Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia by Ken Albala

Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia by Ken Albala

Author:Ken Albala
Language: eng
Format: azw3
Publisher: Greenwood
Published: 2011-05-24T16:00:00+00:00

Damper Bread


1 c self-rising flour

Dash of salt

1 tbsp sugar

½ tsp baking soda

½ tbsp butter

½ c milk

Mix the flour with the salt, sugar, and baking soda, then rub the butter into the flour until you get pea-sized bits. Stir in milk until the mix forms into a dough. Shape into small biscuits, and bake in a 400ºF oven for 15 minutes, or until bread is fully browned.

Billy cans are pots used to boil water or brew tea over open fires, and nearly every family has a coveted billy can. Aboriginals supplement processed foods by hunting and gathering native foods whenever possible, and adapting native cooking to Western cooking equipment and methods. A common sight that blends the Western and Aboriginal worlds is a campfire pot boiling a leg of kangaroo with the paw curled over the edge of the pot.

Several organizations and individuals are striving to preserve Aboriginal Australian culinary heritage. Professional chef and Aboriginal Australian Mark Olive works in remote indigenous communities, organizing workshops to reclaim traditional Aboriginal cooking methods and educating kids about these traditions as well as nutrition. Modern, non-remoteliving Aboriginal families use even fewer traditional cooking methods and recipes than their remote-living brothers. The most common cooking methods involve using a microwave, a stovetop or basic oven, and the occasional barbecue grill. Since these families have easier access to a wide range of processed food and tend to own a refrigerator or freezer, frozen or premade foods like fish sticks and sausage rolls are popular. This means that instead of cooking food, only reheating is needed. While this average family tends to have better living conditions than those living in more remote locations (electricity and running water are much more common), housing and cooking equipment tend to be modest and are often in need of repair.

If a traditional Aboriginal recipe is made, the main ingredients are almost always replaced with available Western ingredients, and Western cooking methods are used; it is often for celebration or reminiscence, rather than a daily or religious sustenance. For example, a traditional Aboriginal stew might contain kangaroo or emu meat and be cooked on an open fire, but today, they might use corned beef, a preserved meat that was served at the station camps because it required no refrigeration, and a stovetop. Many modern Aboriginal families still rely on corned beef for a large quantity of their meat supply, not because of poor refrigeration but rather because these are the traditions they remember.

Typical Meals

For remote-living Aboriginal Australians, breakfast starts with leftover food from the day before. During mid- to late afternoon, they eat dinner, which consists of vegetables, grains, and occasionally meat or fish depending on the community’s location and is typically prepared at the main camp. Throughout the day, they also consume snacks au naturel, eaten fresh while hunting and gathering, typically berries, nuts, insects, and plants.

Traditional Aboriginal eating habits are still factored into some modern, remote-living Aboriginal communities, which include taboos and eating order. Meat is a rare treat and carefully split up among the community based on rank.


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