Is it not strange that so far ingenuity, universal approval, or general consensus of opinions call it what you will, has not up till the present given us an Australian national dish? Although tea and damper instinctively arise in the mind when the matter is referred to, yet I take it that we would all repel such an accusation if levelled against us. Does the Australian, moreover, away from his native land perpetuate his patriotism by oft partaking of this pastoral fare? Certainly not. Well, when this national dish is composed and formally approved of by the nation, let us devoutly trust that it will be a macedoine of vegetables, or a vegetable curry, or some well-concocted salad. It is true that in one of the cookery books I have seen a dish of peaches, dubbed PECHES A L’AUSTRALIENNE. It is a sort of compote of peaches, but to the best of my belief it is simply entitled Australian for the sake of giving it a name, and for no other reason.
AUSTRALIAN FISH AND OYSTERS—AND THEIR FOOD VALUE.
Anyone looking backwards upon the history of Australia cannot fail to be impressed by one peculiar feature, which is the more distinctive, too, because it is in striking contrast with all else. It is the more noteworthy also, because it affects each individual inhabitant of this island continent, and has a direct bearing on the daily life of every person is the community. Thus, on the one hand, while we are nearing a maximum of progress—or, at any rate, attaining to a high level of success—in political matters, in commercial affairs, and in athletic prowess, yet, on the other, there is unfortunately an apathetic indifference in all that concerns our public and family food habits, which after all constitute the national characteristics of any people. It is true that we have gained the dignity of responsible government, that our wool and frozen meat are entering the markets of the world, and that in the athletic arena our fame is spread both far and wide. Yet it must be confessed that our national food-life has not conformed to climatic requirements in the slightest degree since the memorable day on which Captain Cook set foot on these shores. As those on the Endeavour lived then, so live are now. On the continent of Europe it will be found that the manners and customs, even of contiguous countries, are as widely different as it is possible to imagine. Surely then, it is, to say the least of it, curious to see the inhabitants of a semi-tropical country like Australia living in wilful contradiction to their climatic necessities, and eating the same kind of food as did their fathers in the old land, with its dampness its coldness, its ice, and its snow.