Aboriginal cooking before and after colonization

John Newton

February 2021

‘In writing about Indigenous foods, I propose we call them  Aboriginal Cookings rather than cuisines, a word that to  me is totally inapposite to use in regard to pre-colonial Indigenous cooking . And to justify my use of the neologism ‘cookings’ I’m going to quote Tyson Yunkaporta, the author of Sand Talk, a book I will be quoting from  extensively below. He writes:

“One of the exciting things about the English language is that it is a trade creole,  so it changes shape wherever it goes. I will be honouring this quality by taking her for a spin to see how she goes around some tight bends.”

My thesis, then, is that, before colonisation, there could have been as many Aboriginal Cookings as I have defined them above, as there were Aboriginal languages, and that has been estimated at  as many as 290. But like most things, this changed after 1788′.

Thanks to food writer/historian John Newton for permission to publish this thoughtful contribution to discussions about the food practices of Indigenous Australians.