Sunday, 12 April 2009

What makes us Australian?

I watched TV with great interest the other night when a Social Commentator released the results of his research on what Australia's most popular food and drink now is, and what characterises us as Australians.

Previously we have been categorised by the old meat pie and a beer, but now we most typically are devourers of Spagetti Bolognaise and cappucinos. He further predicts that in 5 years time, the Spag Bol will be superseded by Pad Thai.

How great is that?

In the 50's, our post-war Italian migrants (irreverentially called, at that time, "wogs") were generally not respected for their food and culture, and were ridiculed for their difficulties with their newly acquired language, with things now having totally reversed and these wonderful people being lauded.

Isn't life wonderful?


Maggie said...

I would have liked to see that program. What is a news item or on a particular show?

steve said...

Great question Rita.

I think it can easily be answered in three simple rules much like Isaac Asimov did in 'I Robot' when describing the three laws of robotics

An Aussie may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm, unless it involves sport, inequality, issues of race & indigenous concerns, xenophobia, the pursuit of money, power & worship of status

An Aussie must obey orders given to them by other Aussies, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

An Aussie must protect his or her own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Does this sound cynical?

Rita said...

Hi Maggie - I'm sorry I can't remember exactly what it was I was watching, but it wasn't a news item.
Steve - cynical? Toi? Mais non!

Anonymous said...

I once read a book by Jeremy Paxton which asked the complicated question as to what makes us English.
Its complicated because in many respects the English are made to feel apologetic and not allowed to express our Britishness in these politicaly correct times. We can not fly our George flag as we will intimidate others as it has been highjacked by racist minorities.

Paxman did however make a good point. The English gave the world popular sport, and with it rules by which to play it. And so we have this whole fair play ethic, giving everybody a fair go. I like to think this is the integrity by which most of us live, I like to think its the part of us we have etched into Australia, that and taking the piss out of eachother.

But more on topic, food is the device I believe by which many races communicate intimately a part of their culture, and a vehicle of acceptance that leads to understanding and a general blending of society.
Typically the English are pigeon holed into fish & chips, Bangers 'n' mash, Bacon and eggs etc.
The top dish in England appears now to be Chicken Tika Massala, or very possibly just curry. The Indians have integrated successfully into British culture against the odds as they were often targeted by those minorities who spread hatred and suspicion. I would say a large degree of that success was through their delicious food.


Mon said...

Seems like my story (which you published on the blog some time ago) about Italian influence on Aussie tucker, was prophetic

earmuffs said...

Your story Mon, was on of Billions on the web so thanks for posting but dont get all 'ownership' on us.

earmuffs said...

Your story Mon, was on of Billions on the web so thanks for posting but dont get all 'ownership' on us.

earmuffs said...

Really sorry forgot to add, you new wogs are all the same, you forget that there is a generation or two before you who have trod this path before OR are you the same deluded ones who think that this gen are ther first to experience things?
I'm a wog too before you get shitty & if this should make a difference.

steve said...

almost twenty years ago Cherry Ripe wrote of our collective cultural baton change in our food choices as a nation in her article, 'From lambs fry to stir fry' in her book, Goodbye culinary cringe.
In later years I have read that our national dish of choice is in fact spag bol but this was quite a few years ago. I heard the same social commentator suggest what you posted but I feel he is a little off, time wise. In fact I think we have moved on more in fact toward what Cherry Ripe forcasted. I would suggest the Asianisation of our collective pallette has been arguallbly more signifigant in recent years than its Italianisation of previous generations.
Just my opinion.

The GRUB said...

Oh, come on Cartouche....the English fostered (forgive me) the sense of fair play through sport.
The most class-divided society in history (and still).
The main game of cricket made for toffs (play five days while the workers work) then play the other two in the hunt.
And I suppose Plato, Socrates and the other great Greeks never gave us anything on Ethics and Morality.
You've been getting your wisdom from Coronation Street and Eastenders, mate. Try going to Bradford and tell me the recent riots were a beautiful example of integration.
Oh, were that the dreamy picture you paint were just so. Sorry, it had to be said.
What makes us Australian is simply that we live in Australia. Not deep at all.

Anonymous said...

Grub are you taking the piss?

The recent riots in Bradford. The riots in Bradford took place in the summer of 2001. They were initially started as a turf dispute between indian & Pakistani gangs who spilled into the white minority (20% ish) area, which unfortunately for democracy, gave the dick head far right all the excuse they needed to send in combat 18 to sort the lot out.
Oldham had a simmilar problem. Cronulla in this back yard was more recent in 2005. And the Greeks in 2008. I suggest that your the one who gets his news from the Re- runs of old Coronation street episodes.

As for cricket. No contest, I agree. This is an elitist sport played by toffs, I hate it with a passion. Your right, invent a game that takes 5 working days to play. Must be why Australia is so good at it, read into that what you will.
You can hold up Soccrates and Plato, we could mention Newton, Shakespear, Chaucer, Irving, Turnbull, etc. But like the Greeks we have blood on our hands also.

No, we gave the world rules. And for me that is best translated through sport, the world game.

But I still say that one of the best ways to help understand and intergrate with another culture is through food. Around a table we often communicate.
If we continue to do this, we erode those dickheads in the far right who would have us all believe in a them and us attitude.


the grub said...

Chaucer was a playright who documented his time (or people). Not a philosopher. But you could glean lessons on life from his tales. Ditto Shakespeare. Newton was a scientist. Haven't heard of the other two.
In the great sweep of time the Bradford riots were just a blink away. Doesn't metter who was attacking who, it was racial disharmony.
You DID NOT give the world rules at all. How presumptious. The greek riots were politcallyb and socially motivated, not racially.
I don't think over-boiled cabbage from the English with some boiled beef will do anything to break down barriers between people.
More likely to make them BUILD a barrier.