A pitstop on the journey between Paihia and Hamilton gives me little in the way of time or choice. Muffin Break at the bottom of quayside Queen Street in Auckland it is then.
I select the Kiwi Standard (Steak & Cheese to the uninitiated) and, as the pie is being warmed through, get the spiel from the over-eager assistant advising me of their latest Get Every 5th Coffee Free offer and how I can take advantage of this fantastic offer in any of their stores nationwide.

Considering this briefly on my way back to the coach, I take my seat, and watch alongside my captivated co-passengers as, to the faint sound of Don McLean’s Starry, Starry Night murmuring on wistfully in the background, a scrap between the half-pint sized driver and a Bolshy bicycle-stowing tourist twice his size breaks out. It adds a little unexpected spice to my lunch break.

After the handbags have been put away and a seething, uneasy truce declared, I get to work on my pie. Unlike last week’s astronomically inspired effort, today’s is standard pie shape. The over-thick pastry encases an inconsequential, measly waft of white cheese and a film-textured grey gloop that takes me back to my march across the mangroves this time yesterday. While any meagre steak morsels there are contained within the pie drown helplessly in the quicksand. Then on my second bite I’m greeted with an unwelcome bright yellow chunked stowaway.



Now I’m quite fond of surprises, but this is one I could do without. What crazy, sacrilegious business is this? Like turning up to a Stone Roses gig only to find Mani’s been replaced by one of the pipsqueaks out of McFly, you feel a bit cheated. Not to mention a little confused.

So sir. You mean to say, on the whim of your too-clever-by-half Blumenthally bonkers master baker or your too-mean-by-half profit chasing boss, you’ve gone easy on the meat and wild with the corn?

What nonsense. This will not do.

A steak and cheese pie is exactly that. A steak and cheese pie. A pie comprising steak and cheese.

I reconsidered any future plans I may have had of taking up Muffin Break’s coffee offer on the spot. Whatever next, bits of Kiwi fruit in your cappuccino? I perish the very thought.