After receiving an email from Melisa, my Sister from the US asking if it was absolutely true that Australians put beetroot in their burgers, I got thoroughly over-excited thinking about a good old 'Aussie burger' ... and then it got me thinking. Sure, I bang on about how crap our TV service is, how much I miss England and how I'd like to travel far away from my own little town, but really...I am an Aussie girl, through and through. A bit of a bogan, even. And that made me want to share just exactly what it is that makes me proud to be an Aussie, albeit in a slightly condensed and American Friendly version. And Melisa - I hope that you're burgers went down a treat, you managed to put the pineapple and fried egg in and you called the tomato sauce 'dead horse'. I'll make an Aussie out of you, yet!
Whether it's the Australian Open tennis, Boxing Day cricket, the Olympics or Grand Final Day for the AFL: One must be patriotic to some extent. Green and gold worn together is acceptable. Chanting "Aussie Aussie Aussie OI OI OI!" is expected and sledging the other team/country is encouraged. One must make all effort to attend said sporting event, and if not, throw some sort of party in it's honour, usually a BBQ. Even when we're not competing on some front, one takes a vague sort of pride in singing I Am, You Are, We Are Australian or Waltzing Matilda whilst on hold on the phone for 48 minutes (usually to Telstra).
Melbourne Cup. The whole of the State (and much of the entire country) is given a Public Holiday for The Race That Stops A Nation. And it does. Walk into town in the morning for a paper and there's a few people milling around, but soon the streets are bare. Come 3pm on the second Tuesday in November, every one - and this is no mass generalization - will be glued to a TV screen or radio to hear the race. If you're not old enough to legally bet (and believe, I've placed plenty of bets underage on the Cup) the newspapers run a sweepstakes that you can do with your family or friends, as most people have big parties on the day.
Utes. Real men drive them. Preferably with a kelpie in the back. ( I would say explicitly Holden utes, but fear Tezz will kill me). Speaking of Holden vs Ford: You must barrack for one or the other. I am, clearly, a Holden girl.
Native Animals (un-squashed variety). Inevitably, when friends and/or relations fly in from overseas, one immediately takes them to all sort of Australian flora and fauna reserves to appreciate the natural wildlife, even though one has spent the previous week moaning because the damn koala's have been mating on the roof all night, or one has hit a kangaroo at dusk and it's completely written off ones car.
Australia Day. Australia Day is like Grand Final day, only better. One must follow two rules: have a barbeque, and have said barbeque on the beach. If one is unable to attend the waterfront, water must be added (last year we did this in the form of water guns). You also must cook at least 6kg of snags (read: sausages) more than necessary, and feed the local seagull population/your dogs/all the people wandering past that will inevitably become your mates for the day. You must say 'mate'. A lot. Copious amounts of beer will also be required. If possible, the Australian Open final will be playing on a TV or radio nearby, and backyard cricket will be initiated afterward.
Lamingtons. If you haven't had one, find a recipe and make them immediately. With lots of raspberry jam around the outside, underneath the coconut. The smaller they are, the better; more chocolately goodness :)
Christmas: One must take a walk along the beach either Boxing Day or Christmas Day to ease the indigestion of the midday meal, and spend at least part of the afternoon dozing in the sun or playing badminton/cricket/board games until it's time to over-indulge again.
This will be an ongoing list, so check back later for most posts!