Coleman / Getting a lot of (tasty) stick from ‘The Royal’

“Food on a stick is almost omnipresent at Homebush, but this year things started getting a little weird…” writes columnist CHRIS COLEMAN

The Clyde Pavilion at the Sydney Royal Easter Show circa 1900.

THERE’S a humorous movie titled “The Perfect Catch” in which the lead characters Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon lament the poor number of food choices available on sticks. They go on to wish for the existence of meat in a cone!

Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman.

I wonder what the reaction from the directors (the famous filmmaking Farrelly brothers, if you’re curious) would be if they turned up at the Royal Easter Show. For that matter, I wonder what the reaction of the organisers of the first Sydney Royal in 1823 would be if they turned up at the 2017 version.

Because food on a stick is almost omnipresent at Homebush. There’s your traditional Dagwood Dog (a “hot dog on a stick”) at some stalls.

There’s corn. On a cob. On a stick. You’ll easily find meat on a stick, whether that be beef, lamb or pork and, of course, cheese on a stick has been a Sydney Show tradition for many years. However, this year things started getting a little weird in the food-on-a-stick stakes.

Have you ever felt the need to impale waffles on a stick? That may seem strange but you’ll find it. How about chicken wings on a stick? Not deboned chicken wings, but several complete chicken wings spiked on a lengthy skewer. Yes, you’ll find that, too.

The award title for most unusual gastronomic oddity went to, envelope please…

No, really, lasagna on a stick.

“La La Land”! No, wait, I meant to say lasagna on a stick.

Seriously. Layers of pasta, meat, and béchamel sauce covered in crumbs and deep fried. I made it a surprisingly tasty addition to my lunch.

Now, if you happen to be one of the many Canberrans who will be ducking up to Sydney for this year’s extravaganza before it ends on April 19, be prepared for an all-in assault on every sense.

“The Man From Snowy River” show is back in the main arena along with what must be more than a hundred animals. For those who like a little more horsepower, the “Battle of the Golden Helmet” is a motorsport challenge where city and country representatives take each other on in a skill-come-stunt test on motocross bikes and hot utes.

For the traditionalists, and anyone who happens to find themselves transported forward from 1823, there are animals galore. Within the space of an hour, I saw chickens being washed and cattle being preened and blow-dried ready for exhibition. The craft pavilion contains so many fabulous food, clothing and art items you could stay there for hours (I did!).

The rides are the expected array of things to subject your body to G-Forces it wouldn’t normally experience or, in some cases, put water in parts of your body you’d rather stay dry. Some of them we had a preview of at the Canberra Show a few weeks back, but some are too big for the Epic complex and mind-boggling in their complexity.

Of course, there are showbags galore. Officially 381 of them, but if you look around you’ll spot a few others that don’t appear on the official list. They resemble the old-style “sample bags”. Keep an eye out for them in the Woolworths Fresh Food Dome, which is again the home of the amazing fresh food and vegetable displays.

In all, a good way to spend a day, right through to the fireworks every evening, even if there are parts of the place the showies of the 1800s could scarcely have begun to imagine.

A few final words of advice; if you’re going, check the website, or download the app, which will save a lot of looking and waiting around for the events you want to see. I mean, you really wouldn’t want to miss the sight of a space cowboy on a three-metre unicycle juggling a chainsaw, would you?

And keep your eyes peeled. There are at least two places offering meat in a cone!

Chris Coleman, who hosts 2CC’s “Canberra Live” program, was an opening-day guest of the Royal Agricultural Society.

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