July 06, 2004


New Yorker Evan Izer writes:

After reading the Vegemite crisis thread , I got a powerful urge to try it. So I went to five different stores and came up with nothing but blank stares. I couldn't even find Marmite, which I vaguely remember my Kiwi studio mate eating years ago.

I am awestruck by your generous offer to spread the good news of Vegemite to the deprived of the world! If your offer is still open, I would love to take you up on it.

The offer remains open. Simply email me your postal address, and an SMU (Standard Mitey Unit) of Vegemite will be sent your way. There is one condition: a review must be supplied within 24 hours of delivery, otherwise Vegemite the Cat will smother you to death while you sleep.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 6, 2004 04:19 AM

Well I've been a marmite fan from a young age and after moving to Hong Kong I was subjected to the Vegimite ad jingle ad nauseam by Aussie schoolfriends.

"I'm a happy little vegimite as--" etc

Few things can beat a slice of toast with a scraping of Marmite.

Keep up the good work - spread the word and the vegetable yeast produce

Posted by: Johnlouis Swaine at July 6, 2004 at 04:55 AM

The link to Vegemite the Cat doesn't work

Posted by: Zev Sero at July 6, 2004 at 04:58 AM

Hey! You didn't say anything about Vegemite the Cat when you first made your offer!

Posted by: Rebecca at July 6, 2004 at 05:08 AM

I also didn't say anything about the 72% chance of paralysi ... er, I mean, about the delicious taste of Vegemite when combined with butter!


Posted by: tim at July 6, 2004 at 05:16 AM

I once had the misfortune of being stuck in a third-world hellhole with a beautiful young Aussie woman. All we had was Vegamite, peanut butter, and saltine crackers.

For those of you who have not tried it, Vegamite smells like vomit and tastes like tar, after the tar has been vomited up. And the Aussie wouldn't eat the peanut butter, claiming it "tasted off"!

Posted by: Bob at July 6, 2004 at 05:29 AM

Out here on the wet coast (Seattle area) Pier One Imports stocks both Vegemite and Marmite. Don't know if the Pier 1 empire extends to the east, though.

Just for info, how are you supposed to eat this stuff, anyway. On toast with butter is it? In what concentration?

Posted by: Man Mountain Molehill at July 6, 2004 at 06:54 AM

I had the dual pleasure of once dating a woman from SA (Adelaide) and having toast with Vegemite.

Whereas the former was the kind of rare pleasure all Yanks should have the good fortune of having, the latter was most certainly an acquired taste.

As an added bonus I learned that you could drink hot tea (not iced tea) to cool yourself in the midst of Summer's heat. Who knew?

Yes, I miss her. All you lucky blokes down under should thank the Almighty for making you an Aussie.

Posted by: MeTooThen at July 6, 2004 at 07:55 AM

Vegemite is very much of the "less is more" school. It is *not* to be spread thickly, as you would with peanut butter. Thickly spread vegemite would taste...well, I can't even begin to think of the words.

A very light scraping of vegemite over buttered toast though is excellent. Also very nice is grilled with cheese.

One of the few childhood meals I still enjoy today.

Ah, vegemite, the Laphroiag of condiments...

Posted by: JDM at July 6, 2004 at 09:41 AM

All I can say is that the ingredients would be put to far better use as beer. If you didn't grow up with it, you won't like it.

Posted by: Tommy Shanks at July 6, 2004 at 10:16 AM

Yes, there's a problem with the picture link. It doesn't work if you click on it - it takes you to the wrong page.
But if you hover over the image with your mouse and read the text at the bottom of the screen, you get the right URL code, which you can type in and it will take you to the image.
WTF if that all about ???

Posted by: TimT at July 6, 2004 at 10:33 AM

Be careful Tim, you will be accused of 'cultural imperialism' when the left find out, mark my words.

Posted by: nic at July 6, 2004 at 10:36 AM

New Yorkers should never go without their Vegemite. It just wouldn't be right.
There are a few places to get it here... at Zabar's on the Upper West Side, and Myers of Keswick on Hudson St in the West Village. There are also a few restaurants where it can be savored in Nolita (Ruby's).
I personally claim 4 American converts. One more and I'll be an ace.

Posted by: bw at July 6, 2004 at 11:26 AM

Vegemite doesn't taste like Marmite and Promite. I like Vegemite but not Marmite and Promite. I always thought it was a by-product of beermaking!!

Posted by: kae at July 6, 2004 at 12:04 PM

WTF if that all about ???

Tim's link is correct, but Angelfire doesn't allow hot-linking of image files on their servers. You need to have an Angelfire page as the referrer (the previously visited page) to be allowed to see the image.

Of course, that's all rather silly, as any Angelfire page will do...you can even use the error page as the referrer (i.e. click on Tim's link, receive the error, then type/paste the correct URL to see the image).

Posted by: PW at July 6, 2004 at 12:04 PM

Like virtually else, Vegemite is available over the Internet. Here's a vendor I found in less than a minute.

Somehow, I don't see it ever catching on in the U.S.

Posted by: Bruce Rheinstein at July 6, 2004 at 12:49 PM

baaahahaha. ahh vegemite, god i love it. as much as i disagree with tim's politics i couldnt agree more that vegemite is SUCH a huge part of being australian. yes, it IS a birthright, damn straight. the great uniter. no matter who you are, liberal voter, labor voter, intensively conservative, neo-leninist, if you're an aussie, you love the stuff, especially because everyone else in the world hates it. brothers, sisters, come together.

Posted by: thorn at July 6, 2004 at 02:17 PM

I prefer marmite, but vegemite is okay too.

Ahem hem.

We're happy little vegemites as bright as bright can be
We all enjoy our vegemite for breakfast, lunch, and tea
Our mother says we're growing stronger every single week
Because we love our vegemite
We all adore our vegemite
It puts a rose in every cheeeek!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at July 6, 2004 at 02:49 PM

We'd better stop there because the next thing you'll know it will be the Aeroplane Jelly song and after that it's downhill all the way...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at July 6, 2004 at 02:52 PM

I like Aeroplane jelly,
Aeroplane jelly for me.
I like it for dinner,
I like it for tea,
a little each day is a good recipe.
I like Aeroplane jelly,
Aeroplane jelly for me.

What the heck, Pixy! Shame they aren't Australian owned any more.

Posted by: kae at July 6, 2004 at 04:32 PM

I like Aeroplane Jelly,
Aeroplane Jelly For Me!
I Like it for Dinner,
I Like it for Tea,
A little each day
is a good recipe!
The quality's high as the
name will imply
It's made from real fruit,
One more good reason why,
I like Aeroplane Jelly,
Aeroplane Jelly for Me!"

For Americans, Jelly => Jello, what you call Jelly, we call Jam. Hence our confusion about 'peanut butter and jelly sandwiches'.
Oh yes, and Dinner => Lunch, Tea => Dinner.

Now if someone can please explain about Armoured Hot Dogs... or worse, Pork Brains In Milk Gravy....

Vegemite is wonderful stuff, with a thousand uses, some of them involving eating it.

By the way, the best method of figuring out your dosage of Vegemite is to do it in stages, using Homeopathic amounts.

Prepare a slice of toast, and butter it. Cut it into 4 quarters.

The first should be waved once (not twice) over an opened bottle of Vegemite. This is the maximum dose recommended for most Europeans.

On the second, put an amount about the size of a match-head on a knife. Now scrape it off the knife. Rub the knife once, gently, over the toast. This is the maximum dose recommended for most Americans, other than those who like Lutefisk.

On the third, again use about the same amount as a match-head, and gingerly dab it once on the toast. Scrape the rest off the knife, and smear the dab over the rest of the toast. You should, just, be able to taste it. Be warned, you may have an urge to start saying "G'day!" and "Struth" shortly thereafter. This is the dose recommended for those who are Poms, or who have had their taste buds previously burnt out by Marmite, Promite or Bovril.

The fourth should only be attempted if you like Lutefisk, or live south of the Equator. Use TWO match-heads worth on a knife, slather it over the toast so there is a definite colour change, with parts that look as if they've been dotted with axle-grease. Hmmmm... Vegemite....

Posted by: Alan E Brain at July 6, 2004 at 04:42 PM

Oh yes, it's even better than Shoyu (Soy sauce) on rice and sushi. Use about the same amounts of Wasabi and Vegemite.

Posted by: Alan E Brain at July 6, 2004 at 04:46 PM

Evan and BW, I'm 90% certain that Vegemite is also available at Fairway on Broadway and 74th.

It is ironic that Australians eat Vegemite by the pound, and I have yet to meet one native who is not disgusted by the thought of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (And yes, I know that "jelly" here is the American "Jello". I can call it a peanut butter and jam sandwich and it still turns most Aussie stomachs. Weird.)

Posted by: Sasha Castel at July 6, 2004 at 08:36 PM

Alan: I only know about Armor hot dogs, which is just a brand name of the company that makes them. I don't know anything about pork brains in milk gravy and I don't want to know.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 6, 2004 at 08:38 PM

What is it about the PB&J that bothers the Aussies? I'm assuming that it's the peanut butter, as jam isn't really that offensive.

Perhaps they're disturbed by the fact that peanut butter isn't actually the waste product of some random industrial process? Or maybe it's that the thought of the initial discovery of peanut butter isn't nearly as mindbending as that of Vegemite? Hey, look! Random sludge came out of our brewing process! Perhaps we should eat it!

Posted by: Matt at July 6, 2004 at 10:41 PM

Vegemite is great stuff. Here (SF bay area) it's available at both Pier 1 and Cost Plus.

Never had the pork brains, but scrambled eggs with venison brains is great.

Posted by: Ken Summers at July 6, 2004 at 11:01 PM

I love Australia, honestly, I went for the first time last year, and I thought the country was beautiful, there was great food, wonderful people, etc., BUT, I was baffled when I tried Vegemite. I expect something so horrible tasting from the English, but you Australians? You have great food there. Why would you cling on to a product that is so British Isles? Don't get me wrong, I like the British, but nobody with tastebuds says they have edible food (I know, they have some good chefs in London now, but it took 2000 years to get them). Vegemite looks like something that oozes out of an old car engine and probably tastes as bad (tried Vegemite, didn't try engine goo).


Posted by: Ann at July 6, 2004 at 11:34 PM

As has been explained earlier, Angelfire tries to prevent people from pulling pictures off of their servers. What they are doing is looking for the "referrer" property on the HTTP request, if not an Angelfire site or blank they redirect to thier "Can't Do That" image. Here's the URL to Vegemite the Cat. http://www.angelfire.com/on3/dontknow/vegemite.jpg

Copy it and paste into your browser.

Posted by: tst at July 7, 2004 at 03:48 AM

Well, now I'm intrigued enough to ask Tim for a packet of the stuff. There are many acquired tastes in life -- cheap scotch and sashimi, for example -- and if you can stomach tsipouro, well, anything is possible.

Besides, you lot make it sound so... so... YUMMY.

Posted by: Paul H at July 7, 2004 at 11:45 AM