Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Vegemite: or, the Australian national identity is black, sticky, and kind of smells like yeast...

April A-Z Topic:  Vegemite

Okay, in this one I'm going to talk about something very serious, an issue which is close to the hearts of all Australians. We live it, breathe it, pass it on to our children, and marvel at the fact that people from other countries just can't get it.

 I'm talking about Vegemite Zen, people.

Yes, Vegemite, that nasty looking black spread that we Aussies are so fond of spreading on our toast. You see, for many years we've believed that the rest of the world were insane. How could they not love Vegemite? It was unthinkable, unfathomable and unforgivable.

But I was watching a TV show the other day (ah, good old TV, is there anything you can't teach us), and it suddenly all became clear.  I don't know why I didn't think of it before, it's so obvious. Vegemite isn't just a tradition, or a taste preference.

 It's a state of being.

We train our children to eat Vegemite. Every mother has an amusing "The first time my child ate Vegemite" story to tell. It's gooey, black, and really not that nice tasting, but it's part of our national psyche. We eat it because we can't comprehend not eating it. Nothing else fills the void.

 Peanut butter? Bah! Jam? Forsooth! There is no substitute for Vegemite. This is Vegemite Zen.

So, the next time you see an Australian and they offer you some Vegemite, please be careful about how you reply. The usual response we get goes something like "Eww, I don't want any of that stuff. It's disgusting." Please remember, this is a national state of being your insulting. To insult Vegemite is to insult all Australians everywhere. Promote world unity, just try the Vegemite.

Who knows, you might even become enlightened and find yourself liking it.

96 comments:

  1. It's interesting to learn that a product that is part of your national being is one I'd never even heard of.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

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    1. Really? I thought most people had at least heard of it!

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  2. Like Joyce, I've never heard of this. Now I'm curious.

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    1. I can't believe there are people who haven't heard of Vegemite! I thought we yammered on about it enough that everyone had heard of it by now.

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    2. Did y'all not listen to Men at Work? That's how I learned about Vegemite. Then, of course, TV. I've not tried it but I'd totally be game.

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  3. I dunno if we have it. We have Marmite. I hate it most of the time.

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    1. They're similar, but not the same. I've tried marmite and I didn't like it.

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  4. I love Vegemite. Mr Fascinata only eats Promite. I can't stand it. Vegemite does divide the masses.

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    1. I will admit, it does look pretty awful. Taste's great though!

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    2. It's the slab of pure butter that goes with the Vegemite that makes it so good. White bread, Sao's or Peak Freens only!
      Love it! I'm a good Aussie girl!

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  6. Oh gosh now we mustn't compare our Vegemite to Marmite or Promite - a bit like comparing apples to oranges hey?
    Long live Vegemite - on fresh, white, fluffy, unhealthy, thick slice of bread with REAL butter and smears of the black stuff. -drool-
    (oh dear not even Australian owned anymore :( :(

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    1. I agree, trying to compare the different 'mites' is impossible.

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  7. This is my first time to hear (read?) about this. I wanna have a taste! I'll go ask my friend who's now in Sydney if he's tried this and what his thoughts are about it. Haha.

    Deecoded

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    1. You should definitely ask, if he's staying in Australia then someone will have offered it to him by now.

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  8. Never tried it, but thanks for the warning about how to turn it down.

    Iguess I shouldn't judge though, My breakfast fav is Scrapple!

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    1. I'm not sure what Scrapple is.

      *google break*

      Ah! I see. Actually, that sounds quite nice. I imagine with the right seasoning it'd be very tasty.

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  9. Great... Now I gotta try it!

    Hugs!

    Valerie

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  10. Love my Vegemite! People think I am crazy when I tell them that I dissolve a teaspoon in hot water, with a little pepper and drink it. I think it tastes delicious.....and it also cures a hangover.

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    1. I know other people who swear by "Vegemite Tea" too.

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  11. Ironically I'm eating a piece of vegemite toast while I read this. I love it, nothing could ever take its place, plus it is the single food item that my other half won't steal when I'm not looking at my plate!

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    1. LOL! I think vegemite toast is the best breakfast food in the world ... well, except for has browns, obviously.

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  12. I would never be so crass as to turn down Vegemite or Marmite...as long as you don't turn down my Haggis. =D

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    1. I would never turn down haggis ... I'd just secretly dispose of it in my handbag ;P

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  13. I'd never heard of it, but I'd give it a try - even though it doesn't sound appetizing.

    When I saw the word "Vegemite," I thought about Lucille Ball's Vitametavegamin commercial. Did you see that episode? It was hilarious.

    xoRobyn

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  14. Ok, don't judge me--the crazy American--but I think I may be Australian. I love Vegemite!! :) Let's have toast! ;)

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    1. Yay, a convert! Five more and I get a free toaster!

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  15. I love Vegemite on toast, I love reading the other comments, am in awe that so many of your followers haven't heard of it. xxx

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    1. I'm surprised by that too. I can't believe there are people who haven't heard us preaching about the joys of Vegemite yet!

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  16. Hi wasn't sure you'd be able to read my reply to your comment on my blog so I'll say it here - I also found out about Vincent on Doctor Who! Cried so much over that episode. That's what piqued my interest and made me search for the film.

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    1. That was such a great episode, especially that bit at the end where they took him to the future to show him how much everyone loved his work.

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  17. Yeah I'm still not eating it. I will politely push it around my plate as I gorge myself with the rest of my meal but I trust the tennis players who were suckered into eating some at the Australian Open that it really doesn't taste good. It's rude to make the oh heavens what did you feed me face at the table so I'll just accept and avoid.

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    1. LOL! I suppose it's unfair of us to expect novices to like it first go. We usually try it for the first time when we're babies, so we never know a time when we don't eat it.

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  18. I've wanted to try Vegemite since I first heard Land Down Under way back in the 80s. I wanted to know why people would just hand out Vegemite sandwiches to total strangers. II also imagined that Vegemite might have been a code word for dingo and kangaroo ground meat, so clearly I was uninformed. If I had know Vegemite was spreadable that might have changed a great many assumptions I had about that song!

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    1. LOL! I've never thought about it like that before! Maybe we should start a rumour that the Vegemite is a small marsupial that's kind of a cross between an echidna and a wallaby.

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    2. AHA!! I knew I had heard of it before...that is where. I loved that song, and sang Vegemite sandwich loud and proud, but had no idea what it was. Thank you HeatherL for clearing that up for me!

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  19. Is it the same as Branston Pickle? I heard they're similar.

    In the meantime, I'll stick with butter.

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  20. No body loves Vegemite like Aussies and Kitties.

    I actually gave it to my friend when she was out from America, I put it on a Sao (a must when having Vegemite, especially for the first time) with a generous amount of margerine and a very delicate amount of Vegemite. She LOVED it and so I kept feeding her Saos with slightly higher levels of Vegemite each time and now she LOVES it and took some back with her to America :)

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    1. That's true, cats love vegemite. My cat will beg me for a piece when I'm eating vegemite toast.

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  21. You pulled out a forsooth!

    Do parents tell their young they need to eat it in order to put hair on their chests to battle all of the deadly animals roaming around Australia? I can't imagine any other way of convincing a child to eat it.

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    1. Just be glad I didn't break out the "Egads and gadzooks!"

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  22. Be not so patriotic regarding the Vegemite, for, I'd hate to do this, but it is manufactured by Kraft Foods Inc., a US company. But perhaps this is just a solidification of our countries union into Ameristralia: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Ameristralia&defid=7029729

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  23. I caught a bit of a TV show last week with Cooper Anderson trying Vegemite and he was all but gagging...which got my curiosity up. I haven't ever tried it so who knows if I would like it or not. Cooper described it as sour black tar so I didn't run right out to try to purchase some.

    It definitely sounds like an acquired taste.

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    1. LOL! Sour black tar? Actually, that's pretty accurate.

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  24. I've heard of this for years and have looked in many stores as I've traveled around the US and haven't found it yet. I might have to remember to check "World Market" to see if they carry it (they are the only place I can find clotted cream).

    One of these days I WILL try it! Even if I have to visit Australia...hm...that sounds like a better plan! ;)

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    1. If you get the chance to try it, just remember to spread it thinly. You shouldn't be able to write in it with your finger once it's on the toast!

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  25. could be even worse, have you ever heard of pork rinds? It's whats between the pig skin and the meat. Southerns(in the USA) deep fry it and you can buy it in the stores next to potato chips. It looks as nasty as it sounds. Oh, and it's cover in salt.

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    1. Oh yeah, I've had pork rinds before. The snack machine downstairs at work sells them. Disgusting!

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  26. As an American, I don't have access to vegemite. At least I don't think I do. No, I just have Nutella, because if there's something we all should be having for breakfast, it's sugary sweet chocolate frosting smothered on a piece of bread.

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    1. Hey, you won't get any arguments from me! Nutella is an awesome, awesome invention that we should all thank the deity of our choice for each day.

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  27. Noooooooooooo, not the vegemite stuff. Struth....

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  28. I've never tried it! What does it taste like?

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    1. It's very, very salty, and I've heard people say it tastes like yeast, beer, and meat juice. I just think it tastes like Vegemite :D

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  29. I feel this way when I ask people to try a fresh cheese curd from the great US state of Wisconsin. We eat cheese like it's going out of style, and nothing beats a fresh cheese curd (the cheese part of milk and whey before they're smooshed into a brick or wheel shape). Most proper people from Wisconsin will cheerfully tell you "if they're really fresh, they SQUEAK when you chew them!" and apparently that's an off-putting thing to say to a cheese-novice.

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    1. LOL! Squeaky cheese? I think I'd probably find that to be a bit off putting too.

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  30. I've tried it! And honestly, it wasn't as awful as I thought it was going to be...But I think it might have gone much better for me and my taste buds if I didn't slather a two inch thick slab of it on my bread. After, I found out that my Australian "friend" that dared me to try it, used a much more sparing amount when eating it himself!

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    1. LOL! Yeah, that's always whats happens the first time.

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  31. I promise I will never insult an Aussie who offers me the yucky sounding, Vegemite. Your post reminds me of some of the nasty tasting Jewish food that we eat, because it is our culture. Interesting post and I love learning new things. I need to spread my wings and try something other than peanut butter, but I am a PB addict. I am a new follower from the challenge. I am number 528 on the list.

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    1. It's funny, but I never ate peanut butter as a kid. It was always Vegemite sandwiches.

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  32. I'd probably try it one time just to see if I like it or if it is tolerable. I sometimes think eww is our first reaction to things that aren't pleasing to the eye or our taste buds-hahaha, but yes I suppose we should control our reactions so as not to offend! Putting ourselves in the other persons place might help!

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    1. If I'm serious about it, I can't really take offense to people pulling funny faces when they try it. I know it comes as a shock the first time.

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  33. Hi Kellie .. I'll do marmite everyday of the week .. it is so delicious - Vegemite is slightly different .. but such a useful jar to have around ..

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. It's a good thing to have around, and it lasts forever!

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  34. I would try it. And, not only that; I would keep an open mind. If I hated it, I would lie!

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  35. I never heard of this spread, but I would try it in a minute.

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  36. I actually tried this when I was in high school. We had an exchange student from Australia, and her parents sent her care packages because back the 80s you could not get Vegemite at a grocery store in Iowa. I actually didn't mind it, but then I really like yeasty things. I'd be curious to try it again as an adult.

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  37. Okay, next shopping day, I'm gonna purchase me a jar of vegemite. If I don't like it, be prepared to receive some death threats. :)

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  38. Haven't had that salty brown shit since I was a kid. Marmite is less salty and is just as good.

    So for everyone who keeps banging on about all Aussies eat Vegemite, the fuck we do!

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    1. LOL! Shush, we're trying to rope the Americans in here!

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  39. Sooo I'm getting the sense that Vegemite isn't made from vegetables... yeasty...is it a beer spread? Ground up Vegemites? Is there such an animal? Sweet god it had better not be insects. You know, I really don't feel like Googling this right now.

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    1. Oh yes, Vegemite is a paste made from eucalyptus leaves, witchetty grubs, and possums ;P

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  40. I can't hear the word vegemite without thinking of Aussies. I can't remember if I've ever tried it, but I have been around it. :)

    Have fun with the rest of a-z.

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    1. I think we should have it on our national flag :D

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    2. Jessica, believe me, you'd remember if you had it. It's foul!

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  41. I always find it fascinating how some foods are popular only in certain places. I heard an interview on the radio recently about a guy who traveled around to different countries and visietd their grocery stores. Apparently in Japan (I think) Kit Kat candy bars come in all different flavors whereas in the US, you can only get original and sometimes white or dark. I guess I am just boring or just really love Kit Kats that I feel like I am missing out on all those flavors abroad!!!

    I never heard of Vegemite until Men at Work talked about it in their song that was popular when I was in 6th grade.

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    1. It's been around a lot longer than that, but that's the first time it ever got mentioned in something international, I think.

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  42. Ah, remembering when i finally found out what kind of sandwich men at Work were singing about!

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  43. I still haven't tried it! I was on a hunt for it, but didn't look hard enough. Someone told me of a local store they think carries it, so I have to remember to go buy some! I have a weird feeling that I'll actually like it :)

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  44. Vegemite is like all great things in life (such as Scotch, asparagus, and stinky cheese), you have to acquire a taste for it. And then, once you put in a little time and dedication, wow.

    I went on a Vegemite mission while I was living in Sydney ages ago and, while it was rough at first, by about week 3 I had a full blown addiction and was eating it on my toast every morning.

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  45. We all love Vegemite but that's not surprising as we're Australian!

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  46. reading vegemite i thought it is marmite but i guess this is different...i will ask my friend to bring some back form australia he is visiting his family..hoho

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  47. I remember when we first came to New Zealand. Kiwis feel the same about Maramite and we enthusiastically tried this traditional treat and nearly choked.

    Rhonda @Laugh Quotes

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  48. A 5th generation Aussie and still I hate Vegemite ;-) do I need therapy or my DNA checked do you think?

    Pauleen at Tropical Territory
    A to Z 2013

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