Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Star Spangled Barbecue.

I'm not going to enlighten you on any new Aussie slang because this post is about Amurrica! And because I don't have any to enlighten you about. Whatever.

We finally had our All-Amurrican BBQ and it was a success! First though, we had to try and grocery shop for American meals at an Australian supermarket. Katie and I went on the longest grocery shopping spree of my life. Turns out, Australians don't know what the hell black beans are. Together we spent about $200 bucks. Which, if you're keeping up with the financial Joneses you'll know our dollar is rapidly becoming toilet paper, so it was a lot of money to feed these mouths.

Anyway, I did without black beans for the time being and we packed up the car and headed home. I wish we had a camera to document our exasperation on the ride home. It looked like someone had kicked our dog, run away, came back for another swift kick, egged us, then ran away again. If I ever brave the supermarket again I'll be sure to avoid shopping from 3-6pm, also known as rush hour, also known as the time when everyone in New South Wales decides to shop for food. We got home, unloaded the car, and started putting things away. We had a shit ton of work to do, so we decided to start cooking the night before.

Much to my dismay, I realized I still didn't have any black beans. I needed these precious protein nuggets so I could attempt to make black bean burgers for myself since I'm still vegan. My uncle, the mob boss that he is, said he's "got a mate that can give us some black beans", so long as I give him an hour's time. Katie and I plotted what he was doing and who he was killing to get those beans for the hour he was gone.

But alas! He came back with black beans and clean hands.

Allrecipes.com told me I needed to soak my beans, so I did (later I will realize that the recipe called for canned black beans and this 9 hour Tour de Beans was a waste of time). After I dumped them in a pot of water, Katie started boiling some water to make hard-boiled eggs for the Deviled Eggs and for my potato salad. Which! I was simultaneously preparing by boiling my potatoes. My family has a huge, powerful professional oven. Probably because my uncle is a mob boss and had a "mate" who "set him up" with a legit fan-forced oven and open-flame stove. He totally killed someone on Iron Chef and stole their oven/stovetop combo.

I'm chopping all the things needed for my potato salad whilst whirring batter for the Amurrica cake and I'm beginning to feel like Martha Stewart pre-prison. The night goes on and as things are boiling/simmering/soaking, we watched The Road. Nothing like a little post-apocalyptic thriller to get you in the mood to celebrate America.

The next morning it was straight to the kitchen! Katie made the Deviled Eggs, the Bumble Bee Brownies (per Micah Merril-Johnson's delicious recipe), seasoned and molded the burger patties, made some onion dip with mass amounts of cream cheese that I tried and unfortunately liked, concocted a watermelon basket full of scrumptious fruit and made some homemade macaroni & cheese.

She was sweaty.

I continued to monitor my beans, finished the Amurrica cake, finished the potato salad, made pasta salad, made my kickass guacamole, made really good cookies with a retarded amount of butter, and finally made it to my black bean burger recipe.

I was even sweatier.

First attempt: fail. Why? Because you can't assume a blender is interchangeable with a food processor. And when you realize that, you can't just "add water" to your recipe to make it work in the blender. Instead, you send your mob boss uncle to acquire a food processor. And when he comes back with one, you pray for the family of the father he just slain because he "owed him". It's a criminal world, this Australia. 

Anyway, the second time was a success. And lucky for me, I soaked way too many black beans, so I didn't lose much with the blender fiasco. I made the patties and put them in the oven to bake. People had already arrived so I went out and mingled with all of my family's friends. Most I had previously met from a gourmet barbecue we attended a couple weeks ago. Seriously, they had lamb, chicken kabobs, fried fancy cheese, chorizo sausages, and a slew of salads and breads. That was what sparked us having this barbecue. Because that food belonged in the same 5 star restaurant that the Iron Chef owned before my uncle "took care of him" and swiped his oven/stove. So, we decided to introduce how barbecue food should really taste.

Like refined sugar and saturated fat!

And turns out, just because I have a food processor accessible doesn't mean I can skip out on integral parts of my recipe out of sheer excitement. You know, like olive oil and the appropriate amount of rolled oats to hold it all together. My patties were drier than Gerry's Goldbond infused crotch. They crumbled when my uncle tried to barbecue them just for browning. But you know, they still tasted alright. With ample amounts of ground mustard and sliced avocado.

In other news, we wanted to deck the halls with boughs of red, white and blue - except we didn't find the time between preparing dishes. But we did dress appropriately, as did my uncle with his Dallas Cowboys t-shirt, jorts, flops and a red hat. And we even had guests who wanted to chime in on the fun. So much so, that he managed to find imported Budweiser. Classy.

Forgive his flag confusion, he was going for color combo.

Despite our sweaty trials, everyone ate way too much, drank way too much and attempted to speak in American accents all night. Which I found to be quite hilarious. They were marveling over the food as they ate each course. I told them it was the butter and cheese. Amurrica!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

"I don't know about the Wollon, but I loved the Gong!"

Aussie slang defined:
  • Gobbies = Blowj's.
  • Oy! Haiyagon', mate? = Hello, how are you doing, friend?
  • Far out! = Holy shit!
  • Buggar = Damn.
Katie and I took a little trip to this mystical land called Wollongong using the Tom Tom personality of Yoda. No, we weren't high or tripping on anything. It's a real city. Why were we going to this Dr. Seuss town? We went to celebrate a new friend's birthday. Creepy? Adventurous? You be the judge.

Immediately upon our arrival to the city we notice a huge water tower that says "We <3 the Gong!" in big, bold letters. (Later in the evening, I will have a conversation to one of the boys we visited, trying to explain to him that that phrase is riddled with sexual innuendos. He will look confused and ask me why. I will walk away.) I found out they sell t-shirts and mugs with said tagline. Don't think I'm not buying one. 

After Yoda successfully guided is to the Gong, we made our way to the hostel we booked. Mind you, we passed it like 4 times because foliage and shrubbery were consuming what resembled a building, but we got there. And when we walked in the sweet aroma of pee infiltrated my nostrils. Pee and mold. We checked in and headed up to our room. With each and every step up the stairs I felt like we were walking up to Satan's quarters. It was so. Hot. If you know me at all you know that I sweat during an arctic blizzard.

So far the hostel is 0 for 2.

I'm on this responsibility leave, right. And it's been wonderfully slovenly. But did you know there are people who do this for a living? They just hop around and stay in hotels and earn money by babysitting or selling drugs or selling drugs to babysitters? They stay in hostels for years at a time. Satan's hostels that resemble the smell of your pee after you eat asparagus. It's a real dream come true.

Anyway, we were under the impression that we ordered a double bed in a single room because everything else was filled. When we opened up lucky door number 15, we were welcomed by 2 sets of bunk beds that belonged in Full House and the stagnant stares of 2 German girls. I think their names were Hefferweisen and Ursula. I don't really remember, I was sweating too much. After we tried to make small talk about Hitler and weed, we claimed out beds and went to grab something to eat. After we ate sub-par food and bought wallet-robbing cheap booze we headed back to the hostel to get ready for the party.

On the car ride home I was earnestly praying to God that he would send an ice storm through our room and that Veinerschnitzel and Vunderbrah would be gone. Alas! They are. But Satan's fiery wrath was still in full force. Douche bag. We start getting ready, play with our self-adhesive bras, have a pillow fight in our underwear and we hear the door begin to open.  Za Germans are back? Nine! It's another German. But a boy one.

We exchange the "Your accent is beautiful, are you from Canada?" bullshit and learn that Sheizerben has been staying in the hostel for an obscene amount of time and is making friends with the other hostelians in the house, drinking and carrying along (refer to the dream come true I mentioned above). Hans and his boyfriends just live in the Gong, "go to school" and rent a room in a hostel, rotating roommates and inevitably STD's.

Anyway, off to the party we go.

Now look, us Americans love our pop culture. But Australians are like 13 year old girls who listen to their favorite songs loudly on repeat for 7 months. When we got to the party, that was located in a hotel lounge, it was like the entire night was a laser-lit musical ode to Rihanna, Enrique, JT and some suuuuper gay song about not being an angel and "loving when you do that stuff to me."

13 year olds. All of them.

The night raved on until the birthday boy was thrown out of Lounge de la Technopopmashups. Then everything got boring and sleepy, so we headed back to the hostel. We got back to find that Helda and Zelda were sleeping, so we quietly got changed in the dark and went to the back courtyard to see what the laughing and Rihanna musical ruckus was about. On our way down we found empty bottles of Jagermeister and a cute pathway of empty beer bottles that led us right to the backporch party. We saw Haggendazs and his friends merrily drinking into a stupor and met a ripped-cut Aussie who only eats chicken and vegetables. And was drinking something that had things floating in it.

He offered me some and I told him I don't drink my own vomit. I bid the party adieu and headed back up to Hades.

The next morning Katie and I went to breakfast along North Beach in the Gong. I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman when she wanted to shop in the fancy store. Except replace "shop at the fancy store" with "eat at a cute seaside cafe" and replace the prostitution for smelling like asparagus pee and looking like 3 day old make up.

Eat your heart out, Gerry.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Map of Tazzies everywhere!

Aussie slang defined:
  • Muck around = screw around.
  • Baaaarrrrnt = a weird expression that 15-year-olds in Sydney say when calling someone out on something embarrassing.
  • Lad & lass = drug doing/sex having delinquent punk.
I've been in Aussie land for 10 days. While it's not a really long time, I'd like to say that I'm pretty acclimated to my surroundings. However, there are still a few ridiculous ass things that I still can't get over:
  1. When people tell Katie and I that our accents are "beautiful. First of all, what? Second of all, I get the idea that just because our accent is "different" that it could be considered intriguing, but beautiful? Most American accents make people sound like they're stricken with some sort of nasal congestion problem. Either that or they have suffered some kind of brain trauma that has altered their ability to pronounce syllables and formulate proper sentences. Now, it might just be me... but it's not.
  2. The cropped top/angleduptheass high-waisted jorts combination. Straight out of 1980. Everyone is wearing pieces of tank tops, or "singlets" as they would say,  that hang slightly above the bellybutton, paired with the shortest, highest jorts ever made. I marvel at how girls' bajingas/map of Tazzies don't say hello to every passer-by. A modest example of my cousin and her friends is shown. I'll get her to model what her favorite outfit is soon. I like to keep my readers on the edge of their seats that way. 
  3. And lastly, the game of Cricket. What the hell is going on and why does your bat have angles on it. 
Overall, my time here has set the bar REALLY high for the rest of my trip. Though, I could do without the sunburns, expensive drinks and the Vegemite. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Tale of Two Toddlers.

Newest Aussie slang defined:
  • Map of Tazzie = vagina. 
  • Platt = braid.
  • Stuff it = forget it.
WTF mate?

My aunt and uncle are becoming increasingly more entertaining with each passing day. As I mentioned before, often times we find my aunt Linda being put in the position of lead babysitter for my uncle P[aul]. What with his whimsical attitude about things such as finances, money, alcohol and entertainment. Not to mention he's always yelling and always taking pictures of the most random and irrelevant moments that Linda is forced to regulate with her chill hand.

But I'm beginning to believe they're both toddlers. 

Since we got here there has been an orange tabby cat meandering around their block. Nothing new. Cats are dirty sly shitwads. Anyway, any time this tabby cat comes around Linda instantly turns into a child. She crouches down and tries to hug the cat, all the while chanting "Ohh puss puss, come here puss puss, yeeeess puss puss." 

Firstly, gross.
Secondly, why she loves the back-alley bastard is beyond me.

If, however, she so much as makes contact with the cat Paul grits his teeth, bangs on the nearest hard surface and sternly tells Linda, "NO." Repeating the fact that if she loves on the cat, it will return. Well, obviously that's what Linda wants so since we have been here I've seen Linda love on the tabby only when P is gone. 

Today though, today was a new low.

I was standing in the kitchen fiddling with a computer and I hear the pitter patter of little padded feet come parading down the hall. I look to my left and see that tabby cat roaming around the house. I exclaim that the damn cat has made it inside! I'm with uncle P on this situation. Unless it's an adorable little playful clawless baby kitten, I'll punt it out of my path. 

But by the time I turn to face my aunt that cat has already made it into her lap and under her stroking hands. 

She demanded that I not tell Paul because she loved the little puss puss. 

I shook my head.