“Cheeseslaw” Makes It Into The Macquarie Dictionary At Last

After 80-plus years, a Broken Hill culinary delicacy has made it into the Aussie word book.

The Macquarie Dictionary doesn’t just document the English language, it’s the go-to book for Aussie slang. If you want to know the meaning of doover, piker or nark, look up your Macquarie.

And the Macca Dic has today announced that it’s incorporated a new word for some dinkum Aussie tucker: cheeseslaw.

So maybe you’re wondering what exactly cheeseslaw is. Maybe you are oblivious to the charms of this Aussie variant on the slaws of old.

Having myself found out approximately three hours ago, I’m going to defer to the Macquarie itself. And don’t be fooled by their stock image background – it is NOT a bunch of carrots. In fact it is:

Cheeseslaw definition
Image: Macquarie Dictionary

Basically, it’s like coleslaw, only – get this – it contains cheese. Mmm-mmm.

This surely delicious Aussie cuisine – with cabbage optional - has been neglected for far too long. And its absence from the dictionary mean that those of us like myself who use the dictionary as a menu have been deprived of its charms.

Fortunately, Broken Hill local Margaret Lesjack noticed its absence, perhaps when she too was browsing the dictionary for culinary inspiration.

The epidemiologist had noticed the dish in hospital sandwiches since she moved to Broken Hill in 2005.

"It was always interesting to watch the new doctors try cheeseslaw," she told the ABC, adding that recipes were many and varied beyond the basic formula.

Ms Lesjack submitted the word to the Macquarie, who included it in their “Words to Watch” a few weeks ago, alongside “prangry”, “mukbang”, “cancel culture”, “closed loop”. “fish fraud” and “bubble wrap generation”.

It will be included in the mid-year online update of the dictionary, as well as the 2020 print version.

Cheeseslaw, which I cannot wait to try, dates back to at least 1939, when the Townsville Daily Bulletin published a recipe for the even more radical “ham and cheese slaw”.

But Broken Hill residents told their local ABC in 2015 that’s a perversion of their own cheese slaw which had already been popular in the local region.

"We didn't call it cheeseslaw, we just called it cheese and carrot," said Geraldine Channing. "You had to make your own mayonnaise."

Anyway, it’s lunchtime now, so I’m going to be an Aussie legend and grab myself a tub full of cheeseslaw!


I'll stick with coleslaw... and my old dictionary.