Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Australian Archives

image source: Darren Freak,

Today 10 new additions to the Australian Film and Sound Archive were announced. What an interesting way to preserve Australian cultural history throughout the years. It did make me think, what about a Australian Taste Archive? Here are my suggestions for the initial inductees.


‘Roo is perfect food for the number one spot. Eaten by Australian residents as well as their pets, it is also on Australia’s coat of arms. Along with the emu it was chosen for the coat of arms due to its inability to move backwards, ie Australia is always looking forwards. Of course it could be argued that its inability to reverse might be one of the reasons it is so easily killed for food. Kangaroo also has the unique position of being a national symbol whilst also being treated like vermin. Kangaroos also represent an interesting allegory for Australia’s refugee stance. Politically Australia prides itself on its multicultural society and its history of immigration, whilst at the same time wanting to rid itself of new arrivals.


When hamburger outlets want to have an “Australian” variation to a basic menu item they add beetroot. In the same way adding BBQ sauce makes it American/Texan.


In the same way that the addition of beetroot makes a hamburger Australian, the addition of an egg to a pizza makes it more Aussie. Alternatively some pizza makers may choose to remove most ingredients from their pizza to make it more authentic Aussie – leaving only the tomato cheese and ham. This theory ignores the fact that an authentic pizza is Neapolitan. (yes I know this is a pizza “flavour” it also means “from Naples”  - and yes that does mean that the only authentic pizza flavour/topping is Neapolitan  - and no that is not to be confused with the mix of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice-cream that is also called Neapolitan.)


Similar to beetroot and egg, except this is added to recipes in Australian middle and working class homes to make ant dish seem for exotic. Generally adding pineapple to a recipe allows the cook to describe the meal as “sweet and sour”. Beef stew + pineapple = sweet and sour beef.

Chiko Roll.

The Chiko Roll is the Australian interpretation of the spring roll or a Chinese egg roll. It is a mix of beef, celery, cabbage, barley,  carrot, corn, onion, green beans, and spices wrapped in a pastry and then deep fried. Tasty, right? It was once the perfect fast food for spectators at an Australian Rules Football match, quick to cook, easy to eat with one hand.

Meat Pie.

Similar to the Chiko, a meat pies comes into its own at a game of footy. Whilst it is questionable as to how much actual meat a pie should contain (if any) they are basically meat and gravy in pastry, cooked in an oven. A meat pie should be eaten with tomato sauce and ideally be served at a temperature that guarantees the eater burns the roof of his or her mouth. The reflex action of pulling away quickly with one’s mouth open almost always results in at least some of the filling spilling onto the front of the eaters shirt leaving a permanent stain.


Cooked on the BBQ the perfect Australian sausage should be either burnt so that it actually crunches during the chewing process or is left so that it is still raw in the middle. Either way the consumer is sure to be spending some time in the near future vacating the same sausage from their bowels. No one knows the exact list of ingredients that creates an Australian sausage. No one wants to know the list of ingredients that create an Australian sausage.


Enough said.

It is worth noting that Chiko Rolls, meat pies , poorly cooked snags and vegemite within hours, also lead to a range of digestive bi-products which could be the initial entries to the Australian Smell Archive.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Not As You Planned It

Planning and organising is always the most exciting aspect of any new venture. Whether starting a business, going on holiday, moving house or getting married, the planning is the best part. Why?

Everything and anything is possible when planning. Nothing can go wrong in the actual planning, expectations are built during planning but never left unfulfilled. Take holidays as an example.

Planning a holiday is lots of reading of guide books, brochures and websites, choosing destinations, transport, accommodation, activities, food…According to all of the pictures in the brochures and on line every beach is the best in the world with the whitest sand and the most amazing panoramic vista, and only the world’s most attractive people in the skimpiest of swimwear frequent this beach. This beach is now a “must see” part of your itinerary.

Hotels are always the most spacious and opulently decorated with the friendliest staff. Food is always the most decadent and an example of the finest cuisine, regardless of the restaurant.

It is only when the holiday starts that expectations and dreams will be left unfulfilled, the flight will be longer than expected, the weather will be slightly overcast on the days set aside to go to the beach, which at the time of year you have chosen appears to have more seaweed than models.

The food never looks the same as it did in the picture, and definitely does not taste as exquisite as you imagined, and not matter where you stand in the hotel room or what angle to position your camera there is no way you can make your allocated room look anywhere near as spacious as their website led you to believe. In fact the room will be so small that you will be left wondering how a professional photographer ever fit in the room to take the photo in the first place.

In the planning of your holiday no one ever got sick with 48hours of the most violent gastro you have ever seen. In the planning everyone in your travel group stayed friends, in fact the relationships were made even stronger as a result of the shared experience. In reality you end up in fights over the bartered cost of local taxi service, when it was close enough (for some people) to have just walked.

Moving house is the same. In the plans the removalist arrives on time, everything is packed and delivered to the right address, on the right day and without any damage. In reality the packing is not quiet complete when the removalists finally arrive, there are some belongings that just wont fit into a box no matter how many angles you try – and you try them all…more than once. On arrival at your new address there will be damage and it will always be items that were irreplaceable or completely impractical to repair.

Inexplicably, despite being in an unofficial drought, the heavens open just as the removalists start unpacking, so everything you own is now wet. And where did those three steps come from.

When you signed the mortgage/lease you could have sworn the front yard was completely level so removalist could get easy access to the front door. Now there are three blessed steps up from the driveway to the front porch. The removalists now want to charge you more for the extra workload. The way they manoeuvred the fridge up the steps means you are pretty sure it will need to be re-gassed. Despite your careful measuring of each of the rooms, none of your existing furniture fits properly, particularly the couch which won’t even fit through the door into the lounge because of the width of the passageway. Having just paid your deposit/bond there is no money available for a new couch. The couch now sits on the back veranda and the outdoor setting comes inside so there is something to sit on while watching TV. The TV of course now has reception issues which appears to only affect the channels you want to watch, and never has any problems with the infomercial channels.

The plan is to buy a new couch by the end of the month. But as we know, everything is better in the planning phase…