America’s culinary take-over of Australia is officially complete. It’s getting so you can’t swing a cat in any self-respecting semi-hip suburb without hitting a cowboy-themed bourbon bar. (In the old days all you’d get was reported to the RSPCA). Banks won’t give finance to a chef who doesn’t propose to put “sliders” on the menu.
Even the venerable David Jones Food Hall with its caviar and $100 Kobe sirloins has succumbed:
Not only is this American food, it’s some of the most white-bread American food you can imagine. All that’s missing is the loaves of Wonder. I know some Americans here, but the stuff we tend to pine for is all proper bagels and New York pizza and, in my case at least, fresh Hudson Valley foie gras, which the philistines at Quarantine still won’t let in. With the exception of the Whoopie-Dos, which might just be a bit “out there”, it’s not hard to imagine Mitt Romney’s pantry looking something like this. Perhaps this is an early market indicator that Americans – and America’s allies – everywhere are sick of the faux-gourmet eat-your-greens food stylings of the present First Lady?
Ten years ago America was seen in many quarters of Australia as vulgar and violent and her food was not to be rated (this from a country that smears yeast poo on toast and gives it to children, but whatever). Those who complain about Julia Gillard’s treatment by her critics should go back and see how John Howard’s relationship with George W. Bush was dealt with by the bien-pensant. An American accent at a bar could lead to some … lively … discussions, and my first media engagement in this country involved staying up past my bedtime to be harangued for an hour about Washington’s pernicious influence by Philip Adams. We haven’t crossed paths since, but I suspect as a man who’s never shied away from dessert, the man is secretly glad that pancake mix and Pop-Tarts are now so easily available in Australia.