Friday, December 23, 2016

Thunder Down Under: Merry Christmas!

By Vic Midyett

Aussies don’t know how to make a decent pecan pie. A lot of the time when you find it available in a cafe it’s made with molasses. That’s just not right.
    A long time ago, our friends here found the value of a “proper” pecan pie made with Karo Syrup, and they quickly came to look forward to Shirley’s pie at Christmas.
    All pecans are imported from America, so they ain’t cheap! And neither is the Karo Syrup ($11 - $12+ per bottle), when you can even find it. We probably have 40 grocery and food-selling stores within a five-mile radius of us, and only one sells Karo Syrup – when they can get it! Shirley starts stocking up about September.

Shirley went to the University of New Hampshire to study her first industrial psychology course. While there she learned how to bake what the local folks called “New England Cottage Bread.” Shirley always makes it on special occasions and most definitely for Thanksgiving and Christmas. When her sons were little, they delivered bread to their neighbors and friends. This became a tradition Shirley has kept going ever since – preferably, hot out of the oven & wrapped in aluminum foil. It’s so much fun, and the surprised and cheerful looks on people’s faces when they melt into loving acceptance are priceless.

This year, Shirley has thus far made 11 pecan pies and many more loaves of New England Cottage Bread. In the picture below two loaves are still rising, for the second time, before going into the oven. YUM!!
                                                Merry Christmas, Ya’ll, we love you,
                                                Vic & Shirley
[Editor’s Note: It may still be December 23 here on the East Coast of the United States, but it’s already Christmas Eve in Australia!]

Copyright © 2016 by Vic Midyett


  1. Jake you are making me hungry I will have to make a trip over there to be a taster
    all the best

  2. Looks good but we never had pecan pie. We had walnut pie, with Karo syrup. Yummy! Thompson seedless grape pie, heaven on earth!

    1. Thompson seedless grape pie? Sounds awfully sweet.

  3. Come on over, Bear!! Your traditions sound yummy too, Sharon! The temp here for Christmas Day today was amended down to 85F. But I will be in front of a gas grill or as Aussie's say the BBQ!

  4. Vic, my wife made a pecan pie Saturday evening for yesterday, our favorite recipe, using bourbon whisky! I wonder, does Shirley ever put whisky in HER pecan pies?

  5. Now THAT would be interesting! No, Shirley has never tried that. Yum!

  6. Since entering this piece, I met a couple from New South Whales who own a large plant nursery. They informed me that there is an American couple who are in the throws of planting a very large Pecan orchard near them. So perhaps in the years to come Australia won't be subject to such high prices for Californian, imported Pecans!