Category Archives: Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi oi oi!

That post about being an American in Australia, conveniently written on the 4th of July.

Sorry, it’s not really going to have anything of substance. But it might make you hungry.

So I was thinking tonight about polenta, also known as corn meal. Polenta is, from what I gather, a fairly common ingredient in Italian cooking. I, however, don’t know much about Italian cooking, other than pasta, garlic bread, and parmigiana. And I especially have no idea how people cook polenta around here. So I have some polenta in my pantry, which I mistakenly thought would be suitable for making corn taco shells (it was kind of a disaster), and was wondering what else I could do with it. Corn bread was the first thing that came to mind, of course, because I’m a Yank. And then I thought about corn dogs. Mmmm. It’s been ages since I had a good corn dog – hot dog on a stick, dipped in corn batter and deep fried. Not exactly the healthiest thing on the planet, but they are pretty tasty, especially when dipped in real mayonnaise.

And that’s when I had the idea for this blog post: foods from here and there that I like, don’t like, miss, never had before, never had since…all those kinds of categories. So I’m just going to start listing them in no particular order, just the way I think of them.

And this is a much different list than it would have been seven years ago, because you know what? I’ve adapted to my new culture, not completely, but enough to be pretty comfortable. Plus, there are enough shops around that carry some of my favourite American foods/snacks that I don’t have to pine for them – I just need to go to the right shop when I’m having one of those cravings, and I’m good for another few weeks. Because I know it’s not a ‘forbidden fruit’ or anything, and I can have it whenever I want.

Foods I miss from the States

This one is actually going to be a pretty short list, because of the aforementioned shops that carry American imports. Corn dogs are something I wouldn’t mind having now and then, but since I don’t remember having one in the 7 years I’ve been here, I obviously don’t miss them that much. If I did, I would have worked out how to make them at home by now. However, I still haven’t found anywhere that sells packs of Jolly Rancher candies with ONLY the watermelon flavoured ones. And I don’t suppose I’m likely to.

Little Debbies fit in this category too. I don’t believe I’ve seen them anywhere, and I don’t think USA Foods in Melbourne is allowed to import them, otherwise I’m sure they’d have them by now.

And how can I forget Rocky Road ice cream. I might have to try doing it myself one day.

As for restaurants, there’s Arby’s and A & W. Those are really the only ones that I miss that I’d go back to. And a good buffet restaurant (but not Old Country Buffet because they think breastfeeding is perverted or something. I won’t be spending my money with them anymore).

Foods I never had before moving to Australia that I can’t imagine living without now

I can’t count Tim Tams here, because Darrin once filled an entire suitcase with Tim Tams, Milo, and Cherry Ripes when he came over for Christmas. But you know what does? Fresh mandarins. Prior to moving here, I only ever saw them in a can, never fresh. My brother and I, since we were first learning to read, called them ‘Maynard oranges’ because it sounded funny, and there was a guy at our church named Maynard. Now I have a mandarin tree in my back yard. Hopefully it’ll start fruiting next year.

Chips (fries) from Chicken Chef in Gilles Plains. You have not lived till you’ve had these.

Australian foods that I’m still not game to try

Vegemite. I’m not sure I’ll ever get there. Since Darrin doesn’t like it, and Caleb’s never had it either (to my knowledge), it’s not really that crucial that I deal with it.

Imported American stuff I buy now and then

Dr Pepper
Welch’s Strawberry soda
A&W root beer
A&W cream soda
Reese’s Pieces
Reese’s peanut butter cups
Jelly Belly jelly beans

Typical American foods that I make at home

PBJ (only I use, and have always used, strawberry jam instead of grape jelly)
‘Ants on a toilet seat’ – aka an apple cut in half, core removed, spread with peanut butter and raisins (sultanas) placed on top. Only I usually cut up the apple into wedges and put peanut butter on each one, and don’t bother with sultanas.
Pumpkin pie (especially now that I’ve finally successfully grown pumpkins in my back yard)

Things I’ve found suitable substitutes for

Hershey’s Almond chocolate bars: Cadbury Roast Almond, of course. And Cadbury tastes better anyway.
Cheddarwurst: the mild cheese kranskys from the Pacific Big Butcher in John Street, Salisbury.

It’s a small world, after all

Know what? The dine-in Pizza Hut outside Westfield Marion smells EXACTLY like the Pizza Hut I used to work at in Hudson, Wisconsin, over 10 years ago. Some things never change.

What was I doing here again? Oh yeah.

Actually, all of these lists are smaller than I thought they’d be, because I seem to have forgotten a lot of the things I used to miss. Funny what 7 years does.

Ouch.

{mosimage}Well. I was just looking at the website for the US Consulate to find out what I have to do to get Caleb a passport and register his US citizenship.

If I read it correctly, I have to submit forms to the office in Melbourne. In person.

And (at this point) it costs a total of $176.40 to do both together.

So. Melbourne is what, about 8-10 hours drive from Adelaide? And we’d have to go during the week when the consulate is actually open. Which means using some of Darrin’s holiday time.

And do we drive, take the Overland (train), or fly? They probably cost about the same for two adults and an infant, so I guess flying would give us more time.

And I have a road geek for a husband, so that means we HAVE to hire a car.

Yeah, so someday we’ll have to do all that.
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It’s the end of the world as we know it.

When I lived in the US, there was a radio show from the Twin Cities that I listened to called Garage Logic. And on this radio show, people rang up occasionally with bizarre things that they saw or heard or read, and the host, Joe Soucheray, would sometimes call these things an “End of the World.” And then he’d play a clip from REM’s song “It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine).” Other times he’d just play the foghorn clip (basically an audible eyeroll).

Yesterday I heard about an almost definite End of the World.

It seems the US Government has banned Vegemite. Seriously. And why? Because it has folate/folic acid added. Which is currently only allowed to be added to breads and cereals. Link here.

Okay, people, basic nutrition lesson coming up. Folate is a B vitamin. The best source of B vitamins in nature is meat. Folate is something they tell pregnant women and women trying to get pregnant to have plenty of because it’s said to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

Are they going to start banning meat next because it’s not supposed to have folate? Wouldn’t put it past them. Yeah, I know, it’s only because it’s been added in production, not because it occurs naturally. But really (and this is totally off the point)…adding vitamins & minerals during production takes them out of their natural environment, and in some cases, makes them unabsorbable. Not only that, but in the production of breads and cereals, they take a lot of things OUT of the grains and then add back in a fraction of what was there to begin with.

All that aside though, if folate is such a good thing, then why limit it to only breads and cereals?

Episode…um, seven?

{mosimage}Today I received a big yellow envelope with all the forms and instructions for the second half of my visa application. And they only gave us a few weeks to get it all together. No matter though. I figure I can get most of it together in about a week, except for the police clearance, which they said could take six weeks, and the statutory declarations, which are kinda out of my hands since those have to be done by other people.

Anyway…hopefully the police clearance comes in LESS than the 30 days they estimated, and we can submit everything together for once, instead of in three separate bits like last time. And then the ONLY thing I won’t be able to do here is vote. Which is just as well, since I don’t think I’m familiar enough with things here to do so yet.
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