Thursday, April 30, 2009

Put another shrimp on the barbie

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted

1986 In a profound politico-cultural act, following the success of the "put another shrimp on the barbie" ads, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley declared April 30 'Paul Hogan Day'. The practice of barbecuing prawns (known as 'shrimps' in the USA) was not a custom in Australia before an advertising agency invented it, but soon life imitated ad (although I've yet to see it ever done in the hundreds of barbecues I've attended).

The Paul Hogan ad campaign has yet another irony. Australians tend to believe that the barbecue is as Australian as the gum tree. In fact, the word has Caribbean roots in Taino (one of the Arawak family of languages). In one form, barabicoa, it indicates a wooden grill, a mesh of sticks; in another, barabicu, it's a sacred fire pit. The practice of barbecuing was known in Australia before WWII but generally referred to as a 'picnic', and sometimes other terms were employed. The barbecue of Australia is actually an import from the USA, probably following the presence in the war of thousands of American service people.

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