If the pie is an Aussie icon, the party pie is true-blue fair dinkum to the next power. Other countries have pies at parties, of course, but it says a lot about Australia that we are the standard-bearers for the party pie, a version of the workaday coffin slimmed down, bite-sized and ready to entertain the after-five crowd as readily as the under-fives.
Speaking of coffins, here’s a little-known fact: the use of the word “coffin” to describe a pie is not, as is commonly assumed, a play on words regarding the pie’s contents. The pie usage came first, and the funereal sense has only been with us in English since the 16th century.
Could it be that the party pie is an under-recognised Australian culinary innovation? We know we can’t claim the full-sized version as our own, much as we’d like to, so here perhaps is a new rallying point for culinary patriotism.
They’ve got knishes, calzones, curry puffs, pasties, samosas and pirozhki and we’ve got party pies. Say it loud, say it proud. Or at least until it turns out they were invented by New Zealanders. Enjoy them while you can.
It’s an Aussie classic in the league of lamingtons and anzac biscuits, and it’s equally at home at the footy and the races.