Common Australian Foods
- Australian foods have been influenced heavily by the British.Australia image by Stefano Maccari from Fotolia.com
Australian cuisine has been largely influenced by the British over the last few decades. Australians, like the British, usually eat four meals per day: breakfast, lunch, tea and biscuits, and dinner. Kangaroo, which was once a popular meat, is not consumed much anymore. Instead, Australians eat beef, lamb, pork, poultry and seafood.
- Meat pies are considered the Australian national dish, with more than 260 million consumed each year, which translates to about pies per person, according to "The Sydney Morning Herald." Men eat more than twice as many meat pies as women.
The most common filling is ground beef, which is usually mixed with salt and pepper and cooked before being placed in a pie crust and baked. They can also be filled with steak and a combination of kidneys, onion, mushrooms or potatoes. Only 2 percent of meat pies are filled with chicken. The pies are traditionally small enough to be hand-held and are popular for lunch on the go and at sporting events and schools.
- ANZAC biscuits would probably be called oatmeal cookies in the U.S. America. ANZAC is the acronym for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. It is thought that these cookies were first made around 1915 for the troops, as well as Australian and New Zealand families. They were popular because they were inexpensive and non-perishable, as they are made without milk or eggs. Many different recipes exist, but they may contain any combination of shortening, sugar, baking soda, white flour, wheat flour, dessicated coconut and oatmeal. The dough is usually rolled into balls, placed on a cookie sheet and then flattened with a fork.
- Vegemite is to Australians what peanut butter is to Americans. Nine out of 10 pantries in Australia contain at least one jar of Vegemite. It is a spread made of brewer's yeast extract (a by-product of beer production), celery, onion and other vegetables, salt and other "secret" ingredients. Vegemite was invented around 1922 by Dr. Cyril P. Callister, the chief scientist for the Fred Walker & Co. In 1935, the recipe and all rights were sold to Kraft Foods Inc., which still produces vegemite. The only modification made to the recipe since 1922 was to reduce the salt content from 10 to 8 percent. Vegemite is high in vitamin B and was included in the rations for the military in World War II. This left the civilian population with shortages of vegemite, so people were encouraged to do without it in order to make sure it was available to invalids, since it was doctor-recommended as a nutritionally balanced food. Vegemite is used as a spread on bread and toast and is often combined with butter. It is also used in recipes and as a flavoring in soups and gravies.