Australia’s newest cuisine paradoxically depends upon its oldest ingredients . When Europeans settlers first arrived in Australia a little over two centuries ago, the country’s Aborigines – who had inhabited the continent for 40,000 years – had a remarkable understanding of its natural recourses.
However , it is in only in the last 3 decades or so that the non-Aboriginal population of Australia has begun discover its exiting range of indigenous food, not only obvious item such as kangaroo meat but a variety of wild seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables known to the natives for thousands of years.
Ironically, much of this ancient knowledge was in danger of being lost as many Aborigines left their traditional homelands and adopted new lifestyles.
The Aborigine’s spiritual bonding with their land and their knowledge of its produce had been handed down from one generation to the next by their legends and stories. The first European settlers in Australia, noting that the natives were not agriculturalists in the accepted sense, dismissed them as simple hunters and gatherers.
It has since been discovered that the Aborigines irrigated some areas of land, regulated the undergrowth and encouraged regrowth and genetic diversify by practicing controlled burning of vegetation. Certain abundant food resources were actively managed and maintained.
Seeds of fruits were often scattered after eating , and when eggs of the magpie goose were taken, a few nests were always left untouched. In South Australia, the Aborigenes stored excess live fish from their catch in special traps.
Most food were eaten raw, but some required special treatment such as roasting or pounding and leaching in running water to remove harmful toxins. Some foodstuff were cooked, with witchetty grubs, kangaroos, smaller mammals, crabs, birds and fish being roasting over a fire.