Thursday, 26 January 2012

Happy Australia Day

    How did you celebrate our nations birthday? At the Ettomogarah pub on the sunshine coast they ran 'dunny' races. Elsewhere Aussies were backing racing cockroaches, throwing thongs (in other countries known as flip flops) and racing ride-on mowers. Others have eaten prawns, lamb roasts and fired up the 'barbie'.
Here in our home we've enjoyed a quiet slower day. We've watched the cricket and now the tennis as is our nations custom on this day. And we ate corned silverside! In my opinion there is nothing more australian. I'm old enough to remember the 'real' corned beef. Pickled in brine to preserve it so when the fresh meat is finished there is still meat for the family to eat.
When I was a kid we lived on a cattle property in Central Queensland. My dad killed and butchered a steer to provide our meat. He cleaned the beast by swinging it from a tree, pulling it up with a tractor. With our neighbours help, he chopped the beast in two and then cut each side into three. One half was thrown in the boot of the neighbours car and ended up on their table. Our half was hung in the farm shed, a structure that had neither walls or floor. Next morning Dad rose at 3am to 'butcher' our meat before the woke up! He cut it into chunks. To Mum's frustration, neither she or Dad knew which part of the beast made good steak, so all meat was stewed, casseroled, roasted or corned.
So here's to corned silverside-a real aussie meal. Even after my parents acquired a kerosene freezer, we still soaked some of our meat in brine. Mum would push her hand and arm to the bottom of a five gallon drum and pull out a greyish chunk of meat and drop it into boiling water. We ate corned beef the way others eat sliced ham. As a child, I didn't know anyother meat but beef existed. Why spend money on lamb and sausages when there was plenty of beef in the back yard? Christmas and Easter we lashed out and chased down a chook or two. Dad rung their necks and dunked them in boiling water to remove their feathers. But that's another story.
I count it a privelege to be an Aussie, born and bred. I'm grateful for my Australian bush childhood and so thankful to live in the best country in the world.

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