I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Australian Culinary Oddities

After being here for ten years, I've come to realise that Australian cuisine is really a mish-mash of a whole lot of other cultures - English, Turkish, Thai, etc. This is one of the place's great strengths (especially in Melbourne, where the food is just brilliant.) Now while most Australian food is pretty good, there are some things which, really, I just don't understand. Here is a short list of the ones which annoy me the most.

  1. Butter: Butter is the national spread. Forget Vegemite, butter has taken over this country. They put it on everything - even under peanut butter or jam. *shudder* It's used in savoury things, like on almost all sandwiches as an addition to the other condiments you've got. It's used in sweet things, as a moistener, like on chocolate muffins or fruit scrolls. They put it on things which don't really need it, and often you can't taste it anyway. So why is it there in the first place?! Is butter the glue which holds this country together? Is it some evil plot by the dairy farmers?
  2. Milkshakes: Milkshakes in Australia are, well, just that - milk, all shook up (a huh huh!) They take vanilla ice cream, litres and litres of milk, a couple squirts of totally sickly sweet and wrongly coloured flavoured syrups, and shake it up. Then they have the gall to serve it to you and call it a milkshake. Straws do not stand up in it. Chocolate shakes should not be so pale as to be mistaken for vanilla - and on that note, chocolate milkshakes should be made with CHOCOLATE ice cream. Milkshakes in Australia are just a bleeding travesty...maybe it's yet another dairy farmer trick?!
  3. Chicken Flavouring: This one just makes me shake my head. There is chicken flavoured everything here. The catch? It tastes nothing like chicken, unless there are mutant flourescent yellow high sodium content chickens running around the countryside. Maybe they import the chickens from Chernobyl? Rice crackers, potato chips, Twisties, Ritz crackers, the salt ON french fries...you name it, they've chickened it.
  4. Soggy Cereal On Purpose: These ones I can actually eat and not gag, but I think they are strange to look at and wierd in general. I'm talking about Vita-Brits. They are a bit hard to describe. It's like reeeaaallly thin wheat or bran flakes, all squashed up into a sort of brick - a bit longer than a cigarette package and the same width. You put milk on them, and within SECONDS the brick disintegrates into a lumpy, wet, mushy....well, either it's breakfast cereal or it's handy for weekend grouting.
  5. Mayonnaise: Here it's often referred to as a ' salad dressing' ...and the scary thing is, it's really, really sweet. As in sickly sweet, and kinda vingar-y, and just kind of disgusting. The kind of mayonnaise that, when put on potatoes, automatically looks like it's going to give you salmonella or something (even without being outside on a hot day.) They even flavour it. It's just so horrid that even writing this is making me feel like I ate a chicken salad sandwich outside, at the height of summer, which was made the night before and they forgot to refrigerate since then....oh, and it was also made by someone who never washes their hands.
I'm sure there are loads of American foods which Australians find horrid (peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter flavoured everything, corn dogs, whatever) but the thing is, this is my blog. They can complain about those things on their blogs. Nah nah nah nah!


Weinraub Family said...

WOW, that cereal thing sounds NASTY! Thanks for the heads up, now I know what NOT to try during our vacation.

Who else exactly would this be? said...

Okay, I couldn't resist commenting on this one. THIS is the exact reason why you should come back to the United States where we have normal mayo (Australian mayo sounds like it would make me gag) AND we have peanut butter, which I am just taking a guess, is better than vegimite. I can't say I know that for sure cause I am to afraid to even try the stuff. So, let me take this opportunity to say, once again, that IT SUCKS YOU LIVE IN AUSTRALIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anna said...

at first i read your intro with trepidation (because i am excessively proud of australia's food culture), but as i progressed i had to agree 100% with each and every point.

1. i cannot stand it when a sandwich hand wants to put butter on my rare roast beef sandwich. it's just not necessary.

2. it's not just milkshakes that taste like bland coloured milk, hot chocolates are sorely lacking in chocolate too.

3. cheese twisties are wrong but chicken twisties are the snack food of the devil. all chicken flavoured chips (and bacon for that matter) should be made illegal.

4. i ate weet-bix for breakfast yesterday. i loved them as a kid but now they're just too damn soggy. try the ones with little pellets of bran in them for extra texture (but not much more).

5. mayonnaise is disgusting. i hate it, i hate it, i hate it.

so yes, your observations are very accurate.

now, let's move onto gross american food . . .

Poppets mum said...

I can agree with you on the mayonnaise and have relaxed since finding "American style" mayonnaise here BUT let me tell you about all the good things you have here that YOU CAN NOT GET in the US - Tim Tams (and pretty much every Arnotts biscuit made with chocolate), Twisties (the cheese kind), potato cakes with vinear, good chocolate bars (let's face it Hershey bars taste like soap), every cheese imaginable. What the US pass off as cheese - oh my g-d!! People, cheese is supposed to be a whitish yellow colour - not a florescent bright yellow AND it is not supposed to come in a can!!!