Viewpoints from Aussie Cuisine

  • Pie could be considered as an Iconic Aussie Dish. Only a few restaurants have it as a dish or even as a signature dish eg.

    “Of course, our menu always includes ever-popular dishes, such as our famous Snapper Pie. We wouldn’t dare take it off!

    The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay, Sydney

    The quaint tradition of putting premium Tasmanian Sea Scallops into a pie began on the Hobart wharves in the early 19th Century. This taste sensation has remained a uniquelyTasmanian delicacy only available on the Island.

  • Only a few restaurants are serving Damper, it seems nowadays it is much more stylish and cool to serve French Baguette or sour-dough bread

  • Celebrating our own food creations, rather than believing that foreign imports are cool would create an identifying Aussie Cuisine

By Warren Fahey

In earlier Australian history, necessity really was the mother of invention. The pioneers went to the outback with the bare essentials. Some brought seeds of herbs and healing plants that they had treasured back home in the northern hemisphere.

Bill Harney, the great bushman of yesteryear, had a favourite saying about native food: “If it moves, catch it – it might be good bush tucker”. In his classic Bill Harney’s Cook Book he mentions many bush tucker recipes, including crocodile, emu egg dishes, possum pumpkin pie, baked bandicoot, roasted goanna and witchetty grubs – all cooked in the bush style.

Bush tucker has come to mean game, fowl, native vegetables or seafood gathered by one who is living off the country. There was also an expression “gin tucker” denoting snakes, goannas and other foods eaten by Aborigines, and so called because its gathering was the usual task of the womenfolk, while the men hunted larger game.

There are many bush tucker dishes, some quite delicious and other not so much. Two have become symbolic and honourably represent the bush tucker food culture and have been appreciated by the wider community for a long time and could be considered “Iconic Aussie Dishes” (AC)

Camp Pie

This was traditionally made with minced meat, gelatine and whatever else was hanging around, and then cooked in the billy. The tinned commercial version tasted just as dreadful as the original.

Damper

Damper is the foundation of bush cuisine. The word was first used in 1827 and strictly speaking referred to bread baked in the ashes of a campfire or in a camp oven. It is not always unleavened as many cooks added bicarbonate of soda or baking powder. Some cooks also used Eno’s Fruit Salts, which were readily available as a liver tonic. The salts had the approximate ingredients to make the bread rise.

Reference:

Fahey, W. (2005). Curious history of food in Australia : tucker track. (pps. 105,107). Sydney, NSW: ABC Books.