Beef and Cheese Meat Pies
Aussie Lamb Burger with the Lot
G'day mate. Forget everything you think you know Australians. They aren't all magical Hobbits, koala bear poachers, or the great, great, great, great grand children of criminals. Most of them wear shoes and don't even own anything made of crocodile. I have a few Aussie mates and I can tell you that they are a kind and friendly sort. Anywhere you go there is probably an Aussie right next to you. These people freaking love to go on walkabouts. Every hostel in every city in the world will consist of 2% Americans, 2% Japanese, 1% Italians, and 95% Australians travelers. So lets see, where have us Americans gotten all of our Australian info from. Well, there's Crocodile Dundee of course. "That's not a knife, this is a knife" and all that. Sure, Paul Hogan was charming and could speak to animals kind of like the Beastmaster. We fell in love with him and everyone started drinking Fosters (it's Australian for beer) all of a sudden. There was the Men At Work song "The Land Down Under". Some guy from Brussels makes some other guy a Vegemite sandwich because he comes from the land down under. It's where beer does flow and men chunder. Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder? Let me ask this. "Do I really want to know what it means when men chunder?" I don't think I do. Oh yeah, and let's not forget Yahoo Serious, the Carrot-Topesque Aussie comedian whose charming wackiness was a silly, picturesque window into the Outback just as Yakov Smirnoff gave us a hilariously bleak and desperate view into Communist Russia. Australia seems like a lovely place full of talking marsupials and traveling drag queens. How could you not be intrigued? I sure am.
Let's talk about Vegemite. It's a spread made from yeasty goodness and Australians freaking love the stuff. They put it on everything. Now, I tried to be open minded but it is definitely an acquired taste which I have yet to acquire. Here's a recipe for Vegemite & Cheese Scrolls from my friend Liz's Aussie/Kiwi recipe website All Recipes
..and then came the Chiko Roll...
...and then there was Meat Pies...
Meat pies and sausage rolls are two of the most amazing foods (let alone Australian foods) ever. The pies are super flaky and buttery on the outside and all gooey and meaty cheesy on the inside. Like the best pot pie you ever ate. Think of a Hot Pocket filled with cheeseburger and crack cocaine and only then can you imagine what a Aussie Meat Pie tastes like. The beef and cheese variety is my favorite and although it is customary to lather it with tomato sauce (ie: Australian for ketchup) I prefer it virginal and untouched. You can also get meat pies filled with things like beef and onions, mushrooms, BBQ chicken, bacon, etc.. Sausage Rolls are little puff pastry burritos wrapped around yummy sausage meat. Very delicious. I actually like these little bad boys with some spicy curry ketchup. Very tasty.
Recently I took a trip out to Burien, about 1/2 hour from where I live to visit the Australian Meat Pie Company. For a few bucks a pie you can stock up and put them in your freezer for later. They'll even sell them to you frozen if you like. After arriving I sauntered up to the counter and said "I'll have a few meat pies please." "Ummm, what kind?" the very friendly man behind the counter said. I guess I hadn't really thought of those kinds of decisions yet and suddenly I realized that I WAS that super annoying person who walks up to counters without knowing what they want. I deserved to be kicked in the spine. I hate those people. Anyways, he was very patient with me and I went with the classics. Beef and Cheese Meat Pies, sausage rolls, and a couple of Lamingtons. I will be making trips to this magical establishment often because I now have a new addiction. I need my meat pies.
...don't forget the Lamingtons...
Lamingtons are giant square chunks of cake that are dipped in chocolate and then rolled around in coconut. My teeth hurt just thinking about them. The Aussies sure love their sweets. Tim Tams, Minties, Pollywaffles, Caramello Koalas, Fruit Tingles, Violet Crumbles. No I'm not talking some Willy Wonka gibberish. I'm just talking sweets.
Everybody eats burgers. McDonalds made sure of that. Hell, they're everywhere. There's even one in the Museum of Communism in Prague. I bet there's one in the deepest jungles of Borneo with some fifteen year old employee, who doesn't give a shit, forcing cardboard burgers upon the toothless headhunters. Anyways, the Australians do the burger a little different than we do. They call it the Burger with The Lot. As in a burger with everything. I made mine out of Aussie Lamb to represent! You know what I'm sayin'? It's topped with bacon, cheddar cheese, dill pickles, spicy peppers, pickled beets (edit: beetroot as the Aussie say), mustard, spicy curry ketchup, and a fried egg and placed lovingly into a giant kaiser roll. Freaking amazing. I wasn't sure I was going to like the beets in there but I did. I especially love the added heart-attack fuel with the fried egg. When the yolk breaks all over it's fattening bliss and you can't help but smile as your right arm tingles.
So in doing this project I learned a lot more about Australia than I ever thought I would. I learned that they have cute goofy names for a lot of things and they love to spread yeast onto stuff and eat it. I also learned that they tend to be kind and sweet people with a love of great food and a great sense of humor. And because of this, I forgive them for Yahoo Serious.
For more info on this project, read this: 203 Sovereign States