• Corned Beef with white sauce and vegetables (Blogspot)Source: Blogspot
Johnny cakes, devon and white sauce, here's the food blackfullas grew up on.
Natalie Cromb

19 Dec 2018 - 11:42 AM  UPDATED 19 Dec 2018 - 12:27 PM

When you yarn with mob throughout this country, there are certain foods we've grown up on, despite coming from different places. 

We know that with over 200 years of colonisation our diets have changed a lot (and not necessarily for the best, either). However, since time in memoriam, we've shared our food and cared for our communities and families.  

So get out the tomato sauce and the Worcester sauce, here are some iconic black feeds to reminisce of the days at Nan and Pop's house.   


Johnny Cakes 

These are a staple. Johnny Cakes (or 'fried scones' as Murri mob call them) are life.

Although there are variations to these all over the world, for us, this damper or "bush bread" is a continuation of the days of the rations because they can be made with just flour, little salt and water. 

Have them sweet with butter and jam, honey or golden syrup, or savoury with your favourite stew or curry (see 2).

In my family, we have them with a good dose of charcoal on them and eat them burning hot with butter melting on the top and dripping down our fingers.



When I sat down with mob talking about stews, recently— it became evident that we stew A LOT.

We stew all different proteins, but we almost always have the same flavour base. It almost always comes from that little orange container with the word “Keens” on it.


Devon and Hot Chip Sandwich 

This year NITV's deadly Danny Teejay Johnson checked into local supermarkets during the Koori Knockout to make sure they had plenty of devon in supply over the long weekend.

Blackfullas love their sport, playing it and supporting it and every sideline has a family with the paper full of hot chips spread out in front of them with devon, bread and a bottle of tomato sauce pulled from an Aunty’s handbag. This is sport, this is support and this is sideline tucker.


Mince and Rice

We may have different names for this dish but at its most basic, it is mince and vegetables fried in a pan with salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and rice.

We'll eat it for dinner and then have it for breakfast the next day on toast with tomato sauce. In many houses they call it 'savoury mince', in my house it's known as 'rice’o’rissa' (rice and rissole meat— get it?), but whatever you call it— it's graced many family dinners of black households and nobody says "no" to a bowl.


Fish & Seafood

The saltwater mob eat seafood, the inland mob eat yabbies and river fish.

The seafood has a different taste to the freshwater fish and craw. Saltwater mob eat their seafood beautifully cooked with very little need for any added flavour.

Freshwater mob tend to eat fish baked slowly and yabbies boiled and curried with rice.

Whether you’re freshwater or saltwater, you grew up eating your catch and sharing it with your family.



Stewed slow or slapped on a hot plate for a hot minute— kangaroo is that protein all those paleo mob are raving about, but we have been eating forever.

We don’t count the macros or care that it is lean, we just love the taste and don’t crinkle our noses while talking about the “unique” and “gamey” flavour, like we're overnight foodies. We eat it because we always have.


Curried Sausages 

This is a family favourite to warm up those cold winter nights.

Curried Sausages consist of cut up sausages, carrot and diced potato with curry powder and curry sauce and can either be severed with mashed potato or rice to accompany.

This curry is cheap to make and can serve an army.


Corned Beef and White Sauce 

This is the flash feed worthy of Instagram. We love our corned beef, vegetables and white sauce and let me tell you, forks are pointed when talking about how to get the perfect white sauce.

If anyone tries to tell you that they do the perfect white sauce, first of all, they’re wrong— my Pop does and second of all —tell them that they need to cook for you to prove it.


Chip Sammich [sic]

Not to be confused with 3 above, this is a very different meal.

This is two bits of soft bread— buttered —then crinkle-cut chicken chips placed on the bread with a drizzle of lemon, then the sandwich is closed and squashed. There is no other reason to buy potato chips other than to eat chip sangas.



While not a meal— this is essential.

It is your duty as a blackfulla to own a kettle to boil for Aunty and make her a dark black tea.

Offer to make Aunty tea, and watch her face if you bring out those fancy teas you see at those flash cafés. Prepare to run, because the thong is coming off will be flying your way until you wake up to yourself and make a proper cuppa.