Snags that come with the amber fluid

FOR the visitor to a barbie, or the tourist, the following short glossary of Australian barbecue terms may help you through the linguistic tangle.

Barbie - a deeply religious practice, south of the equator, round about Australia, steeped in ritual and secretive acts of faith.

It is also the name given to the altar, the focus of the faithful, the instrument of gastric indulgence usually found in the backyard, opposite the Hill's hoist (a distinctive Australian clothes line).

Amber fluid - the intravenous sip of the serious barbecue-goer; grog, booze - libation to the gods. Amber fluid comes in all shapes and sizes - in tinnies, tallies, shorties or stubbies - but always ice-cold.

NT stubbie - they do things big in the Northern Territory.

Stubbie cooler - experienced barbie-goers will have one of these with which to cosset their coldie from the heat of the arvo (see below) while they drink. Otherwise, the esky (see below) holds the tinnies.


Arvo - the appropriate time of day for worship. Hence: 'G'day, mate. You comin' ta Davo's barbie this arvo? Don't be a drongo and fergetcha coldies this time, will ya?' Drongo - a short-sighted, slow-witted creature; a droob, an idiot.

Esky - sacristy of the barbie, this polystyrene portable fridge is one of the ritual's most important objects. Its job is to keep the tinnies, stubbies, tallies and so on frosty cold even on a 'scorcha' of a summer day.

Flat out like a lizard drinking - usually the cook, high priest of the barbie, will be so employed to keep the congregation well supplied with victuals.

Throwing your voice - take note, this has nothing to do with ventriloquism. It is the unfortunate but inevitable consequence of over-indulgence. When Robbo mutters that he is about to throw his voice, take immediate, swift strides to put as much space between him and you as possible, because he is about to spit, spew, chunder, drive the porcelain bus, talk to God on the big white phone. He will cast out the evil from within.


The snag - the basic building block of Australian barbecue cuisine, the humble sausage. Usually accompanied by rumps, chops, T-bones, spuds and sometimes schoolies - small, sweet prawns that are tossed over the fire as a sacrifice against hunger. Hence: 'Whacko-the-diddle-oh, mate, these snags're bonza. Throw a few more on the barbie, will ya? You bewdy.' Whacko - a cry of overwhelming, tear-filled and exquisite joy. A revelation. Similar to bonza, bewdy, ripper.

Most appropriate when the beer's ice-cold and the barbie's all fired up.