A Salty Tale

Several days ago, a conversation developed with 2 of my favourite bloggers … Heather from Master of Something I’m Yet to Discover and M-R at Rinnovata.  If you aren’t familiar with them, they both hail from Australia and we were discussing odd regional foods – in particular, the Canadian use of maple syrup in unlikely foods like bacon.

Of course, it was inevitable that vegemite would enter the conversation.

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Image from worldmarket.com

Many years ago I had visited Australia and refused to try it at the time.  It seemed totally wrong to eat something that was black in colour – not to mention Husband’s unfavourable review.

Gilles usually has an iron stomach and will eat virtually anything – unless it has coconut in it, but that’s a different story.  If he thought vegemite was disgusting, that was good enough for me.

Heather however, pointed out that one of my favourite foods – licorice – is black … so my prejudice against vegemite based primarily on its unappetizing colour seemed unfair. Since my theme for this year is *discovery*, it seemed only fair that I add vegemite to my list of *52 new things* to try.

Since our conversation, I’ve been unsuccessful in finding vegemite in Toronto (ok – I admit I didn’t try particularly hard), however my wise hiking partner Helen pointed out that Marmite is a UK version of the salty Australian paste.

Score – my local grocery store had Marmite.

M-R gave me very specific instructions on how to eat it … bread, butter, and a VERY THIN spread of vegemite.  I followed her instructions to the letter.

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Verdict? … not bad.  Nutella it is not, but palatable.

A single tasting hardly seemed ‘scientific’, so I needed to repeat the experiment a second morning and that’s when things got interesting.  I encouraged Gilles to try it too, however he chose to ignore M-R’s careful instructions and grabbed a spoon.

I regret that I didn’t have my camera to capture what happened next.

First there was a gagging noise, followed by a dash to the kitchen sink.  When spitting into the sink didn’t provide the relief he was hoping for, Gilles stuck his face under the faucet and attempted to wash out his mouth under the running water.

Conclusion? Deep belly laughs first thing in the morning is a perfect way to start a day.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
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110 Responses to A Salty Tale

  1. chattykerry says:

    I can just imagine this scenario but I thought it was your child not your husband! It took me a while to enjoy Marmite and now I miss it because I rarely eat bread.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Marmite vs Vegemite – Part 2 | My Life Lived Full

  3. mickscogs says:

    There is never a day when vegemite is not eaten in my household. We all grew up with it and are accustomed to its salty taste. Can’t overdo it, though – spread it thinly on warm toast, it’s a delight.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. LB says:

    What a delightful post!
    Thanks for the chuckle 🙂

    Like

  5. treerabold says:

    Joanne….I am going to trust your analysis! If for some odd reason a person actually asks me if I have tried Marmite or vegemite OR if I am offered one of the 2….I will simply reply, “I hear it is lovely spread on bread and butter!” At least that is what Joanne said! (do you think that will get me out of trying it?!

    Like

  6. I adore Marmite! I have it exactly as your friend suggested, but the bread is key as well. For me toasted sourdough is sublime and served alongside beautifully scrambled eggs with OJ and coffee–the contrast in flavor profiles is so profound it’s amazing. Or Black Russian bread is even better, as our bakery makes it with toasted onion. It truly is one of the most savory experiences.
    And I’m always tossing Marmite into soups and stews. Nutritional yeast is a fantastic source of protein and flavors dishes beautifully.
    Fingers crossed it grows on you. I can’t live without it.
    Cheers, Joanne!

    Like

  7. It’s true. Mine won’t even ask the GPS for directions.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ah. Men and directions. Vegemite is not for the feint of heart… Or the spoon.

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  9. ChristineR says:

    Great post, Joanne. My order of preference is Vegemite, Promite and Marmite. But you are right, it’s much easier to eat growing up with the taste. 😀

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  10. Himself won’t go anywhere without his Marmite. A jar of the yukky stuff made two circuits around the US with us. 😛

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  11. LOL! I hate that stuff 😉

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  12. Heyjude says:

    Oh no! Poor Gilles! Actually I’m not a fan of Marmite but I don’t mind Vegemite, it is much ‘gentler’ and it is meant to be spread v e e r r y thinly. It is especially good on whole-wheat toast, or even cheese sandwiches, but a little really does go a long way 😉

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    • joannesisco says:

      Don’t feel sorry for Gilles … he shouldn’t ignore instructions 😉

      … and combining it with cheese sounds amazing. Hmmm – might need to make grilled cheese sandwichs tomorrow!

      Like

  13. Su Leslie says:

    Haha; this is so funny. Vegemite / Marmite are classic foods here in New Zealand too, although our Marmite is quite different to the English product called Marmite. When we lived in England in the 1990s it was really common to ask expat friends who were returning to NZ for a hiloday to bring Kiwi Marmite back. It wasn’t possible to buy “our” Marmite in England, because it had the same name as the local product, and Kiwis are either Marmite OR Vegemite eaters – seldom both! When a jar arrived it was greeted like precious treasure. And when Antipodeans got together and there would inevitably be a Marmite V Vegemite debate, which could get really heated! I personally think that English Marmite tastes like Aussie Vegemite, so you’ve orobably tried something very close to the product M-R was taliking about. As for me; Kiwi Marmite Forever!!!!!

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  14. jannatwrites says:

    You are braver than I am… I don’t think I could try that. Too bad you didn’t have the camera, but I cracked up at your telling of what happened anyway. Poor guy! 🙂

    Like

  15. NancyTex says:

    I won some Vegemite as part of a blog giveaway early last year. (Thankfully there were other tasty treats in the prize package, because this stuff made me gag.)
    I see where a REALLY thin layer might make it less gag-inducing, but I have to ask… WHY ??? Why would anyone eat this? Is there some massively good health value that I’m not aware of?

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      I’ve looked at the nutritional facts and I can’t see why it would be so popular.

      I think it’s going to show its value in adding flavour to cooking. I’ll be experimenting with soups and stews.

      Like

    • ChristineR says:

      Wikipedia says … Vegemite is one of the richest sources of B vitamins, specifically thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid, but unlike Marmite and some other yeast extracts, it contains no vitamin B12…

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Now i have to try it. Nutella is terribly sweet for me. I hope Marmite or The Australian version is more savory? There is no description here to help me understand the flavor but you got me curious.

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  17. Hah! Men never listen, do they? Wish you would’ve had that GoPro!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Men at Work! Why do I only see typos after I hit “reply?” Sheesh.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I was just thinking of the Men at Word song too which was my introduction to Vegemite. I would try a very thin schmear of it….why not? Good on yer, mate, as M-R would say!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Joe says:

    You just cleared up a mystery for me Joanne 🙂 Ever since Colin Hay and his band Men at Work released the song “Down Under” many years ago I wondered what in the hell a Vegemite sandwich was, LOL. Great post.

    “Buying bread from a man in Brussels
    He was 6 foot 4 and full of muscles
    I said do you speak my language, brother ?
    He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich” – Colin Hay

    Like

  21. Sue Slaght says:

    Now that would have made a fantastic video! Loved your description. Poor Gilles.

    Like

  22. Sammy D. says:

    Do I remember correctly that there were commercials for vegemite when we were kids?!? It has always sounded unappealing. I’m sticking with Nutella. Poor Gilles should do likewise 😊

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    • joannesisco says:

      I don’t think Gilles will be trying something different in a while 😉

      Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Nutella. It’s the hazelnut … a tiny bit goes a long way 😉

      Like

  23. la_lasciata says:

    Je veux dire à ton mari cela: “Gilles, s’il te plaît, ne fais pas comme ça ! Pourquoi cette bétise ?
    Manges comme les Australiens mangent …” but I know he will merely look scornful.
    I’m quite pleased that you managed to get some down; but am obliged to say that even that much is, imo, laying it on a bit thick. [grin]

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Je suis heureux que je pouvais comprendre cela sans aide 😉
      I think he got what he deserved by ignoring instructions .. but it was a very entertaining breakfast 🙂

      You thought it was still too thick on my toast? Maybe years of eating spicy foods have killed my taste buds 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  24. kanzensakura says:

    Us southern folk eat odd things. Back in the day, vegemite was a take along hkming/camping staple. Thin thin layer on pita break with strong sweet coffee was an energy filled breakfast or eaten with lemonade made from ice cold mountain water was a quick lunch. No, it definitely isn’t ufella but thank heaven,it is not japanese natto or as Icall it, snotto.

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    • joannesisco says:

      Kanzen – I’ve read a bit about cooking with vegemite/marmite in things like soups and stews to add a rich umami flavour. Do you have any experience with that?
      That’s the direction I’m thinking of going next.

      Like

      • kanzensakura says:

        Down here, we have Kitchen Bouquet and in Asian food stores, you find Maggi. Both are yeast/soy based food additive. Vegemite is similar but used as a food. It can be added, like the KB or Maggi. All three products do add an “extra” taste and enrich flavors. They also add a brown color. So the two additives are used to impart color, flavor, richness. For a true umami flavor, I recommend dashi or dashi powder. This is a fish based broth/additive. You will find, especially Japanese food,often start with dashi. I don’t care for it becaise I don’t like fish. I actually prefer white miso paste. Again, a fermented bean product that tome, tastes better. I posted recipes for miso baked chicken, soup, and grilled corn on the cob, similar to Jaanese street food corn. I buy the paste in a tube and keep in the fridge. This to me is more umami and doesn’t add the dark color which one doen’t always want.

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        • joannesisco says:

          Thanks for the info. I’m familiar with Maggi and it never occurred to me that it might be in the same category as marmite or vegemite. I’ve used Maggi in cooking quite often.

          I’ve never heard of dashi, but I am with miso. I’ve had some difficulty finding miso paste so I’ll have to keep looking 🙂

          Like

          • kanzensakura says:

            Dashi is a fish broth made from dried bonnita flakes. You can buy the powder. It’s like chicken boullion but fish. Maggi is from fermented soy beans. Vegemite is from a yeast defivative…different but similar in process, flavor, purpose, vitamin content. Salty. Taking a big slurp of Maggi is lime eating a big spoon of vevemite – gag city. Miso paste is found in axian food stores, some groceries in the asian section, can be ordered online. I keep it on hand to use with lots of dishes, not tk mention “instant” miso soup. I make my own udon noodles and store in the freezer for soup and noodles dishes. Fettucine can be used, but different taste/texture.

            Like

            • joannesisco says:

              I’m glad to mentioned the miso soup. I’m trying a new recipe today that requires miso, but I couldn’t find any paste (I live in an Asian area, but I couldn’t find it in the local grocery store) … so I used the miso soup base instead. Based on the result I just popped in the oven, it looks like it will work 🙂

              Like

  25. Marmite is nothing like Vegemite! Vegemite is yummy!!! Marmite is just ok. Had vegemite on muffins for breaky this morning 🙂 full of vitamin B and if you youtube the vegemite ad from years gone by you’ll discover it puts a rose on every cheek 🙂 enjoyed your post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • joannesisco says:

      My quest isn’t over … I’m still on the search for vegemite because now I want to conduct my own blind taste test.
      I read a few reviews from google, but there didn’t seem to a consensus.
      This isn’t over! 😉

      Like

  26. I hate to tell you but Marmite is not the same as Vegemite. Similar but…different. Still, I am exceedingly proud of your adventurous spirit to give a close alternative a try. And Gilles’ action just made my blood pressure rise. This is why people spread the rumour that Vegemite is disgusting – because they expect to eat it like peanut butter or Nutella. If you don’t eat it the way it’s meant to be eaten, what do you expect? But then my blood pressure dropped when I started laughing at the consequences. Served him right. 😛 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Lol. I’m totally with your husband with this. The adverts for marmite used to have the “Love it or hate it” tagline. I have extreme hatred for the stuff. Yuk. Well done for giving it a go.

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  28. They say it is an Aussie acquired taste…There is nothing else yummier for growing Aussie kids… love it.

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  29. I’ve the association between these two, but the reviews had been negative. No, I’m not going to rush out to buy either, but now my curiosity is laid to rest. I don’t have to try it. Joanne has filed her report. Good enough for me. If I’m ever starving… 😀

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  30. Lynn says:

    Such a guy thing to do, isn’t it? So funny Joanne!

    Like

  31. de Wets Wild says:

    Marmite’s also a huge favourite in the de Wet household! Nutella has only ever made it’s way into our cupboard, and onto the breakfast table, once and will likely not be invited again…

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  32. Never tasted the stuff myself. That actually seems like the exact thing that would happen to me and my husband though, this based on the fact that he has a sensitive gag reflex and that the stuff begins with the letters vege.

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  33. Pixie says:

    oh my…I burst out laughing while reading this!!! I’ve never had Vegemite but lesson learned, when experiencing a new thing it’s good to take advice from someone else who knows better. Your description of his reaction reminds me of the videos of that lady trying the Cinnamon Challenge on YouTube. I wonder if a spoon full of Nutella would have helped…lol..great Post! Thanks for the chuckle. 😉

    Like

  34. Helen C says:

    Now I am curious about it. Maybe I will give it a try, too. It’s extremely healthy, right? 😉 Helen

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Good question Helen – I actually didn’t know. I’m used to seeing nutritional info on food packages and there wasn’t any on this one. Having now looked it up – it is a source of protein, but high in sodium.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Kristin says:

    Oh my!! Sounds like an adventurous morning for sure!! Way to get in there and try it!! XOXO

    Like

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