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Waltzing Australia


Sunday, December 25, 2011

35. Christmas in Australia

Christmas "Downunder"
Christmas "Downunder" is hot, often muggy and the sun beats down on your head. Unlike those in the Northern Hemisphere where Christmas is cold, wet and snowing with people rugged up in their winter woolies tucking into a a veritable feast of hot dishes followed by a hot steaming pudding, here in Australia, it's a singlet, shorts and thongs - too bloody hot to be all dolled up to the nines! Too right too. I rang mum to wish her merry Christmas and said, "Mum, today is a traditional Australian Christmas - stinking hot and humid." Just like Christmas used to be when I was a kiddie.

This song sort of depicts the Christmas in Australia - not everyone has a bbq

Christmas Dinner
Whether you're having your Christmas meal at lunchtime or tea time, it's still "Dinner" - when eating in the middle of the day, it's lunch, when eaten for the evening meal it's tea. Not to be confused with tea as in a cup of tea, tea in Australia is dinner time. Confusing eh? Not really, we know what we mean - today at our house we had Christmas Dinner which was a Christmas lunch at lunchtime.

Summer Makes No Difference
Now, you might think that being summer, we Aussies would content ourselves with a summer salad, a lovely light refreshing meal with tomatoes and lettuce. Huh! Not on your nelly. Here in Australia we have our "traditions" just like our brothers across the oceans - a selection of hot meats - baked ham, roast leg 'o lamb, baked spuds and pumpkins, two types of greens (in this case broccoli and beans) served with hot gravy. Naturally. So there was I, busily stirring the gravy, sweat pouring down my face, into my eyes, my glasses got fogged up, as I valiantly tried to see how the gravy was going.

Potato salad had been made last night. Actually, it was made very late last night and put together just after midnight. We've had a run of hot days recently, the house has a flat roof and you get a free sauna - inside temps over the 30's. Easy over 30.

The Pièce de Résistance
As anybody in our family will tell you - it's the Christmas Pudding, a beautiful, delectable, mouth-watering delicacy filled with fruits and brandy, served with lashings of runny cream.

My lovely daughter-in-law who is now my second daugher, has taken over the making of the Christmas Pudding for the last two years (and a wonderful job she does too) told me, the pudding went mouldy I had to throw it out, went everywhere trying to find one to buy, could only find two small ones. (They fly down from Sydney a day or two before Christmas Day.) Never mind, she was here and that's more important.

After being re-boiled, the pud is place on a plate, brought out to the table and brandy poured over it then lit with a light and the glorious blue flames from the burning alcohol rise up. Except I knocked the bottle over, the pudding went swimming and everybody got drunk! Just kidding, although I was rather heavy-handed with the brandy though.

We all nearly split our side laughing when eldest son proudly carried out the two puddings on a rectangular plate - they looked just like a pair of knockers and naturally he made reference to this (although slightly different words were used) We thought it hilarious because they did in fact look exactly like that!

It is now nearly half past nine at night and the house is still hot as a furnace. Ah well, perhaps I could sleep on the roof tonight. Wouldn't that be a thought now.

I will end with one of my favourite Australian Christmas carols - The Three Drovers. We learnt this at school when I was in grade 3.

Merry Christmas from Downunder.

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