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Now that the WuFlu has cancelled ANZAC Day and footie is off the calendar for the time being let’s look at really important stuff like bragging rights to Lamingtons.

For my many American readers, you may get a giggle out of this – after all, the East v West, North v South Rivalry has been on for centuries and is still a good “ go to place “ if you want a bit of friendly fun.

After all, we are kindred spirits - our Nations bound by inexplicable ties , that we may mock, but others better bugger off and stay out of – the British didn’t stand a chance when confronted with a United States of America - and the brave diggers at Gallipoli created a fighting Spirit that will endure forever.

But getting back to the ANZAC Ditch Debacle. We may fight as a united front in the face of adversity but when it comes to other matters of a more localised nature, it is a different story.

Like brothers fighting over who gets the top bunk bed in the shared bedroom, Australia and New Zealand have had many a pillow fight over really important things like The Bledisloe Cup, Cricket, the birthplace of the Lamington or who invented the Pavlova.

fightingbrothers

Oh, you may mock us. Surely, in a time of global crisis, there are more important things than footie, cakes and puddings?

Well, you may – Mr WuFlu, have closed our borders, but you will NEVER close the book on really vital stuff like Sport and Sweets.

Today, I want to write about The Lamington. A delicious and decadently delightful cube of calorific coconut and chocolate cake that the Tasman Sea has boiled and bickered over for over 120 years. Like a ping pong ball flying backwards and forwards from one side of the ditch to the other, the Lamington has been claimed by Kiwis and Aussies and neither side will accept the outcome.

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The Governor of Queensland, Australia, was a chap by the name of Lord Lamington. He served from 1896 to 1901.

In the year 1900, he was due to visit Toowoomba, apparently to escape the humidity and heat of a typical Queensland summer in Brisbane. Toowoomba, ( I know, I lived there for 10 years ) escapes the miserable humidity that so plagues much of my beloved adopted State.

He headed to Harlaxton House, ( just down the road from where I lived – now abandoned and boarded up ) which Lord Lamington had rented as his summer residence.

Lord Lamington had a Chef - French-born Armand Galland, who was called upon at short notice to feed unexpected guests. Using what ingredients he had on hand, Galland cut up some left-over sponge cake baked the day before, dipped the slices in chocolate and doused them in coconut. Impressed by Galland's creation, Lamington's guests were said to have later asked for the recipe. This version of events is supported by Lady Lamington's memoirs.

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The first recorded written version of the recipe appeared in the Queensland Country Life, a newspaper that still exists today. That was in the year 1900, the year that Lamington’s Chef first prepared the hastily prepared delight.

It then appeared in a Sydney newspaper in 1901. Not until 1902 did a recipe appear in New Zealand.

It is interesting to know that an article appeared in the British Newspaper, The Guardian, on April 1st 2014, written by Olaf Priol (anagram fans will see that this name is a dead givewaway) claiming that people believe that the lamington was actually a Kiwi dessert known as a Wellington ( the capital of New Zealand) and it existed before Lord Lamington’s chef pilfered the precious product from across the ditch.

No matter whether the Lamington was created ( as I suspect it was ) in Toowoomba the year before Federation – or not, the fact that must come out of this is that in 1900 Australia was a Colony of Britain. Australia became a Nation ( known as Federation) in 1901.

Prior to that, we were all just a lot of convicts, pioneers, brave adventurous souls who had (willingly or unwillingly ) ventured down under to start new lives and a new way of living.

Strictly speaking, the Lamington belongs to the Poms…. The British ruled and Australia in 1900. HOWEVER, The Treaty of Waitangi, signed In New Zealand in 1840 led to the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 which made New Zealand, for all intent and purposes, a self governing Colony.

Either way, as far as the top bunk, bottom bunk debate where lamingtons are concerned, my two bobs worth is that Lamingtons are the invention of a French Chef, employed by a British Governor of a British Colony who just happened to be in Toowoomba in Queensland Australia at the time of its invention.

Who owns the claim to fame?

 lamingtonwars

I’ll punt for Queensland. Not Australia. Not New Zealand. And I would go so far as to say the brag rights belong to Toowoomba.

Cheers, mates!

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