I have been trying to explain the tradition of Melbourne cup to my newly independent teen. It is a horse race, lasting merely minutes, it brings Australia to a standstill if not for the entire afternoon, then at least for 15 minutes while the race is run. It’s a day where little old ladies jostle with the big time punters at the betting office. Where sweeps are run and horses picked in every office, hospital, school, childcare centre and house in just every corner of Australia and indeed the world, where there may be a gathering of Aussies. It’s a day when people who normally would not dream of appearing in public in a frock ( dress) and heels or a suit and tie, suddenly do so, and head out for a session of lunching or munching and drinking with gay abandon. This day allows anyone who has a wallet to open it up and pay to make a guess on a previously unknown horse and jockey with the hope of becoming rich. Mostly it results in heavy absenteeism the next day and drunken groping at a pub near you.
Apart from the drunken groping,( I didn’t want to go into a long diatribe about this) I have relayed the story to my son, Skater, who is now 18, finished his last exams, and has been invited to a lunch. Today it is acceptable for him to gamble his hard earned pocket money, and watch as grown adults swill champagne with out a care. He didn’t really approve, but I suggested if he was offered a sweep he may like to indulge in that. ( he won $32.00- I hope this does not encourage gambling!)
Mean while for the first time ever I did not have to cook lunch in a restaurant or serve customers in a business or answer a phone and have to sound like I cared!. I was invited to Otto restaurant, Wooloomoolloo, by my generous boss. The lunch was $150.00 a head with a glass of Bollinger to start. A small treat of Sydney Rock Oysters plain and with a salsa were complimentary along with a prosciutto, artichoke and parmesan antipasto. Chef at Otto is Richard Ptacnik who has a refined sense of Italian food. Light, colourful and immaculately presented. He buys lots of beautiful Italian products from our work. Here is a little look at what to expect at Otto restaurant Sydney.
Tradition….sometimes hard to explain….or understand.