JOYCE Griffin, 85, still enjoys eating meat pies for lunch, especially the Four’N Twenty variety that she helped name.
The Bendigo resident came up with the iconic pie name in 1945 and has seen it go from humble beginnings at a bake house in Pall Mall to a global brand.
Mrs Griffin recalls working for local businessman Lesley McClure when he asked her thoughts on what the pie should be called.
“Originally it was called the Dad and Dave pie and we were selling a lot of those in the milk bars around Bendigo,” she said.
“One day we were talking and Les said, ‘what do you think of when you think of these pies?’ and straight away I said, ‘four and twenty blackbirds’.”
A number of names were considered but the nursery rhyme-inspired name stuck.
Mrs Griffin said the Four’N Twenty pies were first sold in a number of milk bars in Hargreaves St and Mitchell St, and were given to Australian soldiers based at the showgrounds and Bendigo racecourse.
In 1947, then aged 20, Mrs Griffin was asked to join the Four’N Twenty business that was expanding in Melbourne. She decided to stay in Bendigo and got married.
By 1956, Four’N Twenty pies were being produced in multiple factories around Melbourne, on a machine that churned out 12,000 pies an hour.
In 2006 the Four’N Twenty pies began to be sold throughout North America.
Mrs Griffin said it’s still a “bit of a thrill” to know that she had an involvement in the beginning of the brand.
“My kids used to say to me, when they’d get a pie at the footy, that they were thinking of me. It may be my greatest claim to fame.”
After almost 70 years of changes, Mrs Griffin said the original pies baked at Aunt Sally milk bar in Bendigo, are still her favourite.
“The crusts are a little bit harder these days, I think the first ones were the best tasting.”