5 Ways Our Move To Australia Affected Our Palate

5 Ways Our Move To Australia Affected Our Palate

Living in Kuwait, life was very pampered!

We  had an amazing array of cuisines at our beckoning. Even impromptu get-togethers were easily managed with a simple phone call. Not to mention home deliveries where every meal is brought to your doorstep most times for no extra charge.

The leisurely life however, was accompanied with a feeling of insecurity a sense of foreboding that came with living in a country that did not offer citizenship or the liberty of owning your home.  Once the kids came along, we were also looking for a good education system that was not exclusive or one with a hefty price tag.

Moving to Australia

Australia, ticked all the boxes for us when it came to raising a family. Our move to Australia, especially as parents can certainly be classified as a life changing experience in a lot of ways. Little did we know the impact the move to this beautiful country would have on our food habits. Not only our eating habits, but the way we perceived food and where it comes from.

Our first stop, Alice Springs – has always been a great conversation starter. Fondly known as the ‘heart’ of Australia because of its location also the red center due to the red soil that is found there. Alice Springs is infamous for its dry conditions.  This of course, suited my family as we were moving from Middle East with quite similar weather sans the dust storms that Kuwait is now famous for.

[bctt tweet=”The journey from Kuwait to Australia had these surprising consequences on our food.” username=”contactrwc”]

Cooking At Home

Our first meal in our very own home, overlooking the beautiful MacDonnell Ranges was a simple canned soup and some bread.  I was introduced to a new contraption called an electric cooktop which had coils/  similar to the mosquito repellent that I had seen growing up.  It is great for stir fries but was a challenge to simmer a curry, make a roti or the famous masala chai. God forbid the chai ever boiled over. The cleaning was yet another chore.

While thankfully, the western culture does not exactly encourage drop in visits we did have a few occasions where I had to quickly put on my thinking hat and improvise.

We quickly found out that our options for dining out were quite limited. In terms of the choices which are mostly the fast food. The price tag of most of the dishes  clearly implied we were much better cooking at home.  Thus started our food discovery.

Luckily numerous blogs and Youtube videos came to the rescue.  While an enthusiastic cook for the occasional potlucks and meals in Kuwait, it was a different ball game to cook every single meal from scratch right at home and on an  electric cook top none the less.

Team Effort in Cooking

But you know what ? I started enjoying it. Our new friends were very appreciative of the beautiful food. Samosas were quite aptly rechristened ‘mystery bags’ and our famous ‘neer dosas’ from Karnataka were adopted with quite a zeal. We were surprised at the number of Aussies who are vegetarians. I developed a new respect for the wide variety of vegetarian food that India is so famous for.

Tina MirandaBaking cookies, cakes and slices now became a team effort and we enjoyed the additional family time that came with it .. The first rainbow cake we made and the delight the kids had stirring the colour into the batter. The thrilled reactions to the first slice that they cut in.  Birthdays now became a project, and the demands for  castle cake, a teddy bear picnic cake and the likes started pouring in.

Enjoying Community in Austraila

My fondest memory of our very first Indian community get together in Alice Springs is how we were welcomed warmly among a group of complete strangers. I was promptly introduced to the ladies in the kitchen and lo and behold found myself with a rolling pin in hand rolling out the rotis for the group assembled.

While we had enjoyed  the schnitzel, fish and chips and roasts our Indian palate knew we were missing the savory snacks, street food and dosa chutneys.

Australia FoodThe Indian we met was quite pre-dominantly North Indian  while we hail from South India. I quickly learned their way of cooking which I had long admired and always ordered at restaurants.

Before I knew it, I could pull off a Jimmy’s Masterchef butter chicken recipe, a dal makhani and a mean aloo gobhi.  While parties back in India meant the hosts slaved or catered for the event from dawn to dusk, I loved the ‘bring a plate to share’ culture that Australia is famous for.

Many hands do make light work, not to mention a great array of dishes to enjoy.

Making treats at home also meant the kids were aware of the amount of work that went in. They were quite keen to learn how to cook traditional recipes especially the ones they were partial to. We were glad we were setting an example for the kids by now in their teen years to make healthy food choices independently.

Going Green for our Food

The solitude of living in the Outback also meant we paid more for the fresh food that was shipped interstate. I was quite aware of food wastage and ensured each scrap of food was either used or composted.

We started backyard gardening which can be a challenge especially if you are renting.  Our very first investment being a curry leaf plant because no Indian household is complete without it. Coriander leaves came next and now we have quite a beautiful array of fruits and veggies in our backyard, albeit still quite a long way to go.

Food Adventures with the Kids

While I would not call myself very adventurous in terms of food, my husband and son love trying out new things. Before we knew it, we were sampling the likes of crocodile, duck and kangaroo meat that Australia is famous for.  I learnt how making pancakes and scones with butter milk took them to that extra level of yumminess.

The Rogan josh and Butter Chicken are the two most popular Indian curries the Aussies know oh and the chicken tikka of course! Asian cuisine is quite popular in Australia and Malaysian, Thai and Vietnamese food are also sought after.  

Sausage sizzle is the go to rescue for backyard parties. The ‘barbie’ aka the traditional barbecue, a much sought after appliance for an aussie bloke etc. are now words in our repertoire.  My husband is always game and quite a pro at chucking a steak on the barbie and my kids always game for a sizzle if we are out and about.  

Seven years later, and living in Brisbane now we are thankful to this great country for the new outlook it has given us towards food, farming and agriculture.  

Food Changes Caused By Move to Australia #australia #food #palete #cultures #multicultures

 Tina Miranda is an Office administration professional from Brisbane, Australia. Passionate about writing, cooking, travel and music.  A mum to a teenager and tween pigeon pair. Like a lot of other migrant parents she is looking to belong while holding on to traditional values.  To boast of having matured while still remaining the young carefree, blatant and audacious girl at heart, her favourite place to be is still in her parent’s embrace..

Bridging The Generational Gap With The Elderly

Bridging The Generational Gap With The Elderly

Raising World Children Elderly

Waiting at a check out queue the other day, I saw the cashier chatting away to a lady who was quite elderly. While I didn’t mind the wait, I was quite enamored by the ease of their conversation. Much like old friends!

I questioned the cashier about the same, who let me know that she probably was the only human contact that senior person would have till she came in for groceries next week!  I was quite taken aback, surely there was somebody who looked in on her?

Elderly Around The World

Traditionally in India, venerating an elder person in some form, either greeting with joined hands or touching of their feet is an expectation.

In the Arab countries, elders are greeted with a kiss on the forehead, as a mark of affection and respect.

Whereas in many Western cultures, hugs and a handshake are a form of the same. Down under, seniors are rather overwhelmed if we confer any of these affectionate gestures on them and are quite appreciative of them.  To be deemed an honorary Aunt or an Uncle is quite special. Where as in India, anyone who is not family is respectfully addressed as an Uncle or Aunty.

Our cultures play a vital role in shaping most if not all our outlooks and attitudes in life. Indian heritage dictates, an unwavering respect for elders.

The magic number at which an Australian would consider themselves an elder or senior is far more advanced than back home. While our parents would probably consider themselves as aged or aging even approaching 50, a Western adult would probably be comfortable classifying themselves as a ‘senior’ at 70 or more.

Interestingly, I am aware of my shift in attitude in how I perceive ‘elders’ as I transition through life.  While it was natural to scoff at a well-meaning word of advice when I was younger, today when I see an elder person, I think of the life they must have lived.

The achievements and accomplishments they would have definitely worked towards.  Part of me yearns to be part of that elite group, which has earned the luxury to look back and relax. They have paid their dues diligently and now reap the rewards, so to speak.

Yearning for Mentors in Life

Living away from my own parents, I constantly look around to find that warm knowing smile of understanding. Someone, to tell you it is going to be okay, to hang in there. Lucky for us, in this country so far away from home, we found two such beautiful people who ‘fostered’ us.

I still smile at the memory of them being mindful that Indian homes don’t often allow outside footwear into their houses.

We are lucky to be living in a vicinity where we have octogenarian neighbors. The rare occasion they take us up on our offer for a cuppa and chin wag (Aussie for a chat), they are conscious of taking up our time as a young family. Still, grateful of the time we share with them.

Our chats are always very vibrant and full of stories of how much the place has changed since they moved in almost half a decade ago as newlyweds!

The very fact that they live alone at such and advanced age and manage their affairs is witness to their independent lifestyle devoid of expectations of their offspring or family.  This probably is the starkest difference in our cultures.  They are quite active and keep themselves engaged, reading, gardening and doing their recommended dose of exercises.

Spending time with them can be so rewarding. I come away enriched with either a life lesson or an age old recipe that would have otherwise perished with them. At the least, a funny anecdote that will continue to bring a smile to my face over the years.

Seniors Today

As I interact with seniors I realize that truly, as we grow we shed our inhibitions, our quest for material wealth, and our need for drama. We start to long for simpler things as we did when we were children.  The basic needs for love, companionship, and attention once again take precedence.

I am also learning from seniors around me, that just because they are failing in health they are by no means dependent on anybody’s mercy.  Their dignity intact, all they need from us is to make them feel cherished and useful.

Bridging The Generational Gap

I recently saw a thought of opening a day care in a retirement village. There could not have been a more mutually beneficial relationship. The little ones are just the medicine ‘elders’ need to feel young once again! The elders the guiding angels for the young-lings.

[bctt tweet=”The little ones medicine for elders and elders the guiding angels for the young-lings.” username=”contactrwc”]

Passing on the legacy of the beautiful traditions loaned to us and gently reminding our growing kids to be respectful towards the elderly will hold them in good stead.  Seeing our parents eyes light up every time they  are engulfed in a bear hug or the harmless ribbing my teenage son indulges with his Nana is so endearing, it never fails to bring a tear to my eye (I am laughing that hard!).

This is probably why grandparents and grandchildren make the best pairs.  They understand each other beautifully and share a comradely that is often envied by us parents.  The same set of people who we thought did not understand us when they were parents, now advocate the causes of our kids and champion them.

To spend time with grandparents or any elders and being blessed by them is truly special indeed. Life always comes a full circle!

Bridging The Generational Gap With The Elderly www.raisingworldchildren.com #grandparents #seniorcitizen #kids #grandkids #generationalgap

Tina MirandaTina Miranda is an Office administration professional from Brisbane, Australia. Passionate about writing, cooking, travel and music.  A mum to a teenager and tween pigeon pair. Like a lot of other migrant parents she is looking to belong while holding on to traditional values.  To boast of having matured while still remaining the young carefree, blatant and audacious girl at heart, her favourite place to be is still in her parent’s embrace.