What’s Australian food like? I’ll find out soon enough. So far, I’ve tried two Aussie favourites: Tim Tams and Vegemite.
A Tim Tam is a cookie, or a biscuit, as Aussies say. It’s two layers of chocolate malted cookie separated by a light cream filling, and coated in chocolate. Yes, it’s heavenly. Vegemite is a strange, dark food paste made from yeast extract that’s used as a spread for toast, sandwiches, and so forth. I’m convinced that a tub of Vegemite can survive a nuclear meltdown. It will be the food of the zombie apocalypse. President Obama stated, “It’s horrible.” It definitely takes some getting used to. Less is more with Vegemite.
Aboriginal people have occupied Australia for at least 40,000 years and developed a diet based on the land’s native plants and wildlife. Later, culinary tastes were strongly influenced by British and Irish colonialists. Contemporary cuisine includes these plus the influence of multicultural immigration, most of which has come from Asia and the Mediterranean.
There are some foods I’m looking forward to having. More Tim Tams for starters. Also, fish and chips, which I haven’t had since I went to London in 2006; meat pies, ground beef enclosed in a baked pastry shell; lots of barbecue; lots of red wine; and I’d like to try kangaroo meat. And, of course, you can’t really go wrong with great pizza, Chinese, and kebab. Although Theo drinks instant coffee for some reason, I’ve heard that Melbourne has a sophisticated coffee culture. I look forward to many an afternoon having a latte in a cafe.
I don’t think I can talk about Australian food without mentioning beet, which Aussies call beetroot (curious for a country that shortens everything). Apparently, Australians consume a lot of beetroot – canned slices, as a dip, as a salad topping, roasted, with risotto, on (gasp!) burgers. Yes, burgers. Even McDonald’s puts beetroot on its special McOz burger.
I really don’t know what to make of this beetroot thing or their burgers with “the lot”, which also includes pineapple and a fried egg.