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