• Annie Dear: Aussified culinary quirks, I have many

  • What is it with Americans and their need to put pumpkin in every recipe ever known to man during the month of October?

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  • What is it with Americans and their need to put pumpkin in every recipe ever known to man during the month of October?
    Now don’t get me wrong, I like pumpkin – pumpkin soup, roast pumpkin, even pumpkin scones, but pumpkin popcorn, dip, cake, muffin, cheesecake, pizza, pudding and coffee creamer?
    I realize I’m a bit of a coffee snob – oh well, all right, I’m a huge coffee snob – but to put pumpkin-anything in coffee I think is tantamount to sacrilege and is deserving of a bit of a flogging.
    Mind you, as Lucretius so pithily put it in the first century, B.C., roughly translated from the Latin of course, one man’s meat is another man’s poison, and I know I could bowl you over with some of my preferences.
    I guess we Aussies tend toward a more savory taste than we Americans, because all of my oddities fall into that category.
    I get such a kick out of ordering a pizza at Papa Murphy’s – take home and bake, what a fabulous concept – and I always ask for anchovies. To me a pizza is incomplete without my little salty fishy friends, but you can hear from the sound of the voice over the phone that I might as well have asked them to top my pie with a combination of cat food and regurgitated gristle. When I go to pick the pizza up, the anchovies are not on it, but rather a server will don shoulder length gloves, will pick up a pair of 10 foot tongs, as opposed to a 10 foot pole, and will bring me an entire can of anchovies as if it is somehow related to nuclear waste. Not bad value for only a buck extra, let me tell you.
    I particularly love blue cheese, and will happily add it to hot dogs, Christmas cake, and pasta. I quite fancy peanut butter, bread and butter cucumbers and cheddar cheese on a cracker or two, and I’ve been known, much to my darling Sir’s everlasting chagrin, to have a sardine and anchovy paste sandwich. Actually I think this last one does clear him out of the kitchen for a good couple of hours, so abhorrent it is to his senses.
    And of course, I’m an Aussie, so I do eat Vegemite. I’ve no doubt mentioned it before, but Vegemite’s origins are quite humble. It started life in 1922 when some, no doubt absolutely blotto, brewery worker discovered that the scrapings at the bottom of a beer barrel tasted a bit of all right – salty, and with the consistency of slightly chilled axle grease. It’s a wonder any sober bloke would have bothered really, but since then it’s been a staple of every little Aussie’s diet from the minute solid foods are entertained.
    Page 2 of 2 - And I guess you might think it strange that an Aussie hamburger has a few additives that might raise an American eyebrow or two. Building, from the bun up, if you will pardon the expression, is: ketchup, mustard, beef patty, grilled onions, lettuce, cheese, bacon – OK, I know you’re with me so far, but hold onto your lunch boxes, here we go – tomato, beetroot (known to you as beets), pineapple and a fried egg. Honestly it is a stunning combination, and you need a mouth the size of a baby hippo to wrap your laughing gear around it. It can only ever be consumed on a beach so that you can immediately plunge into the surf to wash off the inevitable residue, but it really is a little slice of heaven on a stick – or in a bun.
    So really, I suppose I have gastronomically talked my way out of my opening paragraph, haven’t I? Go ahead, enjoy your pumpkin-flavored whatevers, who am I to quibble?

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