Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Going native

In addition to trying to recreate my own little food comfort zone (see previous post), I am also taking the opportunity to try some of the characteristic foods of my new host country—one of the perks of international travel. And the Australian food item that I have heard the most rhapsodizing about, hands down, is Tim Tams.

I bet you thought I was going to say Vegemite, right? Well, I’ve heard plenty about Vegemite too, but not in quite the same strain of fulsome desire as Tim Tams. I mentally classify Vegemite with Marmite and peanut butter—sticky staple foods that are delicious and comforting to those who were brought up on them, but equally likely to taste disgusting to those who were not. I’ve never heard anyone longing for Vegemite on a chat show.

If my own experience is anything to go by, the staple foods are not what you really, really crave when you are far from home—not least because you can often track them down in specialty or expat shops, if you’re willing to pay the price. Or maybe find a reasonable local substitute. No, what I really miss abroad is junk food, which I have found is still pretty localized and idiosyncratic, the globalization of nearly everything notwithstanding. As a professed chowhound and whole foods wannabe, I’m embarrassed to admit that the food items I am most likely to request for myself, from visitors or senders of care packages, are Cheez-Its and SweeTarts. So I can completely understand, theoretically, why a full-grown Australian would confess to an international TV audience how much they missed a cookie. Even Americans have told me I had to try them. Anything that gets that much hype is a no-brainer to at least taste. I bought some as soon as I had room on my shopping list for a few non-essential items.

So what kind of cookie are Tim Tams, anyway? They are a cakey chocolate sandwich, with a layer of chocolate cream in the middle, and the whole thing is covered with a coating of chocolate. So, very chocolatey. Despite this, my verdict is only: pretty good. They're really a little sweet for me. I’ll finish the package, and maybe even buy them again, but I don’t think I’d pick them over my enduring favorite adopted cookie (from the UK), the dark chocolate covered HobNob.

Not that I’ll be mentioning that to any Australians. I think it might be grounds for deportation.


Pyrus said... Best Blogger Tips

You know, I've never eaten a Tim Tam!

We'll have to do a taste test!

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

If you're going to have a taste test, get lilydale involved--that was her main piece of advice for moving to Australia!

KJ said... Best Blogger Tips

Try this..?

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

I remember seeing this in the UK! But I forgot about the tea-sucking part. If I ever get around to buying some tea, perhaps I'll try this out...

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