Bush Tukka Guide
Explore Australia Publishing, 2014
Secondary, Upper Primary
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- Aboriginal Australians
- Bush tucker
- Indigenous knowledge
- Wild foods
Author Samantha Martin is a proud descendent of the Kija and Jaru from the East Kimberley region in Western Australia. Known as the ‘Bush Tukka Woman’ via the four part SBS/NITV documentary ‘My Bush Tukka Adventures with Samantha Martin’, she is passionate about bush tucker and its importance in Indigenous Culture and wants to share her knowledge about the nutritional values and diversity of Australian bush foods.
Presented in a readily accessible way the book is full of information not just about food but also about Culture and Country and the significant teachings found in Indigenous knowledge that have been passed down over centuries.
The book is divided into sections – Teachings from my ancestors, Our land, our country and then Plants, Animals, Recipes and Where to buy bush tukka.
Descriptions are given of plants, including any warnings about negative effects, and their geographic distribution is provided along with their traditional use and any other possible uses. For example ‘The bush tomato is a small desert plant approximately 30cm in height, with grey-to-bronze leaves and attractive mauve-blue flowers. It grows well in the hot, dry climates throughout the central deserts ….’ We learn that although there are over 100 species of wild tomatoes in Australia only six are edible. Others are highly toxic. Eaten both fresh and dried they are believed to build immunity and used to treat toothache. They also go well in Mediterranean style cooking.
The range of animals listed is extensive and include some iconic species such as kangaroos, emus and echidna but also insects, fish, and shellfish. Although animals are an important food source, a number are also part of the Dreaming or they represent totems or skin-names. The book discusses the Cultural importance some animals have to various First Nations people and in different geographical areas.
The recipes cover a broad range from stir-fried grasshoppers to a traditional baked cheesecake with conkerberry and blueberry syrup. The provision of a list of websites where bush tucker can be purchased as well as the book’s comprehensive index it a very useful and educative source of Indigenous food knowledge.
- Travel NQ ‘Aboriginal Food: Interview with the Bush Tukka Woman https://travelnq.com/aboriginal-food/
- Daily Telegraph 4 April 2015 ‘Bush Tukka Woman Samantha Martin shows the ‘strong, proud, positive side of Indigenous people’ https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/bush-tukka-woman-samantha-martin-shows-the-strong-proud-positive-side-of-indigenous-people/news-story/ac8bdb34e47c8aed623fc95443daba5b
- Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney 29 May 2020. ‘Bush tucker gardens for beginners’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcotH408BZQ
- ICTV ‘Celebrating Food and Culture’ Aided by Apunipima Cape York Health Council https://ictv.com.au/video/item/6617
- The Culture Trip 11 December 2016 ‘A Guide to Bush Tucker – Australia’s Native Foods’ https://theculturetrip.com/pacific/australia/articles/a-guide-to-bush-tucker-australias-native-foods/