We discovered Alpha pies during the first year of our marriage. We seldom afforded them, but when we could, we splashed out and bought two pies AND a custard tart - to share. Alpha pies were always memorable; they were made with the tenderest steak (no gristle or giblets), and the chunkiest pieces of kidney. I was never sure what type of animal donated the kidney, but I knew it wasn't chicken kidneys. One chunk would have been a whole chicken kidney, and chicken kidneys were not square.
Alpha pies were made with puff pastry, which would always crumble and end up on my 'breastlplate'. Flakes that didn't end up ON my breastplate, would end up BETWEEN my breasts.
The buttery pastry would always stain my clothes, too. There was no chance of sneaking and scoffing an Alpha pie on my own; the Machinist always found out, and I was convinced in those early years of getting to know him that he was psychic. His knowledge of my solo pie eating extravaganza would almost - well - anger him .
When you bit into the Alpha pie, the meaty, herby gravy (sage, perhaps? Definitely cracked pepper...) would trickle down your chin and dollop onto your top. There was no way of stopping this, nor did you care to stop it; devouring the pie was all consuming; there was no stopping or saving some till later. Once the first bite was taken, it was sound doctrine to finish it.
Word travelled fast and Alpha Bakery soon became famous and made a killing on their steak and kidney pies. They made other scrumptious pastries too, but the savoury pies were the money spinner. Visitors from far and wide would stop and stock.
Alpha Bakery and Alpha pies were happy times, and our relationship lasted for many years.
Not long before we left town (and the country), we noticed that the quality of Alpha pies was deteriorating. During mastication the steak would be rubbery, gristle-y and giblet-y! The pie was also void of kidneys. We would joke that you never quite knew what was IN the pies. Each one was different, had a different texture, a different amount of meat, a different type of meat.....
The situation with Alpha Bakery, like a lot of other aspects of the country at that time (1986), was more fodder that fed the conviction to migrate to the "Land of Milk and Honey"