Thursday, January 5, 2012

Nutella, Take Me Away!

Anyone of Australian descent should not read this post, or be forewarned that it contains blasphemy of the worst kind

I'm on a mission to try as many new foods as possible while we're here, so food will likely be a regular theme in posts this year.  Of course, no one can spend a year in Australia and not try the much-loved locally (but much dreaded for everyone else in the entire world) food item known as Vegemite, a dark brown food paste made from yeast extract.  I don't know about you, but when I hear the words 'yeast extract' I don't necessarily have an immediate yearning to pop a piece of bread in a toaster and get my spread on.

But as our Australian exchange partner Garry put it, we 'have a year to form a passionate, loving relationship with Vegemite', so we woke up on our first morning here and gave it our best effort...

Ummmm...right now I can honestly say that I'm definitely feeling passionate about Vegemite.  I have a passionate aversion to spreading yeast extract on my toast.  There; I said it (or whispered it, because I'm a teensy bit nervous that the Australian Embassy will dispatch someone to revoke my visa straight away).
1924 Vegemite ad
Check out the marketing strategy in this ad.  'MAKES ALL OTHER FOODS GOOD'--which fleshed out further clearly means it makes other foods good because anything else tastes wonderful in comparison.  Then after stating its benefits, the ad goes on to state, "It is nice, too."  It smacks of desperation, like a matchmaker trying to sell the positive qualities of someone in order to fix them up but that can only come up with the fact that they're 'nice'.  If the Vegemite Marketing Team can't do better than 'nice', it shows you what kind of taste we're dealing with here.
saw this online; thankfully, only a parody and not an actual product!
Here's an idea, Australia--why don't you make Nutella your national food icon?  It's also brown, and it's a food spread.  An easy transition.  It may not be as strong in the B vitamin department, but hazelnuts have some nutritional value, no?  And I have an inkling that it will be infinitely more popular for, say, Americans that are spending a year in Australia.  There's already a World Nutella Day (mark your calendars for February 5th; I know I am!), so think of the amazing festivals that Australia can hold in Nutella's honor, and the potential boon for Australia's economy.

See?'s not so big of a leap!   
Maybe I will begin petitioning my local representative here; considering Vegemite's 'flavor' (and I use the term loosely because when I hear the word 'flavor' I think of something with an appealing taste) it clearly should be high on the priority list for any elected official.  It's a matter of avoiding a national health crisis, really, or a national taste crisis at least.  It's akin to female genital mutilation or Chinese foot binding; these poor Australians have lived too long with this torture and it shouldn't go on any longer.  People will look back someday and wonder anyone would ever have thought it was a good idea, this yeast extract on toast business.


Whew!  Now that I've gotten all that off my chest, I am hereby announcing my commitment to having at least a quarter of a piece of toast with Vegemite each day to see if I can change this ol' palate of mine to at least some level of tolerance.  Feel free to offer tips on mustering up some sort of enjoyment out of this, or simply your condolences if you think there's no hope.  I'll keep you posted on my grim progress as the year goes on.


  1. Hello Annie
    Glad to see you finally made it 'down under'. The trick to Vegemite and toast is the spread it thinly on the buttered toast - it will frow on you I'm sure
    Take care

  2. I'm sure you knew I meant it would 'grow' on you lol

  3. No, I thought you meant 'frown', since that's what it has been doing upon my taste buds. Ha! Thanks for your advice; I will start very light and go from there.

  4. It kind of reminds me of an insect!! The "mite" part gets me!! Cooper missed Alex deeply yesterday!! I'm glad you're having so many great adventures.

  5. There is actually a you tube vegemite song!!! Sounds very unappetizing! Loved the face Alex made

  6. Annie

    As Gary's oldest nephew, now living in Connecticut and feeling glad to have my Vegemite supplies recently replenished by my mother-in-law (who is visiting us) I can tell you that Cathy is 100% correct. Vegemite is best spread thin on some really fresh crusty bread from your local bakery, or on toast (but go easy on the margarine otherwise it's hard to get it to spread nicely).

    Most Americans automatically try to spread it very thickly like they would for peanut butter, and then they're all screwing their faces up after the first bite. Most Aussies would do the same too ! So, follow my advice, and try it again, but remember, spread it THIN !!!

  7. Spreaded thin or any other way - NO Vegemite for me! Good luck with your daily tasting. I could never acquire a taste for Vegemite.