Tucking in Outback
Photo Courtesy of IStock
As Jim Goad Pointed out in "Eat Vegemite?" there does appear to be only one Australian bush food restaurant in the world and when they re-opened after Christmas, we went to speak to Caroline, the owner, who hails from the Boonerwrung clan, because she’s an expert on this kind of thing.
So, the Aborigines, seemingly in the first few minutes of their really long tenure on the land have developed a menu that reads something like a list of rejected Fear Factor ideas. But it’s highly nutritious and tasty, so here’s an easy, step-by-step “how to” eat like a real native Aussie.
File Snakes: This is easily the most daunting of the aboriginal dishes so make sure you’re hungry. Head down to your nearest mangrove (muddy, shady swampland) and wait till one of the snakes comes up for air. Once it does, it’s game on. They can be up to three meters in length and pretty slippery so do whatever you need to catch it before it slithers back into the quicksand. Once you have a good grip on it, pull it as hard as you can and then put the entire head in your mouth and bite it off. That’s right. Bite the head off the live snake that’s writhing around in your hands. Nothing to it! If you can get to this point, light a fire, cook it whole and eat once the skin starts to swell.
Honey Ants: You will find honey ants under most mulga trees (google it). If you see what looks like a small ant hole, start digging and there’s a good chance you’ll come across the nest of a whole bunch of critters with big round sacks on their backs full of honey. From here it’s easy. Just grab one and suck the juicy tail till it’s dry.
Green Ants: If you’re up for a slightly different culinary experience, these taste like lemon and lime sherbet. They are also high in vitamin C and have antibiotic properties. If you squash them and stir them into water, they also make an excellent flavoured beverage.
Witchetty Grubs: These are fat white worms that are ugly as sin but really high in omega 3 and protein. If you can catch them, you will be rewarded with a creamy textured flesh. The best way to get these guys is to get a thin twig and chew on it till it’s fibrous. Find a hollow root with a hole in the top and insert the twig to tickle the grubs. They will respond by grabbing onto your twig whereby you can pull them out and have them raw or cook them up for a crispy snack.