DESCARTES GAVE THE WORLD a philosophical distinction between material and mental, a sharp break between the body and mind. He was hardly the first to make an artificial dialectic to justify other stances, but because Enlightenment idealists liked to attach the names of Great Fellows to Great Ideas, we’ve been talking about Cartesian duality ever since. Flesh and spirit. Matter and mentality. The apparent world of measurable, objective reality and the immanent world of subjectivity.

If you, reader, are reaching for the safety catch on your Browning at the gross oversimplification of three hundred years of Western philosophy I’ve just committed, I am sorry. Because sometimes vulgarisation of a philosophy is a helpful approach to answering the important questions in life, like: “Where am I?” and “What the hell did I just eat?”

A pie, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground

Pictured is a meat pie, with a dollop of tomato sauce, and the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Grand Final day. As you’ve probably heard, the glorious Sydney Swans tonked Hawthorn in what was frankly an outstandingly exciting game of football.

In my own process of assemblage of memories of the match I will have to include, along with the social and ephemeral act of sporting spectation and the immanent community of people with football knowledge and enthusiasm, the physical, material consumption of a meat pie and a plastic cup of draught beer. For the record: Four and Twenty brand.

Food is a social and temporal thing. There exist infinite numbers of clichéd comford foods across cultures and continents: pasta for Italians, soul food for people from the South of the US, different variations of noodle soups across south east Asia, chicken soup for the Jews, sandwiches made of hot chips and butter for the British, and so on. They all come wrapped up, with copious amounts of salt and protein, in a set of traditions and common experience.

So it is with the football pie. Frankly, I wouldn’t eat one anywhere other than in a plastic chair somewhere around the boundary of a stadium or suburban oval. I’ve seen them sold, frozen, in plastic in supermarkets and have been disturbed by the throught that anyone would eat one outside its proper context: in the winter, outside at a football match, with beer. A mass-produced pie at home? Unthinkable.

Make yourself a sandwich, supermarket pie-eaters. Leave the pies to their proper habitus: they are the material expression of a football culture.

Football pie

In an industrial process of mass production, assembly and baking, take a large amount of beef, render it into a sticky, solid, glutinous sauce with onions, flour, oil and lots of salt. Put approximately 150gms of sauce in a hand-sized pastry (made of yet more flour, salt, and oil) and bake it just enough that they can go in warmer-displays at the point of sale. In a plastic squeeze-pack add mass-produced “ketchup” of dubious constitution that probably just has a lot of sugar, oil and flavouring. Pay between $3 and $5.50 for the privilege. Bake and sell many tens of thousands of these.

Don’t burn your tongue.



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David Irving (no relation) · 6 October 2012, 18:41 · #

I once ate a four’n‘twenty pie, in about 1960. It’s not a mistake I would repeat, even at the football.

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FDB · 9 October 2012, 15:07 · #

Aye, ‘twas a great game – and result. Front-running pretty boy Hawks thought they had it in the bag before the bounce.

Regarding football fare, this I know:

Infused with the tangy whiff of a victory in Melbourne against a Victorian team, a saggy pie full of lips ‘n’ arseholes – yea, even a flat plastic cup of Carlton Draught – can be the very nectar of the Gods.

Freo won here 5/6 this year. My five best pies ever.

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Liam · 10 October 2012, 21:41 · #

Infused with the tangy whiff of a victory in Melbourne against a Victorian team, a saggy pie full of lips ‘n’ arseholes – yea, even a flat plastic cup of Carlton Draught – can be the very nectar of the Gods.

Sing it, brother.


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