Friday, December 24, 2010

Do you have any pies?

The Friday after Thanksgiving Thursday in the States, we celebrated Thanksgiving at my boss's boss's house in North Sydney. He's American , his wife is Australian, and they invited some people over for the holiday.

Sharon and I were tasked with bringing pie, something that seemed easy enough so I didn't think about it again until Friday morning.

I did a search for local bakeries and started calling them. I figured it would take a few seconds to figure out whether they had what I wanted or not.

I called the first bakery. A French-sounding woman answered.
"Hi," I said, "Do you have any pies?"
"Yes," the French accent answered, "We have chicken pies, chicken and bacon pies, beef pies, lamb and…
"No, no," I cut her off before getting the entire menu, "I'm looking for dessert pies."
"Eh, dessert pies?" She asked as if this were an alien concept. I was starting to get the sense this task might not be so easy.
" apple pie or pecan pie," I suggested.
"Pecan pie?" She said, as if confused. I had pronounced it peh-cahn, like it's said in the States. I had heard it's said pee-can here so thought maybe that threw her off.
"Yes...peh-cahn pie, pee-can pie." I tried it both ways, hoping that might get things back on track.
" apple pie or pecan pie. But we have chocolate cake, cheesecake, and…lots of other cakes." She paused, before triumphantly stating that they also had apple strudel. "That's like apple pie," she said.
"Oh, apple strudel?" I was willing to settle for anything approaching pie at this point. "Okay, that might work," I told her.
"I'm sorry -- you want strudel?"
"Um, look, I'll just swing by to look at what you have."
The French accent didn't understand. "Sorry?" she said. This was going downhill quickly.

"Um…yeah, it seems like you guys have a lot of…offerings…so I'll come take a look." I was now thinking to myself…'Offerings?',  what a bad choice of words. How do I extract myself from this conversation?

The French accent started talking again, but it was garbled.

"I'll just stop by," I said, not sure how I was still on the phone.
There was another round of garbled French accent.
"Okay, um…I'll see you later," I said and hung up.

Sharon could barely contain herself and started laughing hysterically. Then she declared that no one could understand me. While it's true that I mumble a bit (okay, all the time), I told her it wasn't my fault and gave her the honor of calling the next bakery.

In a very clear, professional voice Sharon asked the first bakery she called if they had pie. It was a voice you could have confidence in and I figured she'd have this situation all wrapped up in a few seconds.

The fa├žade quickly broke down though when after a moment of silence she raised her voice and stressed "Not meat pies, dessert pies. Like apple pie or pecan pie." I broke into a grin.

There were a few more seconds of silence before Sharon again had to describe what she was looking for. At this point I started laughing. Either we were both idiots or all the bakers were, but if the former at least I wasn't alone. She hung up the phone, defeated.

After calling about five bakeries to no avail we gave up and figured we'd try again when we got to North Sydney. We called a bakery that, surprise, surprise, did not carry dessert pies. But the very kind lady did let us know that a deli across from her was selling pies. We walked in and found out they had just made a bunch of pumpkin pies that morning. I scooped up two and we made our way to the Thanksgiving dinner. Next time I'll just show up with a meat pie: "Oh, that turkey and stuffing was fantastic. Hope everyone saved some room for lamb pie!"


  1. I still laugh hysterically when I think about that day.

  2. I find this absolutely hilarious! I'm from Sydney (friend of Clint). I generally find the pies I'm looking for from a cake store instead. Next time try Michel's Patisserie for Pecan pie. I've only ever found dessert pies at cake shops and never from a bakery