A Tough, Yummy Cookie for ANZAC Day The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps took heavy losses in World War I. Today, those countries remember their fallen by serving the kind of cookies families shipped to loved ones on the battlefield. BPP's technical director serves up the hearty ANZAC Day treat.
NPR logo

A Tough, Yummy Cookie for ANZAC Day

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/89933882/89933861" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
A Tough, Yummy Cookie for ANZAC Day

A Tough, Yummy Cookie for ANZAC Day

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/89933882/89933861" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


I'm not sure if you realize this, Mike, but today is Anzac Day.


Well, good Anzac Day to you.

MARTIN: Congratulations.

PESCA: Uh-huh.

MARTIN: Happy Anzac Day. Actually, I don't know the official greeting, what you say on Anzac Day. Nevertheless, we shall explain. Every April 25th, residents of Australia and New Zealand celebrate what's called Anzac Day. This is the day that they remember soldiers in both of those armies, who fought in World War I. Specifically, the day when these soldiers landed on the beaches of Gallipoli, in Turkey. This was their first major military operation of that war, which was illustrated in the 1981 film, you've seen it I'm sure, featuring a very young Mel Gibson, aptly titled "Gallipoli".

PESCA: "Gallipoli," yeah.

MARTIN: And it's also the subject of a famous Australian folk song called, "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda."

(Soundbite of song "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda")

Mr. ERIC BOGLE: (Singing) And the band plays Waltzing Matilda and the old men still answer the call. But year after year...

MARTIN: Now, frankly, I'd never heard of Anzac Day until yesterday, when our BPP technical director, Manoli Weatherall, who happens to have been born in Western Australia, Manoli brought in special Anzac cookies to commemorate the holiday. And now Manoli joins us in the studio to explain a little bit about this day. Manoli, you say this is something you celebrated when you lived in Australia. This is something people celebrate every year.

MANOLI WEATHERALL: Yeah, every year. It's sort of like Memorial Day, but it's - you know, can be quite solemn because it was, after all, a hideous, a hideous battle. It was a horrible failure.

PESCA: Ninety-nine thousand, over 99,000 fighters on both sides lost their lives in the Battle of Gallipoli, and at the Battle of the Neck, which is what the - "Gallipoli," the movie was about.

MARTIN: Uh-huh.

PESCA: They sent just wave after wave.

WEATHERALL: Oh, horrible.

PESCA: Into machine guns for no reason, bad communication.

WEATHERALL: Cannon fodder.

PESCA: Yeah.

WEATHERALL: So it has some, you know, certainly solemnity associated with it. Each town has got a big war memorial.

MARTIN: And it's now taken on a more general significance, as a...

WEATHERALL: Like a memorial.

MARTIN: As a more general memorial day, or what we call Veterans' Day.

PESCA: And we should say what Anzac means.

MARTIN: We should, tell us, Manoli.

WEATHERALL: It's Australia New Zealand Army Corps, and that's the group in the military who went to fight in Turkey.

MARTIN: Now, let's get to how you have chosen to commemorate this day with cookies, which is apparently a thing that people do. They make these special Anzac cookies. Describe what these cookies are, Manoli. You brought them to us in the studio.

WEATHERALL: Uh-huh. They're oatmeal cookies, but they're specially made in such a way during - the design was that the ingredients are very, very sturdy, it makes a nice, sturdy cookie that will survive the long trip from Australia, all the way to Turkey, or England, or wherever, you know the troops were. So they could have something nice, and sweet from home.

MARTIN: And what's so sturdy about this cookie?

WEATHERALL: Well, there's no eggs in them. The only liquid is butter, pretty much butter.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: Awesome, it's my favorite liquid.

WEATHERALL: Yes, it's - it makes them yummy. And a light syrup also goes in there. But it's flour, it's oats, it's brown sugar, and these have coconut.


WEATHERALL: And you can put nuts in them.

MARTIN: Is that a tradition - is there one Anzac recipe that everyone uses?

WEATHERALL: I'd say it's pretty much this one. You know, there's variations as there always are, but this is the Anzac cookie. Well, they're called biscuits.

MARTIN: Oh, biscuits.

WEATHERALL: Biscuits, not cookies.

PESCA: In fact, I read that officially, because Anzac is the property of the government of Australia, you can't just slap the name on anything

WEATHERALL: That's right.

PESCA: But they do allow it to be slapped on Anzac biscuits, if you don't call them cookies.

WEATHERALL: Cookies, yes.


PESCA: Yeah.

MARTIN: If you call them cookies, you cannot call them Anzac cookies.

PESCA: You have to call them Anzac biscuits.

WEATHERALL: No, no. So they'll come over and slap our wrists.

MARTIN: Let's try them. Mmm.


MARTIN: This is such a good cookie, Manoli.

PESCA: Very good cookie.

WEATHERALL: Well, and it's also a very easy cookie to make. I understand we'll have the recipe on the...

MARTIN: Uh-huh. And we're going to post on our Web site.


MARTIN: So everyone can make their own version...


MARTIN: Of the Anzac cookie, and remember Gallipoli. And really...

PESCA: Uh-huh.

MARTIN: You know, anyone in the armed services. BPP technical director, Manoli Weatherall, native of Australia. Thank you for teaching us something about Anzac Day, and thank you for the cookies.

WEATHERALL: Ah, they're sweet as a biscuit.

MARTIN: Thank you, ma'am.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.