Welcome to Country lunch

I’m not sure if it’s a Reconciliation Week thing or just the rhythms of retailing but this week you can get a copy of Dark Emu on special at Big W for $15.

Dark Emu’s author Bruce Pascoe says, “People are aching to love this land,” and it seems to me we’re looking like mad for tips on how in Indigenous writing.

This year one after another I find myself reading Tyson Yunkaporta’s Sand Talk, Victor Steffensen’s Fire Country, CF Black’s The Land is the of Source of the Law and Bill Neidjie’s Story About Feeling.

Reconciliation has always felt like a “Yeah, we really need to do this” proposition, but when I put the climate and ecological emergency together with what I’ve just read the proposition’s suddenly morphed into – “Shit, we really need your help with this!” 

On a crisp autumn morning a few weeks ago Wurundjeri elder, Uncle Ringo Terrick, came to the Fair Food warehouse to conduct a Welcome to Country ceremony (that’s Ringo in the pic on the left).

Down by the Darebin Creek Uncle Ringo tells us the creation story of Wurundjeri country; the way people were a part of the land, the animals, the plants even the rocks and the water. 

He tells us about colonisation; the disease, the massacres, the missions and then smokes us offering a prayer that we can heal the hurt and once again look after people and country.

Later over lunch we talk.  I tell Uncle Ringo I’ve been working on my acknowledgement of country and ask if it’s okay to say something along the lines of “It’s cool to be in the Kulin Nation.” 

Ringo, who seems a lot better at reconciliating than I am, nods, sips his kombucha and lets my question go through to the keeper – I’m not sure whether he thinks I’m hilarious or an idiot – perhaps a mixture of both.

Ringo tells me he’s just finishing a four year rehab stint up in Templestowe. He talks about being at a stage where he’s now able to help others.

I stumble out another question; asking what he thinks about doing a cultural burn along the Darebin Creek. Ringo smiles and replies with a soft, “Oh yeah.”

He continues on and tells me a bit about his work with the Wurundjeri Council – he’s excited, it’s helped him buy a car, his first.

By the time Ringo’s taxi arrives to pick him up I’ve stopped asking my dumb questions and we’re just talking.

Ringo gives us a goodbye full of grace and patience and drives off. 

I wave, feeling like an apprentice plumber who’s just made it through his first day at work.

Dan – empanada man

Dan Szwarc (that’s him tucking in above) has had one of those stellar guest-chef career arcs you hear on MasterChef before one of those cook against the  pro segments.

Trained at  the prestigious The Bue Trainers in Buenos Aires, Dan cheffed at the Park Hyatt, Claridge’s and Gate Gourmet before coming to Crown and then at both Gary and George’s restaurants before he set up on his own.

Like all the best food Dan’s gone back to his roots bringing the empanadas he grew up eating in Argentina to Melbourne.

Richelle, who you may have spoken to on the phone or email, got a pack the other night which looked like an art piece.

Dan’s heat-and-eat Empanada pack includes 3 spinach ricotta, 3 creamed corn & 4 roasted cauliflower, if you want the full experience add Dan’s chimi churri and top it off with Dan’s pickled eggplants.

We’re only delivering Dan’s empanadas on Thursdays so remember to set your shopping cart for a Thursday delivery and they’ll appear in stock.

Have a great week



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