French Onion Soup

AS A WHITEY-AUSTRALIAN, I FEEL deep down the imperative, despite criticism and all sense of self-reflection, to carry on my ethnic burden to cook utterly climate-inappropriate meals. It’s a reflex that should be familiar to anyone who’s listened to Paul Kelly’s narrator, languishing in clink, fantasising about Christmas gravy. By the age of twenty, like it or not, every Anglo kid has at some point in her or his life, accepted the terrible demands of tradition despite the urgings of the weather and common-sense and the knowledge of inevitable gastric punishment and eaten pudding and custard in December. We accept this, as a small price of eternal national foreignness. It’s normal, and funny. We make jokes about the dissonance.

The latest details from the Bureau of Meteorology list the temperature as 24.8°, with a 65% humidity, and I’m cooking French onion soup.

I’m a football fan. I like to watch it, I like to know about it, I follow a team that plays it, when I was a young man I used to play it (very badly) myself. Every Australian football fan has watched horrified wide-eyed, though, in the last few weeks, as many existing cultures of football and public relations and criminal justice have collided into each other with a mighty crunch. My namesake Liam Jurrah involved himself in a tragic, violent incident. That’ll go through the courts, and fair enough.

It’s leaped outside the community and onto the national stage, has grabbed the microphone, and isn’t letting go. At least one figure, for his racism, has lost his job over it. We’ve had one remarkable editorial over it and another eye-opening piece of journalism. There’ll be more consequences—consequences are one resource this country will never exhaust.

It’s a collision, in every sense of the word. There’s a sickening sliding inevitability about the whole episode, of sport interacting with public relations interacting with money interacting with the justice system all sliding around on top of a frighteningly unknowable two hundred and something years of mutual unfamiliarity and violence. Australia is a strange place, urban and remote together, and getting stranger.

French Onion Soup

First, chop a lot of onions. This was about five small fist-sized brown ones.

Chopped onions
A lot of onions.

In butter and olive oil, caramelise them.

Caramelising onions
Caramelising Onions

I think I poured white wine and sherry on them, and poured in about a litre of stock (but that’s another post for another time).

French Onion Soup
French Onion Soup

Yes, there were croutons. They were rubbed in garlic and covered in olive oil and grilled under cheese beforehand. This one in particular’s sitting, submerged, underneath the spoon.

You never know what’s going to pop out from under the surface to challenge you. And everything.

---

/

Add a comment

This is a gravatar

Casey · 17 March 2012, 14:45 · #

“my ethnic burden”

I HARDLY think Soupe à l’oignon is YOUR ethnic burden, though God knows, it’s brown innit?

Apart from that, I have never had this thing. Imma try it. That alcohol. You could just call it brown punch I suppose. Good work Liam.

---
This is a gravatar

Fyodor · 20 March 2012, 13:40 · #

Yah. Bacon & cabbage with boxty is more in your line, Haiku.

---
This is a gravatar

Lefty E · 27 March 2012, 11:47 · #

“…carry on my ethnic burden to cook utterly climate-inappropriate meals. It’s a reflex that should be familiar to anyone who’s listened to Paul Kelly’s narrator, languishing in clink, fantasising about Christmas gravy. By the age of twenty, like it or not, every Anglo kid has at some point in her or his life, accepted the terrible demands of tradition despite the urgings of the weather and common-sense and the knowledge of inevitable gastric punishment and eaten pudding and custard in December. We accept this, as a small price of eternal national foreignness. It’s normal, and funny. We make jokes about the dissonance.”

Some of your onion-peeling right there, Liamista.

“Amilcar, preparar os canhões de saudação. Dispara!!”

---

Commenting is closed for this article.