Why Paul Kelly’s “How To Make Sauce” Is On Everyone’s Minds Today


It’s gravy day, baby!

It looks delicious, but I’m still not up to it.

Once a year, on December 21, Australians come together to celebrate #GravyDay. It bears the name of the Paul Kelly tube in 1996, How to make gravy and falls on the 21st because it is the date mentioned at the beginning of the song. At this point, Gravy Day is arguably bigger than Christmas Day.

When did #GravyDay become a thing?

It’s hard to say. The song was released in 1996 and has steadily built up an following over the years. It was nominated for Song of the Year at the 1997 ARIA Awards, but lost to Savage Garden’s Really Madly Deeply.

A very good trail too.

Okay. Typically, in non-COVID time, Kelly embarks on a “Making Gravy” Christmas tour that has helped cement Gravy Day’s place on the national calendar.

How do people celebrate this naughty party?

Well everyone is blowing up How to make gravy and bombard social media with their love for the song (#GravyDay is trending on Twitter). There are plenty of sauce memes. Some people even recreate the recipe mentioned in the song.

What exactly does this imply?

You just add flour, salt, a little red wine. And don’t forget a spoonful of tomato sauce.

Urgh, tomato sauce! Why?

For the sweetness and that extra pizzazz. Obviously.

There are many popular Christmas pieces. What about this song?


It perfectly captures the chaos of an Australian Christmas day, all that heat, tension and drunken dance. Plus, it features a bunch of characters who feel like they’re people we all know.

Oh yeah, like who?

Well I guess you got the brethren coming down from Queensland. And Stella comes from the coast.

With Omicron taking off? They better hurry.

Then there are Angus, Frank and Dolly. Plus, Mary’s smelly new boyfriend, as well as Roger. The list goes on.

To the right. And I guess someone, at some point, ends up making gravy?

Normally, this work belongs to Joe, our narrator, but he is in jail. It’s also why the song is so heartbreaking. All Joe wants to do is come home for Christmas, see his kids, and make (a lot) of sauce.

So this much-loved track is actually about a criminal who likes to make gravy?

Rather. But the general message of being separated from family on Christmas has really struck a chord in recent years. We’re all incarcerated Joe.

Indeed, and how are you going to celebrate Gravy Day?

I’ll probably put Junior Murvin on and push the tables.

None of this means anything to me. The sauce is yum, but there are sauces more worthy of a national holiday.

Like what?

Shall I take a tour of SoyDay, Worcestershire Week?

This conversation is over.

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