Lamb or Koala Salad for Australia Day?

Filed in Archive, Blog by on February 9, 2015 0 Comments


Now that the alleged patriotic fervour of Australia Day on January 26 has settled down, perhaps we can have a sensible discussion about which foods are most appropriate for this annual celebration. For a decade the irrepressible Sam Kekovich has been doing his best with TV ads to sell the idea that lamb is the appropriate dish for Australia Day.

Leaving aside the offence this causes to vegetarian Australians, I don’t see why lamb is so Australian compared to other national dishes. After all, the sheep is an imported animal that has only about 200 years of history in the nation.

The kangaroo and emu, on the other hand, have been in Australia for many millennia. And these creatures from the nation’s coat of arms are commonly served up in pubs and restaurants, including the cafeteria in Parliament House, Canberra, until recently.

But why stop there? In this Masterchef era, Australians can be more imaginative with their edible indigenous fauna. A friend, whom I shall call “Tim”, recently proposed a koala salad. Although this caused some concern among his workmates in New York, Tim’s idea was well received in Kennett River on Victoria’s west coast where the koala population is at plague proportions.

Sections of forest near Kennett River, along the Great Ocean Road, have been stripped bare by the little buggers. The good townsfolk have been looking for a way to deal with the koalas’ putrid excretions and demonic growlings at all hours due to the intoxicating effect of eucalyptus leaves on the critters.

If you find the idea of a koala salad not to your taste, then you might find a more tempting indigenous meat on a menu item like the “Roadkill Tasting Plate” at the Royal Mail Hotel in Spencer Street, West Melbourne. What a responsible way to recycle the unfortunate animals squelched on roads around the country.

Of course, there are other hotels with the same policy of “From Your Grill to Ours”, but this should not be a green light to individuals to “pick something up along the way” to an Australia Day barbecue by deliberately running over wildlife. However, if it happens by accident, that’s different – scraping it off the road and into the esky seems the environmentally responsible thing to do, as well as a money saver.

You might have your own favourite roadkill dish that you’d like to share on this blog, whether it be wombat cooked in the jacket, wallaby risotto, platypus paella, penguin kebabs, or kookaburras in “ha-ha” pies. Anything you think might upstage lamb on Australia Day.


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