I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
Australians take their horse racing seriously; in America we've all heard of the Kentucky Derby and the coveted Triple Crown (although can we name all three races?), but most of us would be hard pressed to know when it occurs or which horse won. But here, it's a totally different story. Melbourne Cup Day is - no hyperbole - the Race that Stops a Nation. It's a Victorian legal holiday and most of the rest of the nation either give their employees the day or tell them to "work from home".
The Australian Spring Racing Carnival starts in September, but the true kick off to the "silly season" and the epoch event of the carnival is always the Melbourne Cup. It's the first Tuesday of November and if you're brave enough to battle the crowds (100,000+) you dress up in your poshest dress, most ridiculous hat and your highest heels and hope it doesn't rain - oh! and bring your money so you can wager on your favourites.
If that doesn't sound appealing, you head to a friends racing day BBQ to eat, drink and participate in the cup sweeps, drawing a horse out of a hat and hope it finished in the top 3. Everyone gathers around the TV for the Cup race (#6 out of 10 races run on the day) and screams at the television at a volume that would put an NFL fan to shame. After the race is over, the sweeps jackpot is distributed and everyone goes back to eating and drinking.
We used to go to one of the less popular race days in October and it was incredibly fun, until word got out that it wasn't a crowded race, which of course, guaranteed a crowd. So now we stick to the cup day BBQs and feel relief when we pass barefooted drunk people with their hats and ties askew, walking down the roads trying desperately to look sober enough to attract a taxi.
This year we were assigned "starters" and thanks to the hint from Moonlight Reader, I knew one of the tasks was Make something that is considered party food where you are from, and post a picture of it on booklikes. So instead of taking the lazy way out and going the cheese/fruit/cracker route, I got MT to help me make sausage rolls, quite possibly the national food of Down Under. For those in America who might not know what a sausage roll is, think Jimmy Deans wrapped in puff pastry.
Because I have issues with sausage (I keep my love for mystery limited to books, not my food), we make our own - I have a very understanding butcher who grinds the pork for me.
So after all that rambling, here is the whole point of this post and this task - pictures of a party food that is SO typically Australian:
Note: The ketchup is, if we're keeping this Aussie, sauce. They don't call it ketchup. And they use sauce on an alarming number of foods. This particular sauce however, isn't Aussie - it's Dutch. I found the jalapeńo Heinz while I was in NL and brought MT home a bottle. He loved it so much that my BFF had to send him more in a care package. Because of course, you can't get it here ::rolling eyes::.
They went over well at the BBQ and disappeared quickly, and we all had a great time (MT picked the winning horse!). A great kick off to the "Silly Season". :)
UPDATE: For the book part of this task, I've read
Death Comes to the Fair - Catherine Lloyd; the title says it all. :)