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Australian basketballer Ben Simmons pushing the Four’N Twenty meat pie to US tastebuds

Peter Rolfe, Christopher Talbot, November 21, 2017 7:29PM Herald Sun

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A Four'N Twenty meat pie served with a map of Australia in tomato sauce. media_cameraA Four'N Twenty meat pie served with a map of Australia in tomato sauce.

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Australian basketball phenomenon Ben Simmons is part of a push to convince Americans to swap hotdogs for meat pies.

Iconic Aussie pie brand Four’N Twenty has netted a deal with Simmons’ NBA team, the Philadelphia 76ers, and will use the former Melbourne resident’s star status in the world’s most popular basketball league to try and crack the US market.

Aussie pies will be sold alongside typical American basketball game snacks including hotdogs, popcorn and peanuts at US matches.

Simmons dunks the ball against the Detroit Pistons. Picture: Brian Sevald/NBAE media_cameraSimmons dunks the ball against the Detroit Pistons. Picture: Brian Sevald/NBAE

Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown, who spent 17 years in Australia and coached the national team, predicted Americans would fall in love with the pies.

“It’s such a part of the Australian culture,’’ he said.

“What the hotdog is to America, the meat pie is to Australia.

“It’s just part of the fabric* of the nation.”

Four’N Twenty chief executive Paul Hitchcock said Americans might need a bit of time to learn how to eat the pies.

“There is a little bit of mystery, we’ve got to teach them how to eat it — you don’t need a knife and fork,” Mr Hitchcock said on radio station 3AW.

“That’s the beauty of a pie. You can eat it with your hands.”

Former US President Barack Obama eating a hot dog at a basketball game. Picture: AP/Carolyn Kaster media_cameraFormer US President Barack Obama eating a hot dog at a basketball game. Picture: AP/Carolyn Kaster

Pies have a rich history with Australian sport.

One of the country’s most famous sporting grounds, the MCG, reported one in every eight people at the ground for a game purchased a pie.

“The average crowd is 45,000 which would be 5625 pies,” Rachel Dolan from MCG caterer Spotless said last year.

Four’N Twenty had its humble* beginnings in the Victorian city of Bendigo in 1947.

Pie maker Les McClure started making his mutton pies and they quickly gained a reputation as the best in town.

For more than 50 years the company’s pie making grew from 50 per day to more than 50,000 pies per hour — the biggest in the world.

The modern pie comes off the production line and is snap frozen and sent to footy stadiums around the country — and since 2006, across the world.

Pies were advertised at 76ers home games for the first time at the weekend and Mr Hitchcock said the three-year deal was just a first step.

MCG vendor Damian Paterno hands out a pie. Picture: Eugene Hyland media_cameraMCG vendor Damian Paterno hands out a pie. Picture: Eugene Hyland

“Four’N Twenty would love to help fulfil* Ben Simmons’ and other Australian basketball fans’ dream to have an NBA game in Australia,” he said.

Simmons is hot favourite to be named NBA rookie* of the year after bursting on to the scene in his debut season, averaging 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

GLOSSARY

fabric: what something is made of

humble: modest

fulfil: realise

rookie: new recruit

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CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES

Activity 1. Meat pies

Answer the following questions in full sentences, including as much detail as possible.

• Name some typical American basketball snacks sold at games.

• Which games will the meat pies be sold at?

On average, how many pies are sold at a football game at the MCG?

• Where did the Four’N Twenty meat pie originate and how has it grown?

• What is Ben Simmons’ role in this initiative?

Extension:
What other Australian snacks could be sold at American NBA games?
Write an Aussie menu to present to basketball fans.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English

Activity 2. How to enjoy an Aussie meat pie

Work with a partner to design a poster instructing US consumers on the best way to eat a meat pie.
It should include illustrations and clear instructions.
Don’t be afraid to use a bit of Aussie slang to grab their attention.
Come up with a slogan to communicate why people should try meat pies.

Extension:
Write a script for a radio advertisement that Ben Simmons could read about the meat pies.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English, Personal and Social

VCOP ACTIVITY

(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation)

What words come to your mind when you think of a pie?
Write a diamante poem about the famous Aussie pie.
Use the structure below to help you with your poem. It doesn’t need to rhyme.

Noun

Adjective, Adjective

Verb, Verb, Verb

Noun, Noun, Noun, Noun

Verb, Verb, Verb

Adjective, Adjective

Noun

Extension:

Write an acrostic poem using Ben Simmons name.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity

Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP

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