Head for the hill

Denise Irvine stops for a bite at Heidi’s in Ti­rau and is not dis­ap­pointed – es­pe­cially with the plum tarts.

Waikato Times - Your Weekend (Waikato Times) - - Dine -

My mother al­ways packed a pic­nic bas­ket when we went road-trip­ping. The rit­ual was that at the ap­pointed time we’d find a suit­able off-road spot and spread out the rug, the sand­wiches, the ba­con and egg pie, and a Ther­mos of tea.

All very fine, all very labour-in­ten­sive for my mother and oth­ers of her gen­er­a­tion. Nowa­days, we can re­li­ably find a de­cent cafe on most of the coun­try’s high­ways and by­ways, and pic­nic bas­kets are pretty much a thing of the past.

The South Waikato township of Ti­rau, strad­dling State High­way 1, long ago rein­vented it­self as a mini tourist des­ti­na­tion and it of­fers a num­ber of eat­ing places for Ti­rau shop­pers and stop­pers. I’d re­cently had a friend’s rec­om­men­da­tion for Heidi’s on the Hill Cafe, in Hill­crest St, so on this Mon­day I turned off the high­way at the pub at the top of the rise and Heidi’s was in my sights.

Cor­ru­gated iron art­work is part of Ti­rau’s ca­chet, and Heidi’s has a gi­ant or­ange cor­ru­gated iron teapot glow­ing brightly on its frontage. The cafe is pleas­antly and funkily ap­pointed and the food is well pitched for trav­ellers. There are cabi­net savouries and sweets and a sim­ple black­board menu of break­fast dishes and bagels with var­i­ous trim­mings. You could linger over lunch, or have some­thing quick from the cabi­net.

An­other black­board at the en­trance says ev­ery­thing is made on the premises and staff use free-range eggs and chicken, or­ganic milk and gluten-free meat

THE WRAP

What: Heidi’s on the Hill Cafe, 3/1 Hill­crest St, Ti­rau, phone 07 883 1146. Open seven days, Mon-fri 6.30am-3pm; Sat-sun 8am-3pm. Un­li­censed. Food: Fresh in­gre­di­ents, food made from scratch. (I’m re­li­ably in­formed the sausage rolls are ex­cel­lent). Ser­vice: Ef­fi­cient and at­ten­tive. Top job on ta­ble-clear­ing. Bonus: Plum tart. You can’t beat home­made pas­try.

PHOTO: DENISE IRVINE

I went for the clas­sic bagel and Rose­mary the break­fast clas­sic of creamy mush­rooms.

The bagel was nicely chewy and tex­tured, lay­ered with smoked salmon, cream cheese, spinach, finely sliced pick­led red onion, capers and lemon.

The onion and capers cut the salmon and cream cheese very neatly. It was fresh, tasty and gen­er­ous, an old favourite as­sem­bled by ca­pa­ble hands.

The mush­rooms were cooked in a cheesy sauce and pre­sented on a crispy filo bas­ket with ba­con and spinach. The fork­ful I tried was suit­ably creamy and rich although the sauce was pos­si­bly a tad light on mush­rooms; the verdict be­ing that more mush­rooms and less sauce would have pro­vided bet­ter bal­ance.

We shared a plum tart from the cabi­net to fin­ish. This was per­fect: home­made sweet-short pas­try, sweet-tart plum fill­ing, and mac­er­ated straw­ber­ries for an ex­tra flavour hit.

Heidi’s on the Hill changed own­ers last month with Alicea Mcken­zie tak­ing over from Heidi Fall. Mcken­zie’s al­ways worked in hospi­tal­ity and she’s moved from Auck­land to Ti­rau for a slower pace of life. She’s shortly to ex­pand her eatery into the ad­join­ing rus­tic build­ing cur­rently oc­cu­pied by the de­light­ful Pippi fur­ni­ture and gift store, which will move into an ad­ja­cent prop­erty.

It’s all worth turn­ing off Ti­rau’s main street for when you’re next down that way. And cer­tainly no need for BYO pic­nic.

Any­one ny­onee w who has trav­elled around Lon­don by Tube will know the phhr phrase “Mind The Gap”. It’s a ubiq­ui­tous part of pub­lic trans­port­transppo there, but could just as well ap­ply to what women get paid, in re­la­tionre to their male coun­ter­parts, here.

There is a g gap, and they do mind. When I read com­men­ta­tors, al­most al­wayys al­ways mid­dle aged men, try­ing to ex­plain it away, come up with ex­cus­e­sex­cuus for it or just dis­miss it as fic­tion, I have to won­der what their prro prob­lem is. You can’t sim­plysims not be­lieve it ex­ists, can you? Count­less s stud­ies, never mind thou­sands of per­sonal sto­ries, back up its exe ex­is­tence. The most re­cent, re­leased only a week or so ago, put puts for­ward sev­eral pos­si­ble rea­sons, in­clud­ing “un­con­scious “un­con­sciouus bias”. Ok then, that’s hard to quan­tify, but both of the words in t that phrase are im­por­tant. It may be un­con­scious, but it re­mains bias bias, and not ac­knowl­edg­ing that isn’t help­ing any­body.

Quite frank frankly, though, most of the bias I’ve been hear­ing is any­thing butt but u un­con­scious. It’s rooted in old fash­ioned ideas of who the trad­dit tra­di­tional bread­win­ner in a fam­ily is, and even tak­ing into ac­count the v very real dif­fer­ences in what roles men and women play as par­ent par­ents through­out their lives, that role has dras­ti­cally changed oveer over time. I don’t know many peo­ple who live the he-goes-out-to-work-she-stays-home-with-the-kid­she-goes-outt-t life­style that these com­men­ta­tors still think pre­dom­i­nates, and the ones I do know don’t tend to live that way for very long. It’s pretty much im­pos­si­ble if you live in any of our cities, for one thing, and for an­other it’s not par­tic­u­larly ful­fill­ing for ei­ther party, in this new­fan­gled age of con­nec­tiv­ity and choice.

Even if you do be­lieve in that kind of sce­nario, surely then even your own logic should dic­tate that women who work should per­haps be paid MORE than men. They’re go­ing to be do­ing it for fewer years, and then will need some kind of nest egg for when they take all that time off to stay home. Makes sense, right?

I don’t even know that many peo­ple who pool the money they do earn sep­a­rately. Shared mort­gages, sure, but spend­ing money? If you earn it, you should be able to choose what you do with it.

As the very na­ture of work changes, so will the ways in which cou­ples, fam­i­lies and sin­gle peo­ple ap­proach it. At­ti­tudes need to evolve along­side these new re­al­i­ties.

At the heart of the mat­ter, though, this all boils down to a very sim­ple equa­tion. If two peo­ple do the same job with the same level of com­pe­tence, ex­pe­ri­ence and suc­cess, they should be paid the same for it. Pe­riod.

And yes, that pun was very much in­tended. re­serve for a fem­i­nist book club.

Our favourite bit, though, was when I told my mother – push­ing 83 and not eas­ily char­ac­terised as a man-hat­ing fem­i­nazi – that some wag had dis­missed the whole is­sue by sug­gest­ing that women tend to have part­ners who are men, ergo if men are get­ting all the money, women pre­sum­ably get some ben­e­fit from that.

“Does he think women go out and work for pin money?” my mother grinned. (“Pin money”, for those of you un­der 75, is a 17th cen­tury ex­pres­sion for an al­lowance given to ladies so they can buy hair­clips and brooches and other frip­peries. I’ll leaveeave you to google “frip­peries” your­self.)

In the lat­ter part of their work­ing lives, my moth­erther was the main bread­win­ner for her­self and my fa­ther. ther. She’s proud of that. Her own mother, born in 1907, 07, worked all her life – much of it as a sin­gle par­ent.t. Na­tion­ally, women are three times more likely too be a sole par­ent than men. You’d have a hard time round here con­vinc­ing the ladies to shush and letet the men sort it.

An­other glass in and we mar­velled at some men’s en’s resistance to clos­ing the pay gap, agree­ing that it was hard to imag­ine why a man wouldn’t want hi­sis fe­male part­ner to bring home 12.7 per cent more. re. “Be­cause pre­sum­ably,” I said, “they’d get some ben­e­fit from that.” It was a de­light­ful evening.

The plum tart with home­made pas­try was a high­light of the menu which had good food made from scratch and us­ing fresh in­gre­di­ents.

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