I know that most people think Australian’s speak English and for the most part you would be correct in saying that. But when you are new to this country, 13 years of age and people are saying things like ‘Ta’, ‘Bikkie’, ‘Tinnie’ and more it really makes you think it’s a foreign language and one you need to learn pretty darn quick in order to fit in.
Lucky I was a teenager and cottoned on to what was being said but to this day I still learn another word or saying from my very Aussie partner Wayne. I think he knows them all and being born and bred in Australia, so he should.
So I thought it would be fun to share some of the food related Aussie slang with those of you who aren’t from Australia or those that, like me, are born un-Aussie but somewhat bred Aussie.
One of my favourite sayings is when you’re sitting down to dinner and someone asks for the ‘Dead Horse’. Why on earth would anyone want to eat a dead horse you say. Hmmmm! It is nothing like what you are thinking but is actually Aussie slang for Tomato Sauce. You see in the Australian language you have to either rhyme or shorten everything you say. And once you know this rule you will be able to work some of the Australian language out!
If you ask me (Donna Robinson) a question you would say ‘Hey Robbo ……’
Hey Robbo, what’s for tea (dinner)? Who’s Robbo and tea is tea!? I don’t get it..
How about some snags, googs and dead horse for brekkie?
Ok, by now your saying ‘What on earth is this girl talking about?’ In proper English it would be sausages, eggs and tomato sauce (ketchup) for breakfast. Are you getting my drift about this crazy language (which I have come to love as much as I love this country).
So let’s all go to Australia for a barbie with some chook, snags, googs, a sanger or two and of course that all important, can’t have a proper Aussie barbie without it, dead horse!
We’ll have a few tinnies then finish off with a cuppa and a bikkie before we grab a roadie for the trip home!
But then we need to learn how to cook like a true Australian as well. I asked Wayne what a good Aussie recipe was and he advised me that I needed to learn how to cook a galah. Hmmm….. What is this galah recipe I asked and how would I do this, to which he said;
‘You take one galah, dressed (plucked and prepared), 6 small rocks and one large pot of boiling water. Add the galah and the rocks to the pot of boiling water and continue to boil rapidly for six hours.
Remove the pot from the heat, discard the galah drain the water and eat the rocks!’
So let’s see if you get my drift! The galah is not a good bird to eat, very tough and it would most likely be easier to eat the rocks!
So as you can see us Aussies have a great sense of fun and humour and love a good laugh. And we also talk funny. We call eggs ‘googs’, sauce ‘dead horse’, cookies ‘bikkies’, breakfast ‘brekkie’, meat pies ‘dogs eyes’, sausages ‘snags’, chicken ‘chook’, food ‘tucker’ and there are any number of words used when you want a beer…… Tinny, coldie or even a roadie if you are taking it with you.
But it gets even better as there are food terms used to describe things that happen in everyday life as well, like when you lie you tell a porky pie and when you’re out drinking you’re on the turps. But one of the best stories has to do with ‘Bringing a Plate’. You see here in Australia we have a lot of barbeques, get togethers and celebrations. It has even been said that Australians will use any excuse to celebrate and have a few drinks. Now most of the time you get people to bring something along and so you ask them to ‘Bring a plate’.
Well there was a lady once who was asked to come along to barbeque and she was asked to ‘Bring a plate’ and that is exactly what she did. She thought this was a strange thing to be asked but shrugged it off, rocked up at the barbeque and in her hand was a plate. There was nothing on it as she wasn’t asked to bring a plate with something on it, she was asked to bring a plate. And that is just what she did. I love that story.
And what would you think if someone said ‘Fair suck of the sauce bottle’? Or ‘She’ll be apples’. And maybe even ‘What’s the John Dory?’. Yes they all mean something else and no they have nothing to do with food. Fair go, she’ll be alright and what’s the story?! That’s it, you just have to get used to it but you never seem to know them all. I still get stumped from time to time when Wayne comes out with yet another crazy word or saying. But I always laugh.
Just so you get the type of conversations I had to cope with as a new teenager to Australia this is a shortened version of my introduction to Aussie words and slang (food related of course!)
So my story goes…..
At 13 years of age my family decides to move to Australia, the land down under, I start school, it’s lunchtime and off to the kiosk we go.
‘Let’s grab a dogs eye and some dead horse’ someone says.
‘No I want a goog sanger’ says someone else.
Me, I say ‘ What are you talking about?’
‘What’s the John Dory? You’re not from Oz are you or are you just a few stubbies short of a six pack?’
‘Fair suck of the sauce bottle, stop giving the poor girl curry. She’s new around here’
She’ll be apples once we teach her the real Aussie language’
‘Yeah let’s have a barbie on the weekend with some snags, chook and a few tinnies!’
‘Stop telling porky pies! There will be no tinnies as we aren’t old enough to drink yet. It’s just lolly water, billy tea and a few bikkies for us!’
Confused? Yes I was too but now I know exactly what they are talking about now (most of the time) and I love it. It makes our Aussies unique and good humoured and that is why I eventually became a (nearly) true blue Aussie myself.
So my Aussie slang (food related) dictionary goes a bit like this:
- Cookie/Biscuit or Bikkie
- Beer/Tinnie, grog, the amber fluid or a coldie
- Sausage/Snag or a banger
- Cup of coffee or tea/Cuppa
- Tomato Sauce (ketchup)/Dead Horse
- Meat Pie/Dogs Eye
- Chewing Gum/Chewie
- Sweets or Candy/Lollies
- Cordial or Soft Drink/Lolly Water
- Food/Grub or Tucker
- To tell a lie/Pork pie
- Takeaway Beer/Roadie
- Out drinking/On the turps
- Fair go/Fair suck of the sauce bottle
- What’s the story or gossip/What’s the John Dory
- Someone slow or not with it/A few stubbies short of a six-pack
- She’ll be alright/She’ll be apples
- Relax/ Veg out
This is only a very small bite of our unique Australian language but it is a start. Now you can practice and have a bit of fun with your friends. So get out there, crack a few googs, make a few sangers, chuck on some dead horse and wash it down with a few tinnies and you’ll be apples in my book!