Wednesday, November 23, 2011

food glorious food

 Sometimes it’s hard to remember that Australia is no longer the cultural backwater it once was:

Back in the day - so long ago it was even before my time - while billies boiled and damper cooked on the campfire, old swaggies swapped recipes. To them we owe details of the best way to cook a galah:
  • Place galah in large pot with 2 quarts of water and 3 large rocks;
  • Boil for two hours;
  • Drain pot, dispose of galah, eat rocks.

Wood stoves might be efficient for heating hot water and warming houses as well as cooking, but trees are now sacred and firewood is expensive.

The 1950s and 60s gave us electric frypans, and Sunbeam Mixmasters, along with migrants seeking a little more variety than mutton with 3 veg;

We stopped taking our saucepans to “the Chinese” when fast food franchises arrived in the 70s, and in this new millennium we can eat at restaurants serving food from every conceivable cultural tradition.
Why, Australian cooking has even been paid the ultimate compliment by providing fodder for a whole swag of reality TV shows.

But since 1940, William Angliss institutes in one form or another have quietly worked behind the scenes, training people to produce reliably good, nutritious, tasty and attractive traditional grub.

The government people for whom I currently work are very big on team building. They care more about bonding than the people at Tarzan’s Grip, and so today I went with my ‘team-mates’ to lunch at the William Angliss Institute of TAFE Bistro.

The buffet offered soup and pasta as entrees, a range of salads, vegies cooked in different styles, rice, sweet and sour pork, cantaloupe with prosciutto, asparagus with beef, roast beef, roast pork, cheese and fruit, more fruit, and pastries.

Although short for my weight I am a rather fernickety eater; don’t much care for roast beef, don’t do pork, and assiduously avoid any food tainted with bacon, basil or parsley. For all that, I had so many little bits of this and that for my $22 that I came away in need of a good sleep. 

Thinking it would be a bit rude to knock off a linen napkin I decided against wrapping up one of the massive great hunks of cake as a treat for The Other while sampling some of the desserts. 
Fruit platters always call to me, because it’s just impractical to buy honeydew melons, cantaloupes, watermelons and a heap of other stuff for home without a starving horde to make sure it doesn’t get wasted. 

Some of my work buddies were happy to divvy up profiteroles, brandy snaps and the like so we could just have a taste of everything without making ourselves sick.

One or two had a wine or beer [not too expensive] while I opted for a post-prandial coffee [which, I later discovered, was covered by my $22].

Many years ago someone gave me a William Angliss plum pudding and it was yummy, so I dropped into the bakery to ask if they still sell them. For thirteen dollars I put in my order for 6 small puds and some brandy custard which I can pick up in mid December.

The bakery, I discovered, sells some rather fancy and expensive looking cakes for $10... so if you are in town and need to buy a birthday cake, this might be the 'shop' for you.

To cap off all of today’s treats, I worked out how to take a photo with my phone AND how to download it so I could upload it for my salivating friends in blogland.


  1. Short for my weight, snigger. WA looks great. I didn't know they did retail. Buying the whole fruits is very practical, if you had a serve of them each day. Do as I say, and not as I do.

    Surely modern Australia needs additions to galah recipe. Pesto garnish for the rocks? Tumeric, cardoman and fish sauce when it is boiling down?

  2. The food sounds good.

    I agree with you about fruit platters. I like when a nice variety of fruit is already cut up for me.

  3. Bonza video especially the sexually suggestive overtones :-).

  4. Andrew, pesto or fish would only ruin an otherwise tasty meal [for me at least].
    I was surprised about the retail angle myself [thinking the Christmas pud years ago was a once a year thing]. The college is enormous, so we got to look through windows into classrooms at some amazing creations. High Tea sounds like fun.

    Dina, eating out at the Angliss Institute was certainly not the disappointment eating out usually is! Some fruit had been soaking in mint and what might tasted like anisette [except surely there would be a warning with alcohol]. Anyway, something different is always a treat.

    Windsmoke, you naughty boy. Aren't you old enough to remember "Sabrina the Great 48"? More to the point, do you think she was convincing, or just typecast?

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