Footy’s back. Modern Marn Grook, as we examined last week. Normal service has been resumed with 17 clubs rejoicing that Collingwood didn’t get up. Play on.
Not long from now we’ll be in the stands, enjoying a pie and a beer. The pies are hot and the beer is cold; in contrast to the mother country, where pies are cold and beer is warm. Why it’s back to front is a cultural question.
But many of our Aussie pies are square – and that’s a design question.
We checked the US: apple pies are round. We checked the UK: pork pies are round. Our extensive research therefore determines that the square pie is an Australian invention. We've been puzzling over this vital question of how and why our pies became square.
This conundrum seems to be an exemplar of the thousand daily decisions about small design issues that are never documented. And the story of the square pie, and its derivatives, is our way of saluting the thousands of unsung Australian designers. It’s representative of a thousand decisions made in every part of life, in every factory, every business, every day. And almost every one goes unnoticed.
Square pies are more space efficient. Being able to be laid out edge to edge, with no gaps, you get quantity in the oven, more efficient stacking in the tray or the pie warmer. More efficient in cooking and display. The first square pie we can trace is in 1958 at Balfours, in Adelaide, designed by Gordon Balfour, grandson of the founder Elizabeth, as a way to reduce the pastry wastage.
Is it easier to eat? The round pie has a strong structure, but the circular form suddenly disintegrates with one bite. In contrast a square pie seems to have the advantage of being easier to eat when you can take one corner off. And easier to manage the meat to pastry ratio with the longer external edges to internal volume.
Further evidence of the square pie supremacy is the rectangular traveller pie. The pie eaten on the run on the train or in the car. Someone, the unknown pie designer, made the best shape for consumption and ease of manufacture. The long thin pie, easier to eat from one end.
What about designing the content. We celebrate the inventor of the Halal pie. Anything that gets right up the nose of the One Nation racists is worthy of a +one award (maybe we call it the Golden Onesie – ed).
But wait there’s more. For sustainability we need to turn away from meat. Every kilo of beef requires more than 15,000 litres of water, compared to say less than 900 for potatoes or less than 300 for a kilo of tomatoes. One of the big movements in sustainability is towards vegetarian or vegan. So, what do you do if your main product is based on beef?
You invent the meat free pie if you’re Bendigo’s favourite, Four and Twenty. All the requirements for a four square (pie) meal that is the backbone of footy, now comes in sustainable ‘green’. Introduced this year, the taste test is divided here at +one. Will Australia, the world’s highest per capita consumer of meat pies, now become the leader in vegan pies?
Lastly, here’s a pie reminder of our discussion of graphics from last month. It’s by Izi Marmur from the tear out postcard book by All Australian Graffiti. Is eating Bye Bye Blackbird sustainable?
plus 1 / plus one / +one is a collective of designers and artists promoting sustainability and Australian design. You can contact +one at [email protected]