Thursday, 28 October 2021

"Vegemite" is trending on Twitter

this morning. I don't usually bother too much about what is "trending" unless it is an international emergency of some sort but....Vegemite?

I think it would be reasonable to say that the majority of my generation grew up eating Vegemite - and the generation after that too. It may still be the case that the majority of little Downunderites eat Vegemite.

For the uninitiated of you in Upover and elsewhere, Vegemite is a yeast extract. It looks a little like sticky black tar. Marmite is a sloppy relation to Vegemite - and no, it doesn't taste quite the same. 

Vegemite is what is put on toast at breakfast time and in sandwiches at lunch time.  You might add cheese or tomato or egg or even avocado but the Vegemite is an essential part of the sandwich. Add Vegemite and you don't need to add salt. 

There are differing views on how thick the Vegemite has to be spread. I prefer a mere hint myself - savour the flavour that way please. Middle Cat likes more on her toast than I do.  I have seen it spread so thickly it would be inedible to all but the most dedicated of "saltaholics".  

As kittens my mother would prepare us an after-school snack of a "weet-bix" (the sort of breakfast biscuit you usually pour milk on) and a smear of Vegemite. It was cheap, particularly as we did not have the added luxury of butter or margarine. We had already had a Vegemite sandwich for our school lunch. Peanut paste (now peanut butter) was something reserved for special occasions.  Unlike other children we never had jam or honey or banana sandwiches. 

We ate our boiled eggs with toast "soldiers" and the toast had Vegemite on it. If we were recovering from some illness it would be "dry" biscuits (the sort you use for cheese) with a hint of Vegemite. That was the closest my mother ever got to "invalid" food. Her religious beliefs precluded any sort of illness on our part. This sort of food was a convenience for her - rather than pander to us. 

When I went to live in London I thought I would try to do without Vegemite but discovered a friend had tucked a jar into my overnight bag - and that you could buy it in London anyway!

For the most part my American friends do not share my enthusiasm for Vegemite. I can understand that. They don't have the right sort of bread there. There is too much sugar in it. It is a different story in England. I converted quite a few from Marmite to Vegemite. They had less success in trying to convert me...even though you can buy Marmite here too.

Vegemite requires the right sort of bread, real bread. It is wonderful on toasted sour-dough too. 

Vegemite is part of the Downunder landscape. It is part of growing up. Despite all the concerns about "too much salt" in our diets it is one thing we are unlikely to stop eating. Anyway it has all those "B" vitamins in it - and aren't they supposed to be good for you?


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