Sunday, January 25, 2009

" I come from a land Down Under .... "

Happy Australia Day everybody! Today is a national holiday commemorating the day James Cook landed at Botany Bay, essentially " discovering " Australia. Basically, its a day where we get to take the day off, have a bbq with family and friends and watch the cricket ( or, in my case today, a marathon of Project Runway Australia ). How more Aussie could you get than that ? Its all about family, friends and food. And, speaking of food - I know you non-Australian type people think we Aussies eat some weird things. You've probably heard us use terms like " sausage roll " or " lamingtons " and wondered " What in the boojesus are they talking about ? What the hell is a lamington ? It sounds like some kind of uppity posh suburb of London .... " And so, in the Australia spirit of mateship and sharing, i've come up with my glossary of the Top 5 " weird " foods we Aussies indulge in :

*NOTE* ( They arent actually weird - theyre just different. Judge food by its packaging or its label ok ? )

VEGEMITE ( vej -e -myte ):
Come on now, you've all heard of it Vegemite, we're reknowned for it! I also know that you all probably think its downright disgusting - but, of course, i'm willing to bet 9 out of 10 of you havent ever tried it. To be truthful, all the foreigners i've ever seen taste Vegemite have almost choked on their own bile, so i guess its an acquired taste. Its pretty much a fermented yeast paste - its a little bitter, a little salty, a little something you cant describe. Its all also a little perfect on white toast!
PAVLOVA ( pav - low - vuh ):
Take a look at it - doesnt it look scrum-diddlie-umptious ? Yes, yes it does. It also tastes that way, which is probably why its one of Australia's favourite dessert recipes. Its a ( depending on your tastes, of course ) either a crisp and crunchy or crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, meringue base. The meringue base is then covered in sweet whipped cream and your choice of toppings. The traditional pavlova, as seen above, is whipped cream and a variety of tropical fruits, although some fancy people have made pavlovas covered in chocolate, nuts and marshmallow; chewy candies; or white chocolate and berries. But just remember - when in doubt, always go traditional!
MEAT PIE ( mee -t pye ):
Meat pies are as Aussie as hotdogs are American. That is, to say, meat pies are the " everyman " food of Australia. Its pretty much as it sounds - a pastry shell, much like any dessert pie, but filled with a mix of minced meat ( usually beef ) and a gravy like sauce. Meat pies are the favourite snack/casual dinner for Australian men everywhere, but are particularly well loved at any type of sporting event ( meat pie at the football ? Doesnt get more Australian then that! ). Also, please note - you can eat as many meat pies as you like, but if you dont eat them with tomato sauce ( no, not ketchup - TOMATO SAUCE ) you will never pass as a real Aussie.
WEET BIX ( wee-t bi -cks ):
A quintessentially Australian breakfast cereal. If you read the fine print on the box, it reads " The Breakfast of Champions ". Damn right it is! This is the breakfast cereal that always has some kind of Australian athlete ( currently cricket players ) as its spokeperson. Weet Bix, just like the meat pie, are pretty much the way they sound - that is, they are are small, rectangular biscuits of shredded wheat. Nice and healthy, if not a little bland. They're best eaten warm, so you can " cook " them by pouring on some boiling water or milk ( or nuking them in the microwave, for the time poor people out there ), and if you add a litte sugar or a touch of honey and banana - you wont find an easier, yummier, healthier breakfast anywhere! ( except maybe an organic retreat.... )
LAMINGTONS ( lah - ming - ton-s ):
Ah, the forementioned lamington. I am telling you, my craving for one of these whilst i lived overseas was enough to rival a pregnant womans desire for pickles in chocolate icecream. However, lamingtons are about a million times more delicious than that heinous concoction. Lamingtons are, in a word, awesome - they're little squares of white sponge cake, covered in milk chocolate and then rolled in coconut. So simple, yet so, so sweet! They can also be made with some whipped cream in the middle, but being the purist I am ( oh, and i'm not so big on cream... ) i prefer the good old traditional version best. Mmm.... lamingtons.
And there you be ladies and gents. Should you have any lingering queries in regards to an Australian delicacy you may have heard of, feel free to leave a comment and i'll endevour to clear that one up for you too. Viva el Australia!
( oh, wait, my bad, thats Spanish.... )


  1. tomato sauce is yucki! And a meat pie is a pot pie! And they play these stupid fosters commercials here that say "Austrailian for beer." Is that true cause fosters is yuck!

  2. Freaking hell no! Nobody - and i mean literally NOBODY - drinks Fosters here. In fact, i'd never seen it on offer at a bar until i went to the US...

  3. LMAO thats awsome!!! so we are the victims of a marketing lie?

  4. boojesus- I need to say that more.

    I would love a lamington. Where can I get one stateside?

  5. Happy Australia day Amy! I'm heading out with my Aussie friend for a couple of drinks tonight - think we're avoiding the one Aussie bar in Glasgow though!

    Oooh and I think we're going to have lamingtons at her party on Saturday - AND kangaroo burgers!!!

  6. Happy Australia Day! Enjoyed your foodie post very much, fascinating insight into Aussie culture! We got marmite, suppose it't the same as vegimite? Tastes beefy but it's made of erm, mites or something?? Confusing. Shame we don't have anything like Lamingtons. Got a recipe for us Amy? :-)

  7. @Andy - Next time your in NYc try The Sunburnt Cow on Avenue C. It was the only place i could fulfill my lamington cravings whilst in the US...
    @Paula - kangaroo burgers ? Yum - she really is going all out!
    @Steph - yep, marmite and Vegemite are pretty close. And i'll work on that lamington recipe for you!

  8. ohmygoodness I need a meat pie to celebrate! I hope it's not too late! :)

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