"Got any pies?"
Because my legendary Husband Who Cooks has become The Pie Man. (a.k.a. Piethagorus. I kid you not.)
It started on Monday.
So, is he making his pies?
Ooh! Apple pies?
Yeah, and they're gorgeous, sharp and sweet, with a little spice, and he makes the best pastry.
Ooh..... My mum used to make mince pies - minced beef and peas - does he do them? ..... No? ..... OK, I'll have........ two beef pasties, a chicken and mushroom pie........ and an apple pie!
Someone said your husband makes Scotch eggs!
Oooh! It's ages since I've had a Scotch egg........ And he makes them?
Is it your husband who does the pies?
Does he do mince and onion? I love mince and onion.
Er, no, but you're the second person today to say......... I'll ask him.
What about rhubarb, or gooseberry? I used to love rhubarb, or gooseberry tart. (Chorus of oohs, ahs and wistful 'You-never-see-rhubarb-here's.)
Have you got any order forms for those pies?
Sorry, I've run out - but you can order through the website .........and I've got post-its!
Good. I'll have a beef pasty and a pork pie.
Great! (I'm grinning like an idiot.) Thanks!
Here are your pies!
Ooh! (Jump to Thursday: Tell him the apple pie was delicious. I had it hot with custard. Jump to Friday: Can you ask him for two more apple pies for Monday?)
And so it has gone, all week. It's not just the orders, it's the reactions. The Oooohs! and Ahhhhs! and Mmmms! The enthusiasm and the wistfulness. The My-mum-used-to-makes and I-haven't-hads. The requests for the utterly mundane but special things that remind people of home, and being six, or sixteen. And the I LOVES. This is not just nutrition, or convenience, or even value for money. This is home!
My husband started making pies because he really missed traditional pork pies, and English style steak and kidney pies. And gravy. I like solid Spanish empanadas de atún, and those light tiny Argentinian spinach pastries, and Colombian maize balls deep-fried with an egg in the middle, and Italian pizza, and Greek pastries, Turkish kebabs - you name it, if it's got bread or pastry wrapped around it, I will eat it until I'm........... the size and shape I am right now!!!
But sometimes, amongst the fabulous foreign flavours and textures (Oh! And Indian butter naan, German pumpernickel, Chinese pancakes -) yes, even so.... I yearn for the familiar and long taken-for-granted -
And then -
a summer picnic with a crisp-walled pork pie, melt-in-your-mouth jelly, and unadulterated slightly spicy pork....... and pickle in the middle (Now that's all his own idea!) Oh wow!
And now - with skies and temperatures lowering -
putting a knife into crisp pastry, all flaky and golden on the outside, pale and steamy on the inside; and inhaling that unmistakeable winter comfort smell of steak and kidney; and then the dark chunks and rounds slipping out in a a glossy brown flood of savoury gravy......................... Ho-hum. Yum yum!!!!
Anyway, the man himself is experimenting with mince and onion this weekend (Thanks, Angela!), and yesterday bought a couple of bottles of a dark and healthsome beverage of Irish origins, to practise steak-and-ale pie recipes for the benefit of those who like their steak-and-kidney sans the kidney.
He may have to deliver me to work on castors on Monday morning.
No, wait! I've just remembered!
I'm running 7-12 kilometres tomorrow!
There, it's all about balance.
P.S. He did an interview which appeared in July's InMadrid. It's bigger here, but you'll still need to zoom!
P.P.S. So if the changing weather's making you a tad nostalgic for Blighty's finest, go check out the Great British Food pie (...oh, and a Scotch egg) site. (And in case you weren't paying attention, that was indeed a shameless plug. But it's for your own good, you know.)
P.P.P.S. if you're pining for a decent British style sausage (not to be confused with a cheap-and-nasty British sausage) check out Brendan Murphy and Cider Dave's The Proper Sausage. We had some over the summer. Phwaw!