Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove has discussed the importance of Australian food with the ABC’s Landline program, but his comments about what would and wouldn’t be served at Government House has raised some eyebrows. According to the state figurehead, native meats such as emu and crocodile will definitely not be served to foreign diplomats being hosted in Australia!
“We don’t want to confront our guests without some warning,” Mr. Cosgrove explained before admitting that Australian food offered much more than that. “We do go basically ‘middle of the road’ on some basic food stuffs. All the spices and the sauces and the lemon myrtle that you might have or the bush pepper … these are part and parcel of the chef’s repertoire.”
At the Agribusiness Council of Australia’s winter solstice feast at Yarralumla, Mr. Cosgrove discussed the importance of Australia’s reputation as a first-class food supplier. “We produce enough food in this country to feed 60 million people — that’s routine for us, and therefore we’re in the game of exporting that to people in our region or wherever there is a market,” he explained to the crowd at the event. “We should use every part of our repertoire to publicise what Australian producers are capable of. It starts here, right in this dining room.”
During his speech, the Governor-General joked about the nation’s arcane reputation as a culinary wasteland. “There may have been a time when diplomats and overseas guests may have approached an invitation to an Australian feast with trepidation, harbouring visions of barbeques, flies and burnt sausages. They may have frantically looked for a plausible excuse to politely send their apologies. But for tonight I’m sure the diaries were cleared.”
Mr. Cosgrove told the crowd that Australian food should be celebrated at similar events. He believes that a winter solstice feast is a great way to explore the country’s ‘food identity’ and strengthen our understanding of local cuisine. “This is first time around, I hope it’s not the last,” he said. “I think it would be marvellous for the providers and the nurturers in the family to plan a winter solstice feast, provided they take note that these are the type of food stuffs that we’re brilliant at in Australia – make it an Australian meal!”
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