"Ladies, a plate."
The phrase was once as Kiwi as, well, the kiwi on the Golden Kiwi lottery ticket.
New Zealanders have gathered for shared meals for donkeys years and the prerequisite request for attendees to contribute was such a mainstay that it didn't even require manners. Ladies, a plate, please?
If time was short; the invitation last-minute; or the sponge failed to rise, good old Ernest Adams came to the rescue. Still wrapped or unwrapped and presented on the aforementioned plate, everyone understood with a smile that Ernest Adams had come to the rescue, and would be a reliably tasty addition to the spread.
This week, however, one loyal customer alerted the Spinoff to the word on the street that Ernest Adams had quietly been ... shelved.
The Spinoff confirmed Ernest Adams is no longer one of the company's brands on its website, and the phone number for the Ernest Adams factory in Palmerston North rings through to voicemail.
A representative from Foodstuffs told The Spinoff the supplier had made the decision to discontinue the Ernest Adams items. Then, a Goodman Fielder customer service representative confirmed to Stuff the line had been "deleted".
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So that's that. Ninety-three years after Ernest Alfred Adams' partner Hugh Bruce retired and Adams Bruce Limited became Ernest Adams, the brand is no more. Such, as they say, is progress.
Pictures of Ernest Adams' Louise slice can still be viewed on the Countdown website this week but a sorry orange-outlined note of warning reads "product unavailable".
There are other baking brands, of course, and many supermarkets have in-store baked fresh products each day.
During the first Covid-19 level 4 lockdown in March 2020, supermarkets quickly sold out of baking supplies as New Zealanders cranked up the stoves to both spend time without going mad, and provision the household with fresh goodies.
Judging by the scarcity of yeast supplies, it appeared many were mastering the art of making bread and pizza bases.
Maybe the disappearance of the beloved Ernest Adams marque can inspire us to perfect the Louise slice ourselves, even to the standard of presenting to the next BYO gathering?