Tag Archives: food

Fair dinkum great Australian Inventions

Australia. Where women glow and men plunder or chunder, depending on the verse.

To butcher the Monty Python line, “What has Australia ever done for us?”
Glad you asked. Here are just a handful of some fair dinkum great Australian inventions.

A great Australian invention

In no particular order:

• Kylie Minogue – From spanner-wielding soap opera mechanic to global chanteuse.

• Google Maps – Okay, there were also a couple of Danish blokes in the team, but we’re claiming it.

• Spray-on skin – developed by Professor Fiona Wood in 1999 to treat second-degree burns. Incredible.

• The stump-jump plough. I’m not actually sure what this is, but as officially decreed in the Australian Constitution, it must be included in every list of Australian inventions.

• Ultrasound – so you can see baby Trevor before you meet him.

• Cathy Freeman – rather quick.

• Powered flight – In 1894, Lawrence Hargraves whacked a couple of box kites together
and strapped on a compressed air engine. He wasn’t to know about dickhead seat-recliners.

• AC/DC – I still can’t get used to that new lead singer.

• The fridge – In 1855, James Harrison was granted a patent for an ether vapour-compression refrigeration system to keep his cans of Foster’s Lager* cold. (*nobody in Australia drinks Foster’s)

• Nicole Kidman – I know she was born in Hawaii, but we’re claiming her.

• The electronic pacemaker – Mark Lidwill and Edgar Booth burst out of the shed brandishing
the world’s first artificial pacemaker in the 1920s. Heart emoji to them.

• Home and Away – introduced “flamin’” to the universe.

• Don Bradman – rather handy with a cricket bat.

• The power board – say g’day the next time you plug something in.

• Feature film – The Story of the Kelly Gang was released in 1906, and it’s all been downhill
to Fifty Shades Darker.

• The Splayd – you know, that spoon / fork / knife cutlery thing. Some heathens call it a “spork”.

• Albert Namatjira – To see the real Australia, immerse yourself in his paintings.

• Black box flight recorder – I hope you will never be featured in one.

• Barry Humphries – Thrust gladiolas on an unsuspecting world stage.

• Cask wine – aka goon, space bag or Chateau Cardboard.

• Wi-Fi – CSIRO researcher John O’Sullivan apparently stumbled across Wi-Fi in 1977 while hunting exploding black holes. As one does.

• Dual flush toilet – To differentiate your number ones from your number twos.

• Hugh Jackman – Talented bastard.


PS, There are a few Australian inventions we are not proud of – Rolf Harris and the Aussie Flu.

©Steve Williams 2018

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A bathroom sponge, a Rubik’s Cube and Dolly

Restaurant review: An unnamed restaurant, Berlin, Germany.

We should have listened to Public Enemy and not believed it.

Dolly offered more flavour in the taxi on our way back to the hotel

This place was not only talked up bigtime by all the usual travel-advice-dispensing suspects,
but also the normally fairly trustworthy New York Times 36 Hours.

The decor is a Trump-esque orange. It was packed.
A short wait, then seated next to a Scandinavian family featuring an emo teenager…
picture a pissed-off, possibly self-harming version of the lead singer of A-ha, annoyingly clicking a Rubik’s Cube.

The menu consisted of about three offerings, the daily specials board about two.
Alarm bells should have sounded when the menu didn’t appear on the website.

Only fried spring rolls? Fried? In a much-trumpeted about Asian restaurant?
What. The. Serious. Fuck.

My wife ordered a chicken Phở featuring dejected, arid pieces of chicken and a distinct lack of herbs, and taste, but an over compensation of a collective noun of shallots.

As a non-meat-but-seafood-eating type, I had roughly one choice, a tofu vegetable rice thing,
that when doused in chili to give it some semblance of flavour, morphed into the consistency of Perkin’s Paste that I used to glue things together in primary school. The Rubik’s Cube sized pieces of tofu were being eyed rather amorously by neighbouring Take On Me emo boy. Though with the consistency of an overworked bathroom sponge, even he would have had trouble clicking them.

The only saving grace was Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” in the taxi on the way back to the hotel.
The lyrics “Your smile is like a breath of spring / Your voice is soft like summer rain” infinitely more flavoursome than the meal.


©Steve Williams 2017

*This review also appears in the highly entertaining Brothtaking.

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Sydney The High Vis City

So I was back in Sydney recently. I live in Europe, and it was the first time I had been back
in Sydney in almost four years.

Being a fairly observant type, I noticed quite a few changes. In no particular order…

*Why is every pub meal now $30? A few years ago if you paid 15 bucks you were ripped off.

*Why does every pub have those same funky hipster light globes? Maybe that explains the above.

*Why do restaurants have those BS time-limited seatings? “We’ve managed to fit you in at 3.27am but we will need your table at 3.29am.”

*Why are those towers at Barangaroo designed so they will look dated in about half an hour?

*Why is there an M4 freeway… M5 and M7 but no M6? Also what the hell is the A4?
My hire car’s satellite navigation thingo had NFI.

*Speaking of the M4, why didn’t they future-proof it when they first built it, instead of digging it up every five minutes and turning it into a seething, angry carpark?

*Why does every beverage you order anywhere arrive in a mason jar? Have glasses been banned
as part of the lockout laws? I want a drink, not a pickle or a secret handshake.

*Why does the entire population of Sydney now sport a High Vis vest? When did that become a thing? I saw a photo of HSC markers wearing them. The most dangerous thing that could possibly ever happen to them is a rather nasty paper cut.

*When did Australian TV become so, well, crap? I watched Goggle Box for the first time
and I thought the TV shows they were discussing were parodies. Apparently they’re not.

*Can someone, anyone, please do something about Sydney Airport? It really is a shocker.

*Without sounding like a squawking breakfast radio announcer, why are there posters around the city saying “Happy Christmas” instead of “Merry”? Is the word “Merry” offensive now?
I didn’t get the email.

Having said all that, it was wonderful to be back.
Sydney really is one of the greatest cities in the world.

Words and image ©Steve Williams 2017

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Christmas gifts that keep on giving (and other clichés*)

Left your Christmas shopping until the last minute? You slack bastard. Can’t think of what to get your annoying little nephew Trevor? (No, forget him, he’s a little shit.) Thank your invisible sky dweller of choice I’m here.

You won’t have to endure that stopping-at-the-bottom-of-shopping mall-escalators mass of humanity, and endless Christmas carols so bad you want to perforate your eardrum with a chicken skewer.

You’ll think all your Christmases have come at once with www.skymall.com – a vertiable one stop shop for all your Christmas needs.*

Always wanted a t-shirt that smells like bacon? Of course you have. Just stay away from rabid dogs.

Dress like a pig

Dress like a pig

Can’t say I’ve ever been tempted by time, whether Gothic, sexy, and / or crouching.
That definitely won’t change with The Gothic Temptress Calendar. Note the leather and S&M chains. Classy. Imagine having a meeting with some bloke with this on his desk. You would be tempted to ask if his views on women are still stuck in 1427.

Tempted? Er, no

Tempted? Er, no

I know what you’re thinking: “I wish some artisan would craft a bespoke Bigfoot Tree Yeti Sculpture.” All that kneeling at the foot of your bed worked…

Chewbacca and Abe Lincoln's lovechild

Chewbacca and Abe Lincoln’s lovechild

Now, the piece of resistance. I give you The Zombie of Montclaire Moors as discussed on various late night TV shows. I assume the plan is you stick old mate in the ground next to your magnificent Double Delight roses and scare the bejesus out of young kiddies and get blank looks and eye rolls from adults. Go on, you know you want to, you always were the “wacky and zany” one.

Zombie Holocompost meets Lawn of the Dead

Zombie Holocompost meets Lawn of the Dead

Go and sleigh him, Santa.

©Steve Williams 2014

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Foodporn — It’s already been shot, just eat it

When Frenchman Joseph Nicéphore Niépce shot the world’s first photograph in 1826, it was of the view out of his window, thankfully not of his coq au vin.

A restaurateur’s deterrent against food photography

Speaking of such meaty subjects, I’d like to discuss foodporn — amateur photographers recording their food for posterity instead of merely eating it. Today, if your phone isn’t equipped with a camera, you’re using iTroglodyte. That means basically everyone is a photographer — and this isn’t a good thing, especially when you’re trying to eat.

Amateur restaurant food photographers should be skewered, basted and lightly roasted. Instagram and Twitter have a lot to answer for. Why do you need to photograph your food before you eat it? Who are you going to show these badly composed, badly shot and badly shit photos to? Is the plan to bore your Facebook friends into a coma?

It is always a dining delight when the couple at the next table is photographing their fettuccine or shooting their shark fin soup. This is often undertaken with a ginormous SLR, emitting strobe flashes that illuminates the food and everyone in the vicinity like an atomic bomb has just detonated. If I wanted to book a table for two in an epileptic-fit-inducing lighthouse I would.

That’s just the entree — for main you get to sit back and marvel at the elaborate production of the couple photographing each other eating said food. Are we talking foreplay to some 9½ Weeks inspired erotic food-feeding-frenzy? Hope the shark fin comes to life in the bedroom.

There was a hallelujah moment last year when New York restaurants started banning food photography. The usual “freedom of everything” suspects choked on their amusebouche in predictable outrage, but f. them — they should be skewered as well.

I’d take a photo of that.

©Steve Williams 2014

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