Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I consider it something of a betrayal. Don't ask me why.

Most Americans' exposure to vegemite extends no further than having a vague recollection of that Men At Work song that was big sometime around when I was in 9th grade. We sang along to the "she just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich" line, thinking it sounded kind of funny, but having no idea what the hell a vegemite sandwich actually is.

To quote Inigo, "let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up."

Vegemite is a brown paste that is made from yeast extract. I'm not quite sure who first had the idea to spread it on bread or crackers, but it's huge in Australia, something of a cultural icon.

It is unquestionably an acquired taste, i.e., if you don't acquire it before you're old enough to know better, you will never, ever think it tastes good.

I first tasted vegemite when my mom and I took a trip to Australia back in 2001, while she was stationed in Papua New Guinea. With a "when in Rome" attitude, one morning I gamely spread it on my breakfast toast.

To say it tastes like salty toe-jam would be overly generous. (And don't ask me how I know what toe-jam tastes like. Some things you can just imagine, OK?)

But, notwithstanding my distaste for the stuff, I abhor people who feel the need to comment negatively on what other people eat. There's nothing ruder than when someone takes a bite of something they love, only to have someone else say, "Eeeeew! How can you put that in your mouth?? That's DISGUSTING!"

So, when I married an Aussie, I made a point of scouring the various grocery stores in Atlanta until I found one that sold vegemite, so that I could keep Jason supplied with the stuff of his homeland. When he was working on a job that required him to get up crazy early and leave the house by 5 a.m., I got up with him and while he was showering and dressing, made him coffee and vegemite toast to take in the car.

Jason has looked forward to the day when he could introduce Zeke to vegemite. I wrinkled my note at the thought of it, but couldn't voice any legitimate objections. It's perfectly healthy stuff, loaded with B vitamins. But still, in my mind, Zeke is American. Self-respecting Americans don't eat vegemite.

Until now.

This morning before school, I was making some cinnamon toast for Zeke's breakfast. Jason said, "I think I'll let him try some vegemite toast." So I cut the piece of toasted bread in half. Jason spread his side with butter and vegemite, and I spread my side with butter and cinnamon sugar.

Zeke chowed down on all of it, the little freak.


  1. Anonymous5:46 PM

    People who make negative comments like that tend to "eat" with their eyes. I have to admit that I am one of those people who "eye eat" but I don't saying anything about someone else who may find tasty something I think LOOKS nasty.

    I've never heard of the stuff. The name only sounds like some vegetable bi-product created by or from termites. Is that rude? Sorry.

    But it's like you said...Zeke doesn't know what he eating. As far as he's concerned, his daddy likes it so he must like it, too!

    Hope you guys had a good turkey day!


  2. Schwabber6:58 PM

    Are you sure he's not rubbing it on his balls (Zeke, not Jason)? Might be the source of his yeast infection!

  3. Sherice -- back at ya, babe. Hope your T'giving was wonderful.

    Schwab -- bwahahahahaha! That's some funny shit, yo.

  4. we have marmite in the pantry and have our friends bring us vegemite from down under when they visit, it's awesome stuff!

  5. I love that picture of Zeke! He's just practicing diplomacy.

  6. Sophie - I didn't think about Canadians being into vegemite or marmite, but it makes sense. I admire the fortitude of your taste buds.

    DCup - he's a very accommodating kid. Just trying to keep his daddy happy.