Saturday, January 26, 2008

Happy Australia Day!

If you can't visit Australia on its national day, how about visiting some Australian Web sites instead? Try Aust Crime Fiction, the Australian Crime Fiction Database, Crime Down Under, Matilda and Mysteries in Paradise (and I hope I haven't missed any). That last site offers further links and suggestions for marking the day and learning more about Australia, its rich crime fiction and its richer lexicon. Bonza!

© Peter Rozovsky 2008

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27 Comments:

Blogger Kerrie said...

Good onya Peter. We'll have you speaking strine yet

January 26, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

Thanks, mate! I'm not within cooee of being able to speak it now.

January 26, 2008  
Blogger Barbara said...

You can get some hints on how to be a true Aussie from the Sydney Morning Herald.

January 26, 2008  
Blogger Kerrie said...

that's a sick list Barbara. I prefer simpler tests like loving Vegemite or knowing what a lamington is

January 26, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

3. You think it's normal to have a leader called Kevin.

24. You still don't get why the "Labor" in "Australian Labor Party" is not spelt with a "u".

The above are my two favorite items from the list, the first because I know some people named Kevin to whom I can show it, and the second because I am similarly baffled. Does Australia use British-style rather than American elsewhere (Colour instead of color, etc.)?

You know, I have had Vegemite explained to me, though I can't remember the explanation. I've never tasted it, though. I always thought the name sounded like a kind of rock. And what's a lamington?

January 26, 2008  
Blogger Kerrie said...

The "Labor" in the party's name dates from it's origins although Labor/Labour were used as alternatives until 1912 when Labor became the official spelling, apparentl "due to the influence of the American labor movement.".
http://www.alp.org.au/about/history.php

Vegemite is an evil black spread, manufactured from the yeast leftovers of the brewing industry, heavily laced with salt, that we spread very thinly on toast or crackers
Now manufactured by Kraft and American owned
See http://www.vegemite.com.au/

Lamingtons are a way to deal with stale cake by coating them with a chocolate syrup and dessicated coconut. MOst people prefer their lamingtons to actually be created from fresh sponge cake.
http://www.benjaminchristie.com/article/239/

January 26, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

Thanks for those three slices of cultural education. The bit about possible American influence on the spelling of Labor is especially interesting. I had also not heard vegemite called evil before.

January 26, 2008  
Blogger Kerrie said...

Vegemite carries a secret ingredient Peter - possible nationalistic converter juice - the only possible explanation that very few people born out Australia actually like it.
Have you seen the rhyme?
We’re Happy Little Vegemiters as Bright As Bright can be
We always eat our Vegemite for Breakfast lunch and tea
Because we Love our Vegemite
We all adore Our Vegemite
It puts a Rose in Every Cheek

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O39-Vegemite.html
Vegemite was very popular during and after the war years when there was almost nothing else to put on the bread.

January 27, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Yes, it has an evil reputation. Most of the Oz expats who live in Hawai'i simply roll their eyes when you mention (preferably in a whisper) "vegemite". ;)

January 27, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Oh, I like #36. Your Customs agents could give lessons to our Dept. of Ag. ;)

I was given a copy of Afferbeck Lauder's Let Stalk Strine, but I've as yet been unable to travel there to see if it's useful.

When I was on Kwajalein the RAAF came through for a couple of days on their way to a RIMPAC exercise in Hawai'i, and with them was a full pallet of Castleman's XXXX. I had 1 1/2 cans of the stuff and had a buzz for about six hours.

January 27, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

Wow, what is Castleman's XXXX? And does it go well with vegemite?

January 27, 2008  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

It's a really heavy beer or ale. They didn't bring (or publicly acknowledge bringing) vegemite.

I had my dose at a beach about noon, and I went to my swing shift job and was still lightly buzzed halfway through it.

January 27, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

Kerrie, that rhyme is charming, and the story behind vegemite is of great sociological interest. One can well understand why many would regard it with affection. Perhaps in anthropological terms, it's something like an Australian counterpart to gefilte fish.

January 27, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

I'm not much of a beer drinker. When I visit Australia, I'll have to seek advice on what wine goes well with vegemite.

January 27, 2008  
Blogger Kerrie said...

Castlemaine XXXX is Queensland brewed beer, seemingly very popular with Rugby players
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XXXX

January 27, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

I imagine the four X's are a subtle hint that the beer is strong. May I further conclude that rugby players are known for drinking?

(Here I detour into Murray Whelan's marked preference for football and his horror when his son, Red, takes up rugby. I shall have to explore this apparent rivalry between sports.)

January 27, 2008  
Blogger Barbara said...

Lutefisk is the Minnesota equivalent of Vegemite. It's administered as a test. I failed.

Maybe Vegemite is scraped from the bottom of the barrels of XXXX? Could account for some folks loving it.

But I'm distressed it's US-owned. Globalization strikes again.

January 27, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

Well, non-U.S. corporations have been buying up U.S. companies, which should redress some of the imbalance and restore warmth and individuality to the economy.

I've just read a bit about lutefisk. It is indeed one of the strangest food items I have heard of, up there with vegemite.

January 27, 2008  
Anonymous Karen C said...

Barbara - there is always Aussiemite and Mightymite so those of us allergic to globalisation can still indulge.

And XXXX is only beer in that it's convenient to have a category name - real Australian's drink Cascade (or homebrew around here :) ) (Don't everybody get excited - can't stand VB either).

January 28, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

I am pleased when I can go to sleep knowing more than I did when I got up. This, then, is a vintage day for me. Until two minutes ago, I had never heard of Aussiemite, Mightymite or Cascade. What should I know about them?

January 28, 2008  
Anonymous Karen C said...

Peter, I'm relieved to know that we can help you out in learning the little things about life that we need to know. Now if somebody who subscribes to your blog could just fill me in on French and Spanish cheeses and we will all be happy :) :)

Aussiemite and Mightymite are Vegemite alternatives - made by Australian companies. Basically the same sort of thing - slightly more runny is probably the main difference (himself here is a Mightmite eater). Cascade Breweries are Australia's oldest brewery - out of Tasmania http://www.cascadebrewery.com.au/ - they make a lager which is one of my favourites (along with Grand Ridge and Mountain Goat).

January 28, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

I mentioned a blog called Briciole in Sunday's post about the truth behind Andrea Camilleri's clichés. The blog is "An idiosyncratic and opinionated dictionary of Italian words related to food," and it ought to give you a more than adequate start on the Italian part of your quest. It is full of recipes, mouth-watering illustrations, and links to other blogs about food.

Australian wines have become more popular in the United States in recent years. What sort goes well with Aussiemite, Mightymite and Vegemite?

January 29, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

Ye gods, I just now noticed you had not asked about Italian. Still, my recommendation holds. It's the place I would start if i were looking for information about food.

January 29, 2008  
Anonymous Karen C said...

Wine to go with Mightymite and other forms of yeast extract might be a bit complicated - luckily as it's largely a breakfast food around here I'd have to say I'm no expert in that (personally I'd have it with a good, dark beer - but then I wouldn't admit to having tried it that often).

Australian wines - well I'd drink lots of those with lots of things, that and cider - well there's my preference. We have a bit of a thing for chilled Sparkling reds in summer, but we have also been known to quaff more than our share of De Bortoli's Pinot Noir. But then we live about 15 minutes from the Yarra Valley - so we're not adverse to the occasional glass or two.

January 29, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

Well, look at the question optimistically: the market for breakfast wine is severly underdeveloped. The opportunities for expansion are excellent.

Ah, the Yarra Valley. I believe I've read that name on a wine label or two.

January 29, 2008  
Anonymous Johnny O said...

Yeah, Australia! Really need to start reading some of their fiction if I'm every gonna move there.

February 01, 2008  
Blogger Peter said...

If you do move there, you won't lack for excellent crime fiction to read. Peter Temple, Adrian Hyland, Shane Maloney, Chris Nyst, David Owen, Garry Disher and Peter Corris are just a few of the names that leap immediately to mind, and there are Web sites where you can find literally hundreds more names. All that yeast extract must really get the creative juices flowing.

February 02, 2008  

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