Monday, February 13, 2006

A Jumbuck in Yer Tuckerbag

In the comments on The Cow's last post jedimacfan was moved to ask:
"I suppose the next thing you're going to tell me is that Outback Steakhouse isn't really Australian food?"
This reminded me of the one and only time I have ever been to an Outback Steakhouse, near Wilmington NC, and what a jolly old time three of us Australians had therein. And yes, jedimacfan, I'm going to tell you that this isn't really Australian food. Not even close.

One of the things I remember is that our waiter, dressed in ludicrous faux 'drover's attire' (or something), on hearing one of my friends' very mild swearing, asked "Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?" We knew right away that these people had very little experience of Australia.

And then we saw the menu. Oh how we laughed! Let us examine it:
♦Bloomin' Onion - An Outback Ab-original from Russell's Marina Bay
The 'Bloomin' Onion' is not an Australian invention. It is certainly not an 'Ab-original' invention and I sincerely hope that there is nothing more than a bad pun involved in this description. This is about as close to the wind as you could sail with a gag like this without being racist and/or condescending. As far as 'Russell's Marina Bay' is concerned, well, there is no such place. They just made it up! Look it up on Google - all the hits you get are... yep, the Outback Steakhouse.
♦Aussie Cheese Fries - Aussie chips topped with Monterey Jack and Colby cheeses and bacon served with spicy ranch dressing
It's hard to imagine a foodstuff you are less likely to find in Australia. Sushi, yes, Goat curry, sure. Kim chee, falafel, Chinese-style pig's trotters, Thai octopus salad, gado-gado, sucuklu, burek - any of these I could go pick up for dinner right now. Foraging further afield I could get barbecued crocodile, kangaroo steaks, scrambled emu eggs and even roast camel. But sorry folks, no-one serves cheese on top of chips here. It is, I think I am right in saying, pretty much an American idea that you should take perfectly edible food and then completely drown it in melted cheese.
♦"Gold Coast" Coconut Shrimp - Six colossal shrimp dipped in beer batter, rolled in coconut, deep fried to a golden brown and served with marmalade sauce .
Yeah, that's entirely possible. The Gold Coast is the Australian twin city to South Carolina's Myrtle Beach. I'm sure jedimacfan will understand the comparison.
♦Walkabout Soup - A unique presentation of an Australian favourite. Reckon!
What? What do they mean by this? Aborigines don't carry soup on walkabout. It would be utterly idiotic. Native Australians would have NO idea what this was. Furthermore, you could stop anyone on the street here, anyone, and ask them what 'Walkabout Soup' was and I will guarantee that not one person other than someone who has been to an Outback Steakhouse would be able to tell you. Reckon.
♦Drover's Platter - Generous portion of ribs and chicken breast on the Barbie with Aussie chips and cinnamon apples.
Ah, the old traditional Australian cinnamon apples. Yes, they feature a lot in the OS menu. But guess what! WE DON'T EAT CINNAMON APPLES HERE. (Except maybe, like, once every ten years at Christmas time. Maybe). Cinnamon is the dessert equivalent of melted cheese; take any perfectly edible dessert and add cinnamon to it. Genius. I'm surprised no-one in America has yet invented the perfect all-in-one meal: cinnamon coated melted cheese! (In fact I am totally afraid that someone has and I just haven't heard of it yet).
Botany Bay Fish O' The Day - Fresh catch, lightly seasoned and grilled, with fresh veggies
You don't eat anything that comes out of Botany Bay. Or Sydney Harbour for that matter. Seriously. Recently there was a government-issued warning about doing so.

I could go on. Suffice to say that the entire menu is risible in one way or another. There is no 'Rock Hampton' although there is a Rockhampton; we have never called mushrooms 'shrooms'; no-one says 'Hooley Dooley' anymore (the last user of this phrase died twenty years back, and he was a hundred and fifty eight); 'bonzer' is generally spelled 'bonza'; and there is not, among the choices of burgers on the OS menu, anything remotely resembling a traditional Australian-style hamburger (and yes, we do have beetroot on hamburgers).

About the only thing that is acceptably Australian on the Outback Steakhouse menu is the wine list. So, if you should find yourself in one of these places, my advice to you is therefore to get completely plastered as quickly as you can on one of our great Australian wines. Hopefully you will wake up the next morning with no hangover and no memory at all of where you've been. Then you can come visit us down here sometime and find out what our food is really like.

My shout.


Blogger Chickie said...

Oh my god. I always thought it was "real" Australian cuisine. I've been totally duped by the OS. Lying fuckers.

Next thing you'll probably tell us is that there's no Santa Claus.

February 15, 2006 12:50 AM  
Blogger Joey Polanski said...

I was gonna say its good t see Simple Graphics Roo keepin outta dangr, but then I noticd hes layd out ovr a plate o ptatoes.

February 15, 2006 1:37 AM  
Anonymous anne arkham said...

Cheese fried were invented in Canada.

February 15, 2006 1:52 AM  
Blogger Radioactive Jam said...

So this is what "suicidal disillusionment" feels like.

February 15, 2006 3:27 AM  
Blogger Joey Polanski said...

Oh, yeah. By th way, Revrend, yer nex post bettr tell us Yanks what kindsa stuff is REALY servd inna Australian resteraunt, cause now that we no you blokes dont eat Outback Stakehouse stuff, were likley t think yaint got nothin good t eat ovr there.

February 15, 2006 4:32 AM  
Anonymous Cissy Strutt said...

If I'd been drinking bottled orange juice, it would have shot out my nose at the phrase "colossal shrimp" - ha ha snuk. CowPhiles of the North - we eat prawns here in Orstraylia, a shrimp is sumpin very very small. And Monterey Jack is an unknown delicacy. I will be in your United States in May - how tempted am I to go OS.

February 15, 2006 10:00 AM  
Blogger Joey Polanski said...

Wait a minute. Monterey Jack? Dint Paul Hogan play him inda movies?

February 15, 2006 11:43 AM  
Blogger anaglyph said...

I think Paul Hogan played Rock Hampton.

February 15, 2006 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Cissy Strutt said...

Ron Moss (who I believe plays Ridge, or Brick , or Sock or something in "The Young & The Bold of Our Lives") has just distinguished himself in an hilarious ad on Australian televison, dressed in a Dri-Za-Bone & Akubra, riding towards a long-frocked sheila on a station (or "ranch"). He sits nobly astride his steed & declaims in an appalling AmerAustralian accent about 'mouye land, mouye country' and ends, on beng informed that he is loved by said sheila, with the endearing words "Bloody Oath" - laugh? I nearly shot bottled orange juice out of my nose. What is that ad for? ... er ... 'Australian Fresh' Orange Juice (the idea being you can always tell if it's not genuinely Australian)

February 15, 2006 3:10 PM  
Blogger Joe Fuel said...

Good Lord, I'm afraid to ask about Foster's beer...

February 15, 2006 5:08 PM  
Blogger Joey Polanski said...


Who is Kim Chee, an does she have a boyfrend?

February 15, 2006 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

Hullo there!

Just wanted to say thank you for your kind birthday greetings. <3

Love & monkey brains,

- S.

February 16, 2006 5:09 AM  
Blogger anaglyph said...

Chickie: Oh, Santa Claus is at least as real as, say, The Easter Bunny...

Anne Arkham: Nice try, deflecting the cheese fries to Canada. But we ALL know where the melted cheese craze originates...

RaJ: Wait till I start on God. Oh, yeah. I already did that.

Joey: We have two types of cuisine here: the kind we all grew up with, and the kind we eat now. But maybe you're right, and it deserves a post of its own...

Kim Chee is an acquired taste. She spends most of her time pickled.

Joe: Some people drink Fosters. I don't. There are much better beers. Coopers, for instance.

Suzanne: Hello there! Thanks for dropping by The Cow. I hope you got your roses OK.

February 16, 2006 8:55 AM  
Blogger Chickie said...

Mmmm...Kim chee...

February 16, 2006 10:48 AM  
Blogger Jill said...

In 99% of the cases, I wouldn't care about America-bashing, but




Granted, my Italian ancestors are rolling over in their graves right now, but if there's one way I'm an American kid, it's that I'm ALL ABOUT the cheese fries.

February 17, 2006 2:34 PM  
Blogger anaglyph said...

Hmmm. And I had you pegged for a woman of class, Jill.

February 17, 2006 8:25 PM  
Anonymous vox said...

I hate cheese fries. Even the third or fourth basket of gooey goodness you slurp down over some pool and a bunch of beers. I hate the way the cheap cheddar sticks to your fingers and you have to lick it off. I hate how the salt in the fries and the tang of cheap nacho cheese works together to create an orange ambrosial mess of starch, sodium, and fat.

Ok fine, I love them. And no one would mistake me for a woman of class.

February 18, 2006 3:42 AM  
Blogger Joey Polanski said...

Mmmmm ... KIM Cheese!

February 18, 2006 7:29 AM  
Anonymous Wool PhMahn said...

Miss Jean Brodie had class.She didnt eat no cheese fries.She didn't confuse East Coast Awstrayin cuisine with the meat pies and VB ya scarf down in the outback neither.Just try getting a blimmim burek next time ya go walkabout,Reverend.Outback means roadkill and tom sauce and lashings of fat truckers smelling like a dingo's dunghole.Sounds like them Amerry-cans got it about right.

February 18, 2006 4:44 PM  
Blogger anaglyph said...

Wool PhMahn: Well, of course I realise that the generosity of gastronomic choice we have here in the Big Smoke is not yer average Australian tucker. My point being though, that any of the food I mentioned is more likely to be found in Australia than cheese fries.

Cheese fries we don't have.

Outback Steakhouse just presents American-style food with irksome Australian monikers. It's a Sizzler by any other name.

February 19, 2006 9:43 AM  
Blogger anaglyph said...

Jill: Oh, and I guess I should be careful with the generalizations. I don't mean to America-bash per se, just Big-Corporate-Franchise bash. I've eaten very good food in the US (much of it in New Orleans...), so I know you guys can do it.

But I detest the plague of Sizzler/McDonalds/Dennys et al that have spread across your country pretending to be 'restaurants'. They are the blanding of the world.

February 19, 2006 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Wilf Mahn said...

Now you got something against BLAND? I take that as a personal affront.

February 19, 2006 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Wool 'ff min said...

Now if them restaraunts was to serve "Peter Falconio Steaks with Green-Ant dressing",would you be more happier?You could maybe start ya own franchise,where ya haffta catch and kill your own food...

February 19, 2006 10:09 AM  
Blogger anaglyph said...

Whoa tacky... but funny.

February 19, 2006 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Cissy Strutt said...

when Falconio's murderer was found guilty, Certain Newspapers led with the front page headline "Falconio Murderer Found Guilty" ... Other Newspapers delighted in the front page banner "Murdoch Guilty Of Murder".

February 19, 2006 4:44 PM  
Anonymous Wolfman said...

What? No headlines sayin "My shout"?

February 19, 2006 6:08 PM  
Blogger Martha Who? said...

You forgot to mention the "jackaroo chops" which is another one that CRACKS ME UP.

February 22, 2006 2:29 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

No way would I eat Walkabout Soup. It'd probably have goannas and things in it.

What stuff is australian? Moreton bay bugs, "lobsters" (actually crawfish), sandcrabs and mudcrabs, and prawns. Vegemite. Fish and chips. Barbecued steak and sausages.

Love that, cissy. I didn't see that one.

February 23, 2006 3:35 PM  
Blogger Jill said...

Oh, i absolutely agree, those restaurants are indeed the plague of world cuisine. I just reaaaalllly love combinations of potatoes and metlted cheese. potato skins with cheddar, bacon (real bacon, not that fake stuff they stick on salads), and sour cream. Oh God!

February 24, 2006 5:23 AM  
Blogger tk said...

I just sort of discovered your blog (and love it) and I had to tell you...We (the Americans) have invented cinnamon slathered cheese. Or rather cheese slathered cinnamon, it a cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting. I find them utterly delicious, though I don't know if they actually qualify as "food"

March 04, 2006 11:27 AM  
Blogger anaglyph said...

tk: Hello and thanks for stopping by. Yes, would it surprise you if I said it didn't surprise me to find this out? Still, cream cheese and cinnamon in a pastry is possibly acceptable since the Danish have had things like that for a while. I continue to hope that no hell-spawned melted cheese and cinnamon mutation walks the earth...

March 04, 2006 4:21 PM  

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