Just to say that I did it, I bought and ate some Crocodile and Kangaroo meat. Nothing out of the ordinary. At one of our lunches during the conference they offered cappers. To me, I saw what looked exactly like onion rings. I was not alone. Most people thought that is what they were. One bite in and it was clear that we were mistaken. It was squid, what they told me they called cappers. Yum.
Fortunately, I was ready for restaurants. If I wanted French fries, I just had to ask for chips. That one everybody knows thanks to fish and chips. While out with one of the blokes from Australia, I asked him about calling them chips.
Me: "So, if I want fries, I ask for chips. I get that. But what do you ask for if you want chips? Fries?"
Him: "Well, you just say that you want...uh...they are called chips, too."
Me: "So how do you know what you are getting?"
Him: "Uh...I guess I'd ask for potato chips."
Me: "But aren't fries also made of potatoes?"
At that point, it was clear that the conversation was going nowhere.
I was even more confused when I ordered a drink from a restaurant. I was getting a bit burned out on soda, so I decided to get lemonade. The guy next to me had one with a slice of lime floating in it, and it looked good. When the waitress came, I asked for lemonade. She came back minutes later with Sprite.
Me: "Excuse me, I ordered the lemonade, this is Sprite."
Her: "Ya, I know."
Me: "So, can I get the lemonade?"
Her: "You just did."
Her: "In your hand."
Me: "But this is Sprite."
Her: "I know."
Again, I figured that conversation had run its course. After the Aussies at my table stopped laughing they told me that in Australia, lemonade is Sprite, or its equivalent. It turns out that I must order a "lemon and lime" to get what I thought was lemonade. Since Sprite is lemon-lime, I was a bit taken back on that one, but if they drive on the wrong side of the road, why would I expect them to get their drinks right?
This morning for breakfast I decided to try the local favorite known as Vegemite. A local had told me that Vegemite was discovered as a by-product of beer. After they would dump out the beer from the barrels, there was a yeast build-up on the sides. They'd gather it up and spread it on bread. Since that time, it's become a major marketable product. Why didn't I think of that? I have leftover salty ice when I make ice cream. I could sell that just as easily.
I had tried Vegemite before, a decade ago, when offered some by a foreign exchange student I knew. I remember that I didn't like it and we made fun of her for liking it. This time I wanted to give it a fair shot, so I put it on some fresh toast.
Vegemite on toast
So, how does it taste? Picture a product with the main ingredient yeast, but tastes like pure salt. I believe the story of how Vegemite came about, who else but drunken slobs would eat that stuff a on a regular basis? I'm beginning to think there might be hope for my leftover salty ice business.
I did pose for this pic, but this reaction to Vegemite is genuine:
From what I understand, my reaction was not uncommon. Well, I didn't throw up, so I guess it was. I suppose that if I want to start my Saltalicous Ice Company (yes, I’ve already named it), then I’d have to relocate to Sydney.
Perhaps they call it "down under" because that's where all the guests hide the food they are served; down under the table...