Happy Belated Australia Day!


I bet a lot of you didn’t know it, but yesterday was Australia Day! Ironically, it’s a celebration of the anniversary of British colonization of Australia…but apparently it’s a fun time, political correctness aside. My impression is that Australia Day is akin to the American Columbus Day, but with more of an Independence Day kind of flair. At least that’s how we celebrated Australia Day in America.

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This was my first time celebrating Australia Day, thanks to some Australian friends who are living here in Austin this year. (Hi Dave and Kathleen!) They both happen to be in Australia somewhere right now, so we celebrated early with festivities for Kathleen’s birthday and Australia Day all rolled into one.

Kathleen did an amazing job with the decorations. There were Australian flags covering the table and well as red, white, and blue place settings. She even used Aussie-themed temporary tattoos on the glasses! And all of us Americans got an education in being Australian thanks to fact sheets that Kathleen made and placed around the table.

Everyone brought an Australian-themed dish to share and there was a competition for the best one. The completely worthwhile result of this was that we had at least as much dessert as we did dinner, though there were a lot of awesome savory things as well.

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Our household had a strong attendance so we worked together to make two pavlovas. Best idea ever. You should definitely go make one for your next potluck. It’s a little unconventional, but absolutely worth it. Light, sweet, pretty. I have only two tips for your pavlova experience:

  1. When you inevitably go to google a pavlova recipe, use the Australian google site. Kathleen also made a pavlova from a googled recipe and hers was slightly better. We decided it was the googling that made the difference, but were unable to rule out whether one’s degree of Australian-ness may also provide an edge.
  2. Your beautiful pavlova will collapse when you take it out of the oven and it starts to cool. Don’t panic. The appropriate solution is to cover the whole thing with whipped cream. No one has to know.

In case there was any doubt, our team did win first place in the best-dish competition, though I hear the leaders were close. Our prize? Tim Tams.

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4 thoughts on “Happy Belated Australia Day!

  1. New Zealanders like to claim the pavlova as their own invention. I have no idea who is right but I do know that New Zeakanders have a bit of a chip on their shoulder when it comes to all things Australian. Personally I don’t really care because I’m not particularly fond of pavlova. It’s a bit sickly sweet for me.

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  2. That dinner looks delicious! I found the Australian website and printed out the recipe, which looks like something that would be perfect for a summer dessert. I also found that Pepperidge Farm markets Tim Tams, apparently at Target. Only available from October to March, except in some northern areas of the U.S.
    Anyway, happy Australia Day! Did they have parades in that country? I know the weather there must be warmer than it is here.

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  3. What a fun dinner party. My invitation must have been lost in the mail. But not only did I enjoy reading about it and looking at the pictures, I also learned two new words — pavlova and Tim-Tams. Thanks!

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  4. Great post Gail! And I think your pav was awesome. It was better than ones I’ve had here at home. If you’re interested, these are my two go-to pages for Aussie recipes on the net (otherwise trusty google is always good): http://www.aww.com.au/food/recipe-search/ & http://www.taste.com.au/. There you can find recipes for Lamingtons (those chocolate covered sponges we had), ANZAC biscuits, trifles and even weird tim tam cakes.

    There is often talk of changing the actual date of Australia Day, which I think is an awesome idea. As you said, it is kind of an awkward celebration of British colonisation of Australia. For Aboriginal people here, it isn’t exactly cause for celebration and is often known as ‘Invasion Day’ – a sad day where the British colonists arrived and changed the country forever. I reckon it’d be good to change the day and kind of re-imagine exactly what we’re celebrating. Perhaps to celebrate broader Australian-ness, then everyone can be involved.

    Anyway, that’s just something I thought you might find interesting, perhaps you can google it when you’re eating some Australian baking. ;)

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