Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Goodbye OzNZVeganMoFo & Bush Tucker
Today is the last day of OzNZVeganMoFo. Tomorrow there will be the start of the worldwide VeganMoFo, in which I also plan to participate.
So what is the ultimate Aussie food for the final Australian MoFo post? I haven't covered so many foods and traditions. (Oh well, there is always next year.) However, I do want to mention a very important and overlooked Australian food tradition.
Tonight, I thought I would mention bush tucker. I am not an indigenous Australia, so I am not familiar with much of Australia's food history. Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders have food traditions that reach back over 40,000 years. Their land use, including the use of fire to encourage favourable plants, changed the Australian landscape in a form of land management which preserved the land, resources, flora and fauna far better than European settlers have managed in the last 200 odd years.
In parts of Australia, Indigenous people traded over hundred of kilometres (central Australia, evidenced by rock items displaced by almost the length of the continent). Aboriginal people sent carved message stick invitations to other nations, over similar distances in a form of recorded communication. (The writing-like nature of these permanently recorded messages have been ignored in a privileging of written forms, by many European discussion of Aboriginal culture.) Some groups hosted food festivals like the Bunya nut celebrations for groups from all around their region.
Other than the ever popular macadamia nut, it is only in the last few years that non-indigenous people have paid much attention to this rich tradition. It is now possible to buy wattle seed and lemon myrtle based seasoning. You can also buy bush lime and other traditional fruits in jams, chutneys and sauces.
Well, here are my approaches to bush tucker plants, from my garden. They are all native to the Brisbane area, as well as other areas of Australia.
Midyin berry (Austromyrtus dulcis) amongst my beans and nasturtiums. This low shrub will have red sweet, ginger-flavoured berries later.
Native ginger (Alpinea Caerulea). This tall quick-growing plant will have blue edible berry and leaves which can be used to wrap food for cooking.
Lilly pilly (Syzygium australe), which is a small tree/large shrub with more edible berries.
I haven't had any crop from these young plants yet, but I am hoping for fruit this season and will blog about them if I get them.
Goodbye Aussie MoFo!