About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Friday, February 02, 2007
A Right Fritter
Yesterday was the anniversary of one of crickets most infamous incidents - the underarm ball. Even though it happened more than twenty-five years ago, it is still so well remembered that it is mentioned in the papers to this day. It was the cause of much anger and consternation of New Zealanders towards Australia. This from Wikipedia...

Trevor Chappell bowls underarm

An infamous incident involving an underarm delivery occurred on February 1,1981 when Australia was playing New Zealand in a One-day International, the third of five cricket matches in the final of the Benson & Hedges World Series Cup at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

New Zealand needed six runs to tie the match from the final ball, with eight wickets down. The Australian captain (Greg Chappell) ordered the bowler (his brother,Trevor Chappell) to bowl underarm: rolling the ball along the ground to avoid the possibility that the No. 10 New Zealand batsman (Brian McKechnie) would score a six from the last ball to tie the match.
Australia won the game, but the New Zealand batsmen marched off in disgust, and since that day the underarm bowling incident has been a source of discussion, both heated and jocular, between Australians and New Zealanders.

It was described as "the most disgusting incident I can recall in the history of cricket" by the then Prime Minister of New Zealand, Rob Muldoon, who also observed that "It was an act of cowardice and I consider it appropriate that the Australian team were wearing yellow". Even the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, called the act "contrary to the traditions of the game".

I wonder how the Kiwis (New Zealanders) are going to react when come whitebait season in August I'm going to unveil a new way of cooking them. The classic New Zealand way is to prepare them as a whitebait fritter made from eggs, similar to an omelette, or even more loosely as an ingredient in scrambled eggs. Having had both versions, it seems to me that the flavour of the eggs is just that little bit too strong for these little fishes and another way of cooking them that would highlight their delicate flavour is needed.

You would think that a fish not much longer than 5 mm (1/4") wouldn't be all that expensive, but guess again. Last season they were retailing for more than AU$100 kg. They didn't always command such high prices, but for a variety of reasons the catch rate has declined in recent years. Whitebait is a fish much loved by Kiwis and is as much a part of their psyche as rugby, so hopefully messing about with it won't cause an international incident.

We'll see in August.

Labels: ,

  posted at 9:50 am

At 12:17 pm, Anonymous kitchen hand said...

That was a 'can you remember where you were' moment like the America's Cup and Pres. Kennedy assassination.

I remember where I was: reading The Age and having breakfast (filter coffee and toasted sandwiches, latte hadn't been invented yet) in the Hopetoun Tearooms in the city. I lived in Carlton and worked in St Kilda Road and always had breakfast in town.

BTW, maybe whitebait has always been relatively expensive - mum used to make something that was called mock white bait - it was basically just grated potato hash bound with egg and fried.

At 3:10 am, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I guess I'm hoping it will be an international incident! Seems like that would be wonderful fun. And I'd like to be on hand to say I was there for that "where were you when" moment.

At 10:44 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi kitchen hand, the one thing I do remember is not where I was but of Rod Marsh urging Trevor not to do it. It must have been hard for him, not only was Greg the captain of Australia, he was his bigger brother too.

Hi tanna, we'll see what happens. The Kiwis and us have a love/hate relationship.

At 10:02 pm, Blogger ilingc said...

I never knew whitebait costs so much! Perhaps that's why they are categorised as 'premium dishes' at yum cha and cost $8 for a teeny plate.

At 1:45 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi ilingc, I'm not sure we're talking about the same fish. NZ whitebait is really tiny, about 5 mm long at most. Australian whitebait are like whales compared to them.


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