Cultural sensitivities are something that we try to be aware of as we visit other countries. Now that we are back in Australia, I thought it was time to warn everyone about a couple of very sensitive issues for Australians.
When I first arrived in Oz 17 years ago, I was taken aside within the first 24 hours because a friend had something to explain. “Let me show you how to eat a meat pie,” he said.
“First of all stand up. Feet slightly apart (you do not want gravy on your shoes.) Now pick up the pie with both hands and lean slightly forward (no gravy down your front either). Now you are good to go.”
I was reminded of this advice because, earlier this week, Malcolm Turnbull (the Pime Minister of Australia no less) was foolish enough to be filmed eating a meat pie with a knife and fork. Yesterday, he lost five by-elections in one day! That must some sort of political record.
Today is National Tree Day and as we passed all the excited families preparing to plant trees, I could see the sausage sizzle standing by in the background. It is almost inconceivable, in Australia, to have an event like this and not have a sausage sizzle. You wouldn’t think that a piece of cheap white bread, a sausage, tomato sauce and a few pieces of fried onion could could cause so much offence. But here is the salutary tale:
A couple of general elections ago, Bill Shorten (Leader of the Labour Party) was photographed taking his first bite of a sausage sizzle from the middle, not the end. The poor man has been in opposition ever since.
So please be aware of cultural sensitivities and do be careful how you eat your food in Australia. When you get it wrong, there can be dire and long term consequences!