In light of claims by Carlton North shopkeeper Annie Huang that Workplace Relations minister and notorious Pies supporter Bill Shorten had firmly rejected her offer of a microwaved gourmet pie, subsequent Rudd-style confusion about her expression of confidence in the Prime Minister Julia Gillard and the subsequent release by Ms Wong of vision of the Minister entering her fine establishment, VEXNEWS investigators went in search of the whole story.
The essence of the saga is that Ms Huang thought she was saying she liked Julia Gillard, Mr Shorten misheard her, compounding the injury of pies not being available and thought Ms Huang said Ms Gillard was soft rather than the pie being soft as a result of microwaving.
It seems Mr Shorten must be accustomed to copping an earful about the Prime Minister. And his response suggests he’s not backward in coming forward in defending Red Rooster, as some Liberal staffers refer to the Rudd replacement.
Now that’s all very well, and we’ll leave aside the question of whether shopkeepers should be spying on law-abiding customers and releasing the vision to the press, to ask the big question of the day:
Is a microwaved pie an acceptable substitute for a correctly oven-heated offering?
In the interest of journalism, we attended “Carlton North Foods” and can sensationally reveal that a microwaved gourmet pie is no substitute for the traditionally heated alternative.
The manufacturers of Bocastle gourmet pies, whose global headquarters is in Brunswick, conveniently nearly adjacent to the Brunswick KFC, confirmed this in an off-the-record briefing with VEXNEWS.
“Yes, you can microwave a Boscastle pie, but we don’t recommend it,” a senior Boscastle source confirmed.
They’ll end up softer on workplace deregulation than Tony Abbott after a National Civic Council alumni reunion, it seems.
And certainly softer than the hard-men of Melbourne’s TV media – wearing TEN network garments – who descended on the venue, struggling to cope with the very accommodating Ms Huang’s customer surveillance video recording system, the menus of which appeared to be in Chinese.
They seemed to be devoting their not apparently mighty brain-power to the important question of extracting audio from the file or perhaps bringing in expert, possibly multi-lingual lip-readers in to figure out what Ms Huang said to Mr Shorten and what Mr Shorten said to Ms Huang.
Ms Huang is certainly diligent in her pursuit of internal security, maintaining no fewer than six cameras in her reasonably small store, in what is no doubt a constant battle with locals, thieves, debt-collectors and Collingwood-linked Pies-supporters.
The entrepreneur seemed to be glorying in the attention during VEXNEWS visit, urging shoppers to watch tonight’s news. Locals confirmed VEXNEWS that the usually quiet shopping strip had been a media circus today. Many had assumed the store had been robbed such was the hubbub, although apparently Mr Huang is known to deploy rigorous counter-robbery measures of the kind that keep most in-the-know intending rogues at bay.
When we initially asked Ms Huang what all the fuss was about she seemed reluctant to go into detail about the merits or otherwise of publishing video of customers or indeed the microwaving of pies. When we introduced ourselves as a media outlet, she was far more forthcoming, even offering to pose for a photograph. We declined.
In search of answers, we asked several passers-by, including “Jacqueline” from Carlton North for her opinion:
“Microwaved pie? F*ck that, I’d rather eat sh*t,” she explained, hopefully figuratively.
Others expressed similar views, slightly less emphatically.
Peter, wearing a baseball cap, and apparently unburdened by pressure of work, told VEXNEWS that the contents of the microwaved gourmet pie get “unacceptable, wouldn’t eat one, far too hot to eat, mate” raising the important issue about whether microwaved pies are safely consumable, potentially raising the spectre of the microwaved pie being used as a weapon in inner-urban instances of civic violence.
We attempted to conclude the matter by carefully choosing a heated pie – the Thai Chicken Curry – and a suspiciously indistinct meaty one, purely for the purposes of research.
We can also confirm the Minister has been vindicated by his rejection of the microwaved pie, the microwave does horrible things to the structural integrity of the snack, making the otherwise firm, flaky crust into an unpleasant soggy, difficult-to-handle mess.
Unfortunately for the purposes of photographic comparison, in our eating frenzy, we’d manage to finish off the microwaved pie before snapping its soggy structures, the aftermath of it gives a fair representation though.
We finished both, naturally. Though not before spilling nearly half a litre of Pepsi Max on VEXNEWS own highly sophisticated electronic equipment.