It’s no secret Australia likes takeaway food, or taking away food to eat at home, work or elsewhere. On average, Australians make 30.5 million takeaway visits each month. With more eateries than we can count around many a corner in Australia, deciding on and picking our favourite takeaway can be hard.
Takeaway food is something I get most days. During weekday lunch hours, I usually find myself wandering out of the office and buying some food from a nearby shop, and then wandering to the park across the road and eating lunch there. There’s something liberating about taking away food and eating wherever we please; where, and what, we eat is a personal choice.
These days we can take away pretty much any dish and cuisine. Just like the debate over choosing our national dish, Australia’s favourite takeaways change from year to year, and from state to state too. Not much of a surprise since our tastebuds change over time and each of us feel differently about different cuisines.
More often than not, Australians warm towards takeaway that isn’t only convenient to take away but easy to eat as well. Australians are known to be laid back; we’re a nation that works hard but plays harder. So no surprise we’re a nation that loves casual dining, loves takeaway such as pizza. In the last few years, pizzerias lead the vote as Australia’s favourite takeaway spots, and popular on Saturday night dinners a home. Burgers come out takeaway tops in Victoria. Fuss-free food we eat with our hands. Fuss-free food that doesn’t take long to prepare as well.
I rarely have pizza or burgers on my lunches, but at least once a week I’ll get a toasted ham sandwich, toasted crunchy to the edges with a slice of melted cheese oozing through the airy cracks of crisp bread. A quick takeaway lunch in the park when I’m not feeling too hungry, which means more time for a walk on my break.
And often Australia loves the kind of takeaway great for eating under the sun. After all, we love the great outdoors: a casual affair, casual eating apt.
A lot of the time Australians have a penchant for takeaway food that is all about meat. Australia certainly is a nation that loves its meat, from succulent Angus beef to tender free-range chicken to sinewy lamb. No surprise we love takeaway pizza and burgers, with BBQ Chicken and Meatlovers topping Australia’s favourite pizzas and to many of us omnivores a good meat patty makes a good burger. And kebabs and fried chicken takeaways whet Australian appetites as well. Just like how ham sandwiches sit well with me.
Some of our favourite takeaways are rather Aussie, and others less so. Apart from pizzas, burgers and fish and chips, Chinese, Italian and Indian ready-to-go are favourites too. Seems that the more multicultural Australia’s population is becoming, the more adventurous our tastebuds are becoming. Sometimes I get takeaway sushi for weekday lunches. Or a chicken panini. Or a ham sandwich.
Takeaway is usually a tasty treat that perks us up. Chances are when we choose to get takeaway, we get a fast-food meal. In 2013, a study shows Australians spend 23% more per month on fast-food compared to the last 4 years. On one hand, takeaway isn’t exactly good for us. But on the other, no reason why we can’t have our favourite-takeaway-comfort food to feel better.
Admittedly, most days after work I come home through the door, tired. Throw my keys aside. Feel lazy. Simmer some noodles, free-range chicken slices and veggies in a pot of boiling water, then drain the pot and eat all that drizzled in olive oil – the very most I’d do for dinner. Plain, organic-like dinners, yes, but they don’t leave me with a greasy feeling that takeouts and eating out often does. As author Michael Pollan said on being mindful about where our food comes from and how it lived:
“You are what what you eat eats.”
At times getting takeout, or even eating out, gets on our nerves. Get takeout and our wallets become a lighter. Get takeout and we might have to queue and push with the crowds, wait a while for our food. While McDonalds delivery is catching on in Australia, depending on traffic and weather it can take a while for takeaway delivery to arrive. Then again, making our own meals at home can get on our nerves too: mustering the effort to clean up after cooking in the kitchen, coming up with meals just enough for one person if we’re living alone and don’t want to eat the same meal again the next day.
Taking away meals and eating out, we let others prepare meals for us. When we’ve decided on having takeaway or eating out, we surrender our body and health into the care of someone’s hands, trusting we’ll get through the meal alive – a vulnerable experience. While waiting for our takeaway, what we usually tend to worry and think about is getting to where we want to be, or what our food will taste like. Cooking is far from our minds unless we want to replicate the dish we ordered. So is getting sick.
The onus is always on us to make wise food choices. We only see what our ready-to-go food entails when we open the takeout container, ready to tuck in. More often than not, we see and feel the results of our eating habits afterwards, be it a moment after eating or practically a lifetime of eating. Comfort food may not always be comfort food, as food writer Mary F.K Fisher alluded:
“Probably one of the most private things in the world is an egg before it is broken.”
Just as we can bored of home cooked meals, we can get restless from eating takeaway. Earlier this year, I got tired of eating ham sandwiches. Tired of eating sushi. On a warm spring lunch hour, I walked a few of blocks down the road. Stumbled into a café. Grabbed a prosciutto salad off the shelves and sat outside for lunch. Salty, it tasted. Much more than the ham sandwiches. Never again.
How often do you get takeaway food?