Tag Archives: Australia Day

A Loaf of Bread, A Bottle of Olive Oil, and you can leave me alone…

27 Jan

I have become a convert to the joys of olive oil.

I had been cooking with it for quite a while, when I started reading a book on the history of olive oil and also its health benefits.

It took a while to get my mouth to accept that I was actually having oil instead of butter.  I swear my taste buds initial reaction was “what is this crap???”  However, I persevered and now olive oil has become my favourite pantry item.

I don’t bother with salad dressing.  Just slosh the olive oil over my conglomeration of raw vegetables and eat.  Cooked vegetables are now served with fresh ground black pepper and a splash of olive oil, rather than a knob of butter.  And you know what?  The vegetables taste better! 

But my favourite olive oil thing is my lunch at the weekends.  Fresh crusty bread dipped in olive oil, with cheese and a glass of red wine.  I was very amused at the weekend.  It was Australia Day.  And there was I, on Australia’s version of 4th July, eating what, at first glance was an un-Australian meal.  Though on closer inspection, my meal was probably more Aussie than many that day.  The olive oil was Australian, as was the cheese and the wine, and the bread was made at a little bakery near my flat.  100% Australian meal.

I have tried quite a few olive oils, but have developed a taste for one in particular.  The Australian company Cobram Estate’s “robust” oil.  It’s great on a salad, but I love the way it tastes on bread.  It glides across my palate, tip toes delicately across my taste buds, and then slams into the back on my throat like an out of control Formula One racing car.  Bloody fantastic!

According to The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam it is “A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou.”  In my book, these days, it’s “A loaf of bread, a bottle of olive oil, and you can leave me alone.”  At least until I’ve finished my lunch.

Safe Sex Australian Style

14 Oct

It takes a lot to render me speechless, but last Saturday in the supermarket I was totally gobsmacked by a packet of condoms.

Firstly, there was the logic of displaying the condoms next to the shampoo.  I’ll be weeks working that one out.  But my mute reaction was down to a particular packet of condoms on the shelf.  Emblazoned with the Australian flag and the legend “Stand Proud”, was a packet of condoms, which according the the blurb, were in Australia’s sporting colours of green and gold.  I just stood there and stared as my brain tried to wrap itself around what my eyes were seeing.

A little internet research yesterday elicited the information that the condoms were produced by the Durex company for Australia Day.  Patriotic condoms. How sweet.  Also somewhat worrying.  Australia Day is on 26th January, so the supermarket is either 3 months early or 9 months late, depending on your point of view.

I also started thinking, which is a dangerous enterprise in and of itself.  Does Durex do this in other countries, or is Australia the only country that is weird enough to accept patriotic condoms without batting an eyelid?

If they don’t, there is a pretty good untapped market out there.  4th July condoms in red, white and blue, with the legend “Uncle Sam Wants You To Have Safe Sex” on the box would be a sure fire winner.

They could use the same colours for the English ones, but have the legend “Would You Mind Awfully Putting This On, Thanks Ever So Much” on the box instead.

About the only country where the idea would be a complete flop is the city state of Vatican City.  Think about it for a moment.

I found myself thinking back to my teenage years.  I grew up in New Zealand, which was then very English in it’s attitudes towards safe sex.  I can remember the furor when Durex sponsored a racing car in Britain.  The television channel covering the race didn’t want to show the car with “that word” on it.  Bit bloody difficult as, from memory, the car was leading most of the time!

Condoms were kept behind the counter at pharmacies (drug stores for my American readers).  I had never seen a packet of condoms until I visited my family in Australia when I was 16.  We went into the local pharmacy so mum could talk to the pharmacist, who was an old friend of hers.  I wandered around the shop until my attention was caught by a display stand of condoms.  I stopped and stared, fascinated.  Across the top of the display stand was the proud announcement “Now in Six Exciting New Colours”.  I pondered this for a moment, before turning, and yelling across the shop, “Hey mum, what difference does the colour make?”  My mother has dined out on that story for YEARS.

Then there was the guy at the service station (gas station for my American readers) who tried to sell us condoms as substitute balloons when someone forgot to get balloons for a surprise 60th birthday party and there was nowhere open except the servo.  The award for enterprising attitude and inventiveness goes to the service station attendant.  For the record, we didn’t take up his idea.  We figured trying to explain why the “balloons” didn’t look like normal balloons outweighed the inconvenience of a balloon-less party.

Condoms have provided me with hours of amusement, in one form or another.  Nice to know they’re still doing it.

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