I was around eight when I started to think Santa Clause didn't exist. I was the eldest of my siblings, so I couldn't lean on an older brother or sister to ask the question. But my friend Mal was the youngest, so he got the lowdown from his older brother; bloody hell there was no Santa Claus. Santa was just a guy in a suit.
Worse was to follow. I'd once asked Mum why we always slathered tomato sauce all over our meat pies. Now, I might have asked this at a family picnic down by the harbour, when the Esky was loaded up with booze for the adults and one bottle of coke to share amongst ten kids. So, maybe Mum was a couple of glasses in when she told me the following.
Apparently tomato sauce was a food coolant and Aussies used it to bring down the temperature of their meat pies, so we could could eat them faster.
That made perfect sense.
But then I made the mistake of telling Mal why I was going a bit over the top on the tomato sauce for an extremely hot pie. And well, there it was, another childhood belief thrown off the cliff of childhood innocence, smashed on the ragged rocks below.
However....even after I discovered tomato sauce was NOT a food coolant, I've continued the sauce tradition to this day, much to the chagrin of my Pommie wife.
So, how can you tell an Aussie at The Aussie Pie Shop in London? It's really easy. If they ask for the sauce, you've got an Aussie. And if they don't, well, you know, they're either not an Aussie or their Mum was way too honest.
Which reminds me of a lovely couple that came down to Portobello Road from Ruislip on Sunday and insisted on opening up the pie lid to squeeze the sauce inside before shutting it closed. The look on their faces after that first bite was one of sheer ecstasy. So, they came back for another one....with sauce.....inside the lid.
The tradition lives on, long live the sauce !!