Recently, as we've been neck-deep in drama from all over the globe, our desire to understand a cultural quirk or norm has sent us off on various googling sprees.
We disappeared down one such web wormhole when we wondered what our favourite new characters ingest on a daily basis. We used out wits and web prowess to put together this list of multicultural main courses.
We’re not sure why we’ve spent so much time on the eating habits of our World Drama lead characters. Sometimes it’s best not to ask questions and just go with it.
A bowl of nondescript gruel, 1850s-style (1864: Denmark's War, Denmark)
If my parents served me a bowl of birthday gruel, no matter what sweet treats they’ve budgeted for and added to it, I would ensure the entire contents of that bowl were hurled at their stupid heads.
The young birthday boy in 1864: Denmark's War feels no such need to tantrum, and even shares the dish with his fellow impoverished brother. The two then go off and offer their lives for their nation. Weirdos.
The Body of Christ (The Secret, Northern Ireland)
A staple dish in any good Baptist’s diet, God’s wafer contains the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals while simultaneously increasing one’s chances of ending up on Heaven’s door-list.
Though, in the case of Colin Howell (James Nesbitt), it’s probably best to hold off on any ritual that symbolises his ongoing commitment to the laws of the Church. In The Secret, Colin rightly decides to pass on the wafer plate and address his desire for murder first. He’ll grab a fresh slice of fadge on the way home.
Pickled herring and a cake fit for a princess (Modus, Sweden)
As we’re still waiting for former detective and criminal psychologist Johanne Vik (Melinda Kinnaman) to eat on-screen, we can only assume, just as all Aussies eat Vegemite three times a day, that our protagonist enjoys the Swedish staple of pickled herring on a daily basis.
This preserved fish comes in a variety of flavours – mustard, onion and garlic, chili - so really there’s no reason to ever grow tired of eating it.
For Vik’s autistic and cryptic daughter, Stina (Esmeralda Struwe), we think it’d take a pretty impressive meal to hold her attention, so we’re going with a slice of Prinsesstårta – a royal cake that’s a feast for the eyes as well as the belly.
French food, 24/7 (Kabul Kitchen, Afghanistan)
It's not exactly indicative of the cultural climate outside of Jacky’s (Gilbert Melki) establishment, but the French owner of the rebellious restaurant in the middle of wartime Kabul wouldn’t munch on a fresh bowl of Mantu.
As any good Frenchman would, Jacky brings French cuisine to the heart of Afghanistan, so we imagine he’d start light with a mountain of steak tartar for breakfast, a few croque monsieurs for lunch, then onto a plate of well-oiled meat for din dins.
Of course, all of Jacky’s meals are accompanied by, or often replaced with, one or more bottles of (French) wine.
Block cheese - ever the first thing on the Garry's shopping list (Raised by Wolves, England)
Germaine (Helen Monks), the eldest Garry daughter (who's based on Raised by Wolves creator Caitlin Moran), says more about the family’s eating habits in the first few minutes of the pilot than all that comes after:
“To my mind, eating Battenberg straight from the packet is as good as it gets.”
In fact, block cheese is such an ingrained aspect of the Garrys' world that it’s basically an additional character.
BBQ (non-endangered) whale (Trapped, Iceland)
Whale-lovers turn away now.
We imagine Chief of Police Andri Olfasson (Ólafur Darri Ólafsson) enjoys a good meal, and perhaps even retreats to the comfort of a plate if feeling a little "trapped". So, when his entire town is overrun by a stranded boatload of strangers at the same time a body washes ashore, we expect our chubby hero would sneak away to gather his thoughts/calories.
As Iceland is renowned for holding barbecues year-round, it’s not uncommon for them to throw a slab of whale meat on the barbie. If it’s any consolation, the Minke whale is nowhere near an endangered species. If it were, we're sure the Icelandic people would work to remove it from their menu of delicacies.
Only Professor Teerlinck knows (Professor T, Belgium)
Forget chocolates and waffles, traditional Belgian cuisine is comprised of generic European staples such as meat and potatoes. Modern Belgium borrows heavily from its neighbouring nations – whether Germany, Denmark or France - while maintaining an almost disturbing obsession with fries.
As Professor T. (Koen De Bouw) is an island unto himself, we’d imagine he’d naturally shy away from anything traditional or en vogue. He’d most likely snack on bird-feed or survive entirely on Yakult.
Heck, the man might feed on nothing but the evening charge from an industrial-sized battery.
Professor T is coming soon to SBS On Demand.
Nothing (Trepalium, France)
While we’re fairly sure the elite 20 percent of future Paris are eating quite well, the other 80 percent living in squalor would have an average daily consumption of close to nothing.
Nothing is a fairly common meal for close to two-thirds of our modern civilisation. Popularised by post-modern cuisine but dating back to the origin of man – this light meal usually comes served with a side of sauteed "screw you". This is a delicacy in most Western countries.
To watch these characters do other things besides eat, head on over to SBS On Demand to check out the best in World Drama.