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Sausage Roll Review: (not quite) Hurling on Hurtle Square

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Colonel William Light’s vision for Adelaide included five public squares: Hindmarsh, Light, Victoria, Whitmore and Hurtle. Each has a distinct appearance and mise en scène and despite driving through it for decades I’d not enjoyed the latter’s leafy space.

Claire and I bought a late lunch from this state’s dominant petrol retailer and biggest private company: an On The Run (OTR) service station. Of course, its customers are rarely running anywhere as they’re in vehicles and as such are necessarily sedentary, and most outlets of this type haven’t provided any traditional service for epochs. Simply fill the car and then scoop up hideously overpriced drink and food and go to the cashier. The only service offered is a chirpily redundant, “Would you like your receipt?”

Hurtle Square is in the south-eastern corner of the city and mostly surrounded by low-rise apartments whose balconies look out over the greenery. Arboriculturally, this park is diverse with magnolia and thin pine trees and other trees in seemingly random arrangement. But I remember that like a late-period Steely Dan album, it’s possible to over-engineer.

I’ve a cheese and bacon sausage roll. It makes a positive optical impression with agreeable pastry that’s neither flaky nor oily, but my context is reminiscent of the soon-to-be-regecided King Duncan gazing upon Macbeth’s home when he remarks: this castle hath a pleasant seat.

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Unsurprisingly, this pastry’s sinister mission is to protect an inferior filling, like a heavy-set Secret Service agent from a 1980s film starring Brian Dennehy. While it’s admirable, camouflage and strategic distraction are evident and I note that yet again subterfuge lurks in my simple foodstuff.

Its texture is uncertain and mushy, and I understand that sausage rolls don’t contain real sausages, but if this were encased and sizzling away on my barbeque in front of people both dear or of mere acquaintance, I’d have an acute case of Sausage Shame (SS). Knocking sullenly on the office door of my superior, I’d hand in my tongs and apron and barbequing badge (a scene from a different Brian Dennehy film).

The cheese I was promised is barely present. Instead it’s like the elusive memory of cheese from, say, my middle past, and in the manner of a Wordsworth conceit it’s both troubling but also hopeful in that one day I may again enjoy cheese, possibly in a sausage roll advertising such. In 2020, even cheese is complicated.

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My longing deepens when I gaze over at the Coopers Alehouse. It began as the Earl of Aberdeen before Dame Edna Everage reopened it with a new name in 1987 (wouldn’t Sir Les Paterson been better placed to handle this?). Like many pubs it has a forlorn canvas advertising pick up only meals from 5-8pm.

Still, it’s a breezeless, mild May in our mostly safe and opportunely isolated state. SA’s had no new cases for twelve days and Audrey’s vintage coffee van was doing a lively trade this morning on the Glenelg North esplanade as I ambled through.

While my sausage roll was of motley quality Claire and I now turn to the next course of our alfresco eating: an unapologetically decadent vanilla slice with a calorific count probably beyond a K-Mart abacus.

As the Two Fat Ladies’ Clarissa and Jennifer used to rejoice, “Munch on, munch on, what a lovely luncheon!”

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Sausage Roll Review: Orange Spot Bakery, Glenelg

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Such is my undying dedication to critical thinking with regard to contemporary baked goods that although it was already one hundred degrees (Fahrenheit is decidedly apocalyptic) just prior to midday I gritted my teeth, pushed through the punishing heat, walked in and bought their finest specimen.

Is $5 too much? In 2020 and enjoying life in my seventh different decade, I guess not. Of course, I then heard these sinister words.

“Would you like sauce?”

No, came my overly curt reply. I should’ve worn my patented anti-sauce cap to save her the bother.

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Back outside I found a table and chair on the footpath/sidewalk/pavement (delete as required). I had no competition. It was hot.

My sausage roll and I were ready for each other, like contestants on Perfect Match, except there’d be no lies about loving bushwalking and horse-riding and rock-climbing. And no Dexter to provide a compatibility percentage.

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I looked across the road and saw the Watermark. The extra-large, charisma-free, over-priced, charmless, mid-strength beer-haunted, pokies-riddled pub. I must get in there again soon I thought to myself. Especially around five on a Friday if I feel an odd need to receive a kickin’ from a high vis type who has been in there all day and because his jet-ski is about to be repossessed, is angry with the world, in a generalised, nagging, Cro-Magnon sort of way.

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I took a bite of my sausage roll. It certainly tasted like one. This was a promising start, but then again, if you hear “Hey Jude” on the radio it’s instantly recognisable although it mightn’t be the Beatles but some pale photocopy of a boy band, all clothes and choreography and clueless.

The aroma confirmed this but didn’t engage me. It sat there in my nostrils, but like me at a salsa party, there was no dancing, just a sullen inertia.

I think the pastry fundamental to the sausage roll experience and this was somewhat sweaty and fell just short of that most disagreeable state: oily.

The meat was of an appropriate consistency, but as the aroma suggested, lacked memorable character and arresting spiciness.

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Just over in Colley Reserve I imagined the big hole by the Patawalonga. Recently, the replica of the HMS Buffalo, proudly built in 1980, was finally demolished. In 2030, Mayor Chad Cornes will announce plans to build a replica of the replica of the Buffalo as it will “create exciting tourist opportunities” for Glenelg. Not any humans mind you, but seagulls and pigeons and exiled magpies. There’s nothing more likely.

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I continued with my meal, but like a small child found it no longer had my interest. If I was a toddler it could have been the day’s third apple out of which had been taken a solitary bite.

Safely home, I reflected on my sausage roll with Claire and we decided that I could be seeking higher meaning where none exists. Despite the endless awards – name a country bakery that hasn’t won a prize for its pies – the very best ones are the home-made variety. You know, those with the fork marks sealing shut the pastry, the fork marks that suggest love and family and hope.

Oh, how I love those blessed fork marks!

Yes, that’s what I need to do. Make some home-made sausage rolls. These will solve my existential crisis, and correct my view of the world on this hot, punishing day!

Right, where’s the mince and pastry and my precious fork?

Hang on. Just as soon as I’ve had a restorative nap and watched the cricket.

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