What is Aussie?

What is Aussie?

Okay I know there are probably more important things I should blogging about e.g. Wordle but it has come to my attention there are Outback Steakhouses in USA that some Americans believe serve food that reflects Aussie cuisine (thanks to Jennifer Jones for providing the link in twitter).

Now in all fairness Outback Steakhouses about information does say “Big, bold food made fresh everyday accompanied by a laid back ‘no worries’ Aussie attitude”. I will need to visit to see if service is a laid back ‘no worries’ Aussie attitude” (which is unlikely to happen) but their food doesn’t look like what we would call Aussie food.

Meanwhile its clear we need to provide so more education on Aussies.

So check out this famous Australian song made by Austen Tayshus in 1983 called Australiana.

Now Kate Foy response to Outback Steakhouse was:

EEEEK! “Buffalo wings, shrimp!” What are these? Aussie food indeed. Tell ’em they’re dreaming.

The saying “Tell ’em they’re dreaming” is an Aussies saying most remembered from the classic Australian film The Castle (check out The Castle Part 1 and Part 2).


What other videos/information do you suggest they check out to learn more about Australia?

Also please share your thoughts on true Aussie food because at the moment (according to Christine Martell) large numbers of Americans believe Aussies eat greasy onions all the time; and they celebrate Aussies by eating them too.

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22 thoughts on “What is Aussie?

  1. Wait. I’m confused. Do you think Americans need to be educated on All Things Aussie? Or just on Aussie food? The two vids you posted and your last question are about All Things Aussie, but your original Twitter rant was about Outback Steakhouses pretending to be Aussie. To me, learning more about Aussie culture and history is something entirely different (and more intimidating! ha!) than just learning more about what Aussies eat.

    I’m not American, and I’ve been living overseas for 7+ years, and have many Aussie friends but have not yet BEEN to Australia (shame, isn’t it?). But from what I understand, most of the Aussies I know talk incessantly about what’s “on the barbie” — and so my understanding is that Aussie food is all about what you can throw on the barbeque. Am I way off-base? (To use an American idiom.. haha!) Or do you guys just eat kangaroos? 😉

  2. Hi MsMichetti

    A side note, what Americans call a BBQ/barbie as slightly different to the Australian use of the word.

    What is called a BBQ in the US has no direct equivalent in OZ.

    What is called a BBQ in OZ is equivalent to what is called a ‘Grill’.

    The word grill has a different use in Oz. As in ‘I’ll have a Mixed grill’. More of an indoor fry up on meat and vegies.


  3. I live in Canada and I never have believed the Outback Steakhouse thing. Other than, well…it’s a steakhouse!!!

    I have always wanted to go to Australia and Fiji. Maybe I have to get linked up in an Edtech conference that will help administrators initiate technology in schools, right Sue!!!LOL

    Other than that my latest Aussie involvements have been watching old Crowded House and AC/DC video’s on YouTube!!!

    BTW BBQ in North America is the SLOW cooking of food for several hours, but some call grilling BBQ over here.

    I’m getting hungry.

  4. Aussies are good with desserts. Check out lamingtons, pavlovas and Peach Melba. Lamingtons are 2″ squares of cake iced in chocolate and rolled in dessicated coconut … named after the then-governor of Queensland for whom they were first made. Great with morning tea (inherited from the UK).

    Pavlovas are well … what can I say about a ‘pav’? A crisp, slightly sweet meringue flan base filled with fresh fruit and topped with cream. Pavs often include kiwi fruit which are in no way an hommage to our friends across the Tasman Sea … it’s another name for Chinese Gooseberries … native of China. Anna Pavlova was a great Russian ballerina and was made in her honour by a Perth chef during her 1935 visit to Australia.

    Peach Melba was created by Auguste Escoffier of London’s Savoy Hotel, and named after that truly grand dame of opera and Aussie Dame Nellie Melba. Think of a concoction of peaches with raspberry sauce and ice-cream.

    Kind of puts Vegemite (an extract from yeast leavings) in its place, don’t you think?

    My family always has pav as dessert on Boxing Day (December 26 and a public holiday in Australia). It’s the end to a barbecue meal which comprises steak, sausages, lamb chops, onions and a range of salads.

    Do we eat this stuff? You bet!

  5. Love Outback Steakhouse. Great steak. Best Caesar Salad. Great baked potatoes. Decent service.

    Not Australia I’m sure. No more than reality shows reflect the reality of a country’s average citizens. Thanks for bring up the topic.

  6. Here is another thing I’ve heard about Aussies food that may entertain you. You have to eat the shrimp on the barbie when you go there because the meat all tastes bad. The animals must all eat sagebrush in the Outback or something……..

    I definitely think you need to host some kind of educational conference we can all come to, complete with a real Aussies food evening to straighten us all out.

  7. 1. YESSSSS to beetroot on the hamburger. YUM.

    2. YESSS to Kate’s lammies and pavs. Yum, yum, yum. Pav with cream and strawberries on it. 🙂

    3. PIZZA. Sounds weird I know, but pizza with pinapple on it, and all the other things we have on a supreme. SO good, and quite unique to us I believe.

    4. Sausage on bread. SO good. It’s my favourite food. with fried onions and tomato sauce.

    5. Vegemite on toast. Had it last night after dinner. it really hits the spot.

    6. Savs and Tomato. You know, ‘hot dogs’ cut up with diced tomato and a little bit of sugar, cook up and served on a piece of toast. Maybe that’s just a family thing.

    7. and as a real australian I also love some lasagne. 🙂

  8. Hey, Sue. Interesting point about Outback and I certainly figured it couldn’t represent your food. I am a Brazilian living in the US. The funny thing is that we have Outback in Brasilia, my hometown, and in the US. You know what? They don’t have anything to do with each other. Totally different! The Brazilian Outback is way better than the American. We used to go there all the time. In the US, we don’t even get close after eating there once.

    Last month, I started a webcasting project with a friend of mine, Cris Costa, and our first stop was in Adelaide with Mike Coghlan. Just a wonderful podcast about Aussies, life, food…

  9. @Gnoll and @Dave,

    What is called a BBQ in OZ is equivalent to what is called a ‘Grill’.

    BTW BBQ in North America is the SLOW cooking of food for several hours, but some call grilling BBQ over here.

    Not necessarily true, both these statements. Not sure where you are from, Dave, but where I am from (Western Canada, Alberta and B.C.) we have never used a BBQ for slow cooking of food for several hours (well perhaps people do, but it can’t be common). To a Canadian from my parts, a BBQ is the same thing that my Aussie friends call a barbie. (@Gnoll – I’m not American – eek! subtle but impt difference!) I had never heard the term “grill” used to describe what I’d call a barbeque (or BBQ!) until I visited the southern US (OK and TX). To me a grill was the same thing you meant, Gnoll.

    @Talia – I have seen some of the strangest toppings on pizza everywhere from Texas to Toronto, and in the UK too (including squid, barbequed chicken, peanut butter, and lettuce). What do Aussies put on their pizzas? I thought the pineapple thing was originally American — at least in Canada a ham & pineapple pizza is typically called a Hawaiian pizza (which is, ultimately, American).

    And I didn’t realize the beetroot on a hamburger was an Aussie thing! First time I had that was in the UK and so I assumed it was from there (whoops!). Since then I’ve seen it at several pubs here in VN, but I guess now that’s the Oz influence. Matters not — it’s yummy!

    I knew about lamingtons and pavs being from Oz, but I thought Peach melba was another dessert from the UK? I guess that’s cuz it was invented there, but I had no idea it was after a famous Aussie.

    All this talk is making me hungry! 🙂

  10. @Adrienne Good question regarding educating on All Things Aussie. The greater I interact online the more I believe that we should all share more information about our cultures so that we have a better understanding of each other. I saw this as an excellent opportunity to learn more about each other.

    I don’t think you are off base at all about BBQs — in fact when you pointed it out I thought yes that is probably the closest to what is dear to our hearts. Warmer months that is how we entertain each other. Most Aussies I know would never eat kangaroo meat = pet food (although some aussie I know really love it).

    Yes we also call it Hawaiian pizza. We now also have gourmet pizza here with lots of amazing toppings but I can’t believe a true Aussie would ever put peanut butter on a pizza.

    @gnoll110 Interesting. Well the Aussie burger they used to make at McDonald’s or was it Hungry Jack’s had beetroot on it however I don’t see many cafes in Perth making hamburgers with beetroot. Perhaps it is more common in the Eastern States? I had never realised that what many Americans called a BBQ is a slow cook and as you point out we call a grill using it indoors. We would still call the slow cooking a BBQ but probably say roasting meat on the BBQ.

    @Dave The only steakhouses we have in Western Australia (to the best of my knowledge are American Steakhouses). Certainly not in my State are they are big thing — not sure about the other States of Australia. Happy for you to visit Australia. I think I need to list some more Australian movies for you to watch. Technically speaking I’m not sure we can really claim Crowded House since the group is a mixture of Aussies and New Zealanders.

    @Kate The New Zealanders have been trying to claim the Pavlovas and to make matters worse my hubby agrees with them. Based on your information I have Googled the topic. According to the reliable source (Wikipedia) it was created to honour Anna Pavlova during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand. Apparently the two countries have been fighting about it for years. The article goes on to say serious research into the matter indicates New Zealand as source of today’s pavlova — I think this proves the article in Wikipedia was written by a New Zealander!!!!

    If I thought of a dessert that is classical Australia (but maybe not created here) it would have to be
    trifle. mmmm food

    @Scott (woscholar) I’m thinking I need to visit to try out the menu. They do other stuff beside steak right? What is wrong with a serve of chips that is what Aussie like 🙁

    @Christine The term “throw the shrimp on the barbie” became famous after Paul Hogan’s ads to get more tourists (Crocodile Dundee). My hubby actually wanted me to share links to Paul Hogan’s TV shows. Not sure about people in the Eastern States but we don’t call them shrimp we call them prawns. To us a shrimp is a really tiny prawn that you buy in tins. Our meat is some of the best in the World. During the Mad Cow scare people in the UK were selling kangaroo meat (LOL what we would feed to our pets). I wonder if we would really find a restaurant that reflects who we are here in Australia?

    1) No beetroot
    2) Pavlova too rich for me
    3) What the rest of the World doesn’t have pineapple on Pizza — it isn’t a pizza unless it has pineapple.
    4) No fried onions I worked hard convincing Christine Aussies don’t eat lots of fried onions (what can I say those East Staters ruin the reputation of all Aussies 🙂 )
    5) Definitely must be your family
    6) Me too give me lasagna any day and every day

    @Marie Sounds like I need to visit you for the vegetarian BBQ

    @Carla Now I am intrigued that the Outback stores serve different food. I’m in shock since MacDonalds seems to be the same anywhere. Would love to check out the menu from Brazil. Sure it represents Aussies better. Michael Coghlan is such a nice guy (he knows how much I love his voice).

  11. Bring on the Aussie chips. My son and I love those fries. The blooming onion is a bit much. I like it more than it likes me. Heartburn city. When you visit (NECC maybe?) then I will take you to Outback (mess with the waitress with your Aussie accent some) PLUS take you to some real Texas cooking.

  12. OK, just stop it with the kangaroo pet food. My Aussie illusion is the you all have kangaroo PETS. I prefer picturing you all playing with them not letting things eat them. 🙂

  13. Actually kangaroo meat is better marinated because it is so lean. I’ve actually eaten a few other Aussie icons including emu (bleh!), crocodile (not bad), barramundi (superb) and even wombat which tasted like very fatty mutton. Actually a bit of classic Paul Hogan might be a good idea!

  14. Great discussion – was interested to see my 10 year old engaged in similar discussions about iconic New Zealand culture in his last topic. Pleased to see the honesty in your response to the pavlova topic Sue ;-), an ongoing source of debate – and even if written by a New Zealander, the evidence stacks up. 🙂

  15. I’m an Aussie and have lived in the United States for many years. I’ve been to Outback Steakhouses a number of times and while their food may not be true, fair dinkum Aussiefied – it’s the SPIRIT of the restaurants that’s really nice to go to. All of them are completely decked out in Aussie decor – from paintings and posters and even ads to pics of roos and so forth. May sound crappy to many back home in Australia, but its really not so bad – in CONTEXT!! So… for those of you that have NEVER been to one, be careful – you’re just sounding ridiculous – you can’t slam something you’ve never seen or experienced first hand. Personally I do a bit of eye rolling when I do happen to go there, but it’s always still with a big grin on my face – and being an Aussie I’ve always, always had a ton of people both who work there and patrons to the restaurants ask me questions about home and the people there – one thing is always, always the same.. they all say how much they would just love to visit for a holiday because they’ve all heard how beautiful it is there and how fantastic and friendly the people are!

    So chill out on the Outback Steakhouse a little – in some ways it’s some nice, positive advertising for Australia – even if the food isn’t entirely Aussie!

  16. Hi Jane, when I come to USA in June/July hopefully someone will take me to an Outback Steakhouse. I would love to visit their restaurant.

    Putting this post in context it arose from a lengthy discussion in twitter, which involved considerable joking and jesting, about foods in different countries and aspects of each others culture. These conversations are important for us gaining a better understand of each others culture as our impressions of each culture is based on what we read in the media or watch on TV.

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