So many reasons- it seems a common theme amongst my peers to be more than a little nonplused about the idea of celebrating European settlement- to the point of referring to the public holiday as 'invasion day' and celebrating nothing but the JJJ hottest 100 countdown and the chance to take a day off work and swim...
I pondered all of this as I wondered what sort of food might be best for a day with so many question marks hanging over it, food would just be another one.
Really, what do you eat on invasion day? I thought long and hard about pavlova or some lammingtons, but was not convinced... too cliche? Should I boycott it all together and eat something from my other heritage- English spotted dick or Dutch speculaas perhaps? Should I be honouring the guardians of this lovely dusty land and serving bunya nuts and warrigal greens? A little too saccharine perhaps? Maybe just too PC. So the answer finally came clear- if it's such an uncomfortable day, why not go all the way?
A controversial meat for a controversial day- and what better than the national icon- Kangaroo- what's that skip? You say you're not really hungry??
It's a favourite question of mine- do you eat roo?? I've even been known to ask some vege/aqua-tarians in my time. After all, a sometime vegan friend went through a phase of eating nothing but plant matter with the exception of our bouncy friend- 'it treads more lightly on the land' you see- all well and good until she discovered that you still have to come to terms with the clubbing of pouch young when mothers are harvested... so there you have it!
Yes, it might be more gentle on the environment, and the harvesting process from the wild is designed to be as stress and cruelty free as possible, but no matter how you look at it, there will always be some kangaroo that does not meet the most humane of deaths... still hungry?
This is where I weigh up the debate- against the knowledge that in every animal harvesting process there are problems that need to be addressed- organic, free-range, abattoir, the questions on each type of meat you purchase always need to be faced squarely, how else would you find an answer you can stomach? We owe it to ourselves, if not the generous animals that help keep us. No morbid contemplation intended- just a feeling that being aware is a great thing.
So what did you do for Australia day? We went out of town to the glorious Heronswood House & Gardens at Dromana. We sat happily on the lawns under the shade of a pepper ash and guiltily ate our patriotic (?) lunch, then had a good poke at the heirloom vegetable selction that Heronswood has for display and retail. My dreams of planting a garden that will provide three courses from entree avocado to dessert ice-cream bean will yet be ralised I say! But in the meantime we wandered the luscious grounds with views to Rosebud beach and pondered the culinary uses of the Cardoon and the humour of the Dutchman's Pipe...
Happy Australia Day? I'm still trying to decide.
- 1kg of kangaroo mince (Woolworths/Safeway, Coles or IGA stock MacroMeats)
- 1 onion, minced
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon sumac
- 1 tablespoon tabasco
Method: Combine all ingredients, lightly oil a heavy based fry-pan and heat some olive oil. Form mince into patties and lightly fry for 2 mins on each side. Serve on fresh hamburger buns with iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced tomato, mustard and BBQ sauce. Great the next day, even better served as a pick-nick burger.