Photo by the (gagging) author.
Within 24 hours of landing in Australia, I heard the word “multicultural” more times than I’d cumulatively heard it in my entire life. This is hilarious to me, since nineteen out of twenty o’ you melanoma-cases-in-waiting are of bone-white Euro ancestry. Why is it that the whitest places are always the ones most hell-bent on multiculturalism? In truly multicultural cities, you don’t hear whitey spouting off about such things nearly as often, mainly because many whites silently go about their business wondering whether the gloriously sunshiny idea of multiculturalism might possibly have been a big, big mistake.
Still, whatever its deficiencies when it comes to a multiplicity of cultures, Australia offered the most widely multicultural cuisine of any place I’ve ever been. Chapel Street in South Yarra was like a culinary United Nations. In less than a week, I gorged on Nepalese curried crab, Japanese sushi, Tasmanian yoghurt, Chinese pears, and some weird Turkish jellied candy.
Of course, after having Men At Work’s Down Under drilled into my head a gazillion times twenty years ago, I couldn’t help but try some Vegemite, and I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive myself. I realise I may be starting an international incident by criticizing your beloved National Paste (every Aussie I spoke to defended it as if it was their birth mother) but I’d reckon that the taste of dead convicts’ feet is preferable to this vile yeasty sludge. It was suggested that perhaps I smeared too much onto my snack crackers and that I should temper it with a dab of butter. True enough, the less Vegemite I spread onto the cracker, the better it tasted. Right until the absolute best—no Vegemite whatsoever!
Aboriginal food, despite all the barking about multiculturalism, seemed nonexistent. In my entire time in Melbourne, I found only ONE place that specialised in the food of those Australians who arrived roughly 39,800 years before everyone else. Said eatery offered grilled wallaby, and probably broiled wombat’s feet or something. Witchetty grubs had to be special-ordered in advance.
As my rotten luck would have it though, the place was closed for Christmas, even though at the time of our inquiry, it was nearly three weeks after our Lord Jesus Christ’s birthday. Oh, I see, Mr. Aborigine; you hate the white man unless you can use one of his holidays as an excuse to take a three-week vacation.
Can’t say I blame you though. I’d hate the white man too if he’d raped my land, committed near-genocide on my people, and then had the nerve to scream about “multiculturalism” while failing to honor the cuisine of the Original Aussies. Plus, white Australians eat Vegemite, which is reason enough to hate anybody.
Jim Goad is the author of The Red Neck Manifesto and Shit Magnet and came to Australia recently to speak to John Safran. He’s mean to Vegemite so is obviously never invited back again.