and training and advice that has taught public servants to see any media interaction as a “gotcha” exercise perpetrated by unscrupulous and scurrilous reporters has led to a polarised and often unproductive OIA process. More>>

ALSO:

Veronika Meduna: The Kaikoura Rebuild

A Scoop Foundation Investigation The South Island’s main transport corridor will be open to traffic again, more than a year after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake mangled bridges and tunnels, twisted rail tracks and buried sections of the road under massive landslides. More>>

Charlotte Graham: Empowering Communities To Act In A Disaster
The year of record-breaking natural disasters means that in the US, as in New Zealand, there’s a conversation happening about how best to run the emergency management sector... More>>

ALSO:

Campbell On: The attacks on Lorde, over Israel
The escalation of attacks on Lorde for her considered decision not to perform in Israel is unfortunate, but is not entirely unexpected…More

Jan Rivers: The New Zealanders Involved In Brexit

There are a number who have strong connections to New Zealand making significant running on either side of the contested and divisive decision to leave the European Union. More>>

Rawiri Taonui: The Rise, Fall And Future Of The Independent Māori Parties

Earlier this month the Māori Party and Mana Movement reflected on the shock loss of their last parliamentary seat in this year’s election. It is timely to consider their future. More>>

Using Scoop Professionally? Introducing ScoopPro

ScoopPro is a new offering aimed at ensuring professional users get the most out of Scoop and support us to continue improving it so that Scoop continues to exist as a public service for all New Zealanders. More>>

ALSO: