In Australia, "biscuits" are what Americans call "cookies," and these traditional treats date back to World War I. It's said that wives and mothers of soldiers in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps—abbreviated to "Anzac"—baked these treats to send to their men overseas.
Anzac biscuits are made using rolled oats, flour, desiccated coconut, sugar, butter, golden syrup, bicarbonate of soda and boiling water—making them both cheap and non-perishable, perfect for transporting to the troops decades ago. Today, they're still wildly popular and often sold in grocery stores across Australia.
A "billycan" is a lightweight cooking pot that is used on a campfire or camping stove, and in Australia, it has come to symbolize the spirit of exploration of the outback. Billy tea is made by boiling water in the billycan and then adding tea leaves.
Damper is a type of soda bread (made with baking soda) that was a dietary staple for Australian settlers. It is thick and dense—made without yeast—and is traditionally baked in the coals and ashes of a campfire. Damper may also be called "bush bread."
This popular square sponge cake is coated in chocolate icing and desiccated coconut, making it irresistible to Australians. It's so popular, in fact, that July 21 is National Lamington Day!
Unlike other meat-filled pies, Australian meat pies are individually sized pockets of buttery, flaky pastry filled with ground beef and gravy. Seeing as Australians consume almost 260 million meat pies per year—that's nearly 15 pies per person!—according to the Sydney Morning Herald, it's no surprise that many consider meat pies to be Australia's unofficial national dish.
Related: "Mushies" or steak-and-mushroom pies
Pavlova is a meringue-based cake with a light, crisp crust, a soft marshmallow center and, typically, a topping of whipped cream and fresh fruit. Called "Pav" for short, this dessert was named after Russian dancer Anna Pavlova after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s.
Peter Walsh shares his grandmother's Pavlova recipe
As popular as the phrase is, Australians don't "throw shrimp on the barbie." While barbecue is big Down Under, "shrimp" are referred to as "prawns," and one popular dish is the Prawn Salad. There are many different ways to make a Prawn Salad—with avocado, mangoes, tomatoes or other fruits and vegetables—but one common thread is that rarely any lettuce is used.
Roast beef, sometimes called "roast of the day," is especially popular on Sundays. To make it, slices of beef are doused in gravy and paired with mashed potatoes, and occasionally, baked carrots.
Photo: Arnott's Australia
When Oprah tried vegemite for the first time, she ate it on a SAO—a large, flaky cracker. The light texture is achieved by rolling dough into thin sheets and then layering it to create distinctive bubbles and crumbs.
Sausage Sanga with Tommy Sauce
In this simple sausage sandwich, the sausage is barbecued, placed in between slices of classic white bread and slathered with ketchup ("tommy sauce" or "tomato sauce"). While delicious anytime, the sausage sanga is especially common at sporting events.
Steak and Chips
This popular dinner consists of a thoroughly barbecued piece of steak served with hot chips—fries if you're American—and often a simple salad.
Photo: Arnott's Australia
Tim Tams, made by Arnott's Biscuits, are said to be Australia's favorite cookie. They consist of layers of crisp cookie and cr??me—a mixture of vanilla, butter and chocolate—covered in rich, chocolaty fudge. They taste incredible alone, but Tim Tams are also used in several dessert recipes.
Americans call this dessert a Napoleon (the French refer to it as ???Mille-feuille???) but in Australia, it's referred to as a vanilla slice. The iconic vanilla slice usually only has a top and bottom pastry layer, as opposed to three layers, and is filled with vanilla custard.
You can't talk about Australia without talking about Vegemite. Made from yeast extract, this paste-like spread is an Aussie food staple, especially at breakfast. It's typically eaten on toast and crackers but can also be used in various recipes—from pastries to pizza.
Watch Oprah try Vegemite for the first time