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04-23-1999, 05:53 PM
Okay, so what's up with this stuff?

I honeymooned in Fiji. At the resort, the breakfast bar had toast, butter, jam, and such, and little packets of Vegemite. I thought, of course! We're in the neighborhood of Australia and New Zealand, so naturally Fijian establishments will cater to the visitors they get most frequently, Aussies and Kiwis included.

So I said, neat, I gotta try it. Vegemite, y'know, just ain't something you get in my neck of the States, or anywhere in the US, really, without looking really hard. So I watched a fellow diner, then, following their lead, grabbed a Vegemite packet and a slice of bread, spread it thin (no sense being too gung-ho, y'know), and bit in.

It was like licking a dog's salty asshole.

What on earth is the attraction? Is it eaten down under just to prove how tough they are? I can't imagine anyone wanting to taste it a second time.

Now, I know about ethnocentrism, and culturally specific foodstuffs. The escargot and ketchup-on-pancakes threads were an excellent illustration of that concept. But I'm generally pretty adventurous, and will try just about anything once -- and I usually find things to be more than palatable, if not in fact pretty darn good most of the time.

And yet, having a mouthful of vegemite made me think of margarine with month-old diaper filling stirred in.

What, if you please, is the deal?

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"I'm not an actor, but I play one on TV."

04-23-1999, 06:04 PM
Being of British descent, I'm more familiar with Marmite, which is like vegemite but has some beef extract in it, I think. Both contain yeast. (Vegemite lovers may contradict me, but I recall vegemite being very much like marmite).

The trick is to use it very, very, very sparingly. Not spread thin like you would spread butter thin, but about 1/10 of that. Then it's tasty. I love marmite.

It's best with something slightly sweet. There's really nothing better than a digestive biscuit with a bit of butter and a hint of marmite on it.

Mmmm... I'm getting all hungry.

04-23-1999, 06:10 PM
Vegemite is one of those holdovers from the Victorian/Edwardian concept of bad-tasting things that "are good for you," like cod liver oil, brussel sprouts, castor oil, Lydia Pinkham's Compound and (as Bart Simpson reminds us,) "don't forget the Smeckler's Powder."

Marmite, a close cousin of vegemite, is a derivative of yeast (possibly the scum they scrape out of the stygian bilge of the ship which carried the cargo from the yeast mines of Uhlan Bator, or wherever), and is also profoundly foul. A year or so ago, I was very, very ill for about 7 days, and had had nothing save water. My (Scots) mother, who has no excuse, as she spent 43 years as a Registered Nurse, brought over a jar of Marmite, and told me to put a teaspoon of the goo into a cup of boiling water.

To paraphrase Reginald Perrin, I have never actually tasted the inside of a Turkish wrester's jockstrap after a particularly humid afternoon in Constantinople, and brother, I don't have to.

Our grandparents were made of strong stuff, or were just bloody fools.

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"A friend will help you move house. A best friend will help you move a body."--Alexi Sayle

04-23-1999, 06:20 PM
Ew, marmite in water? That's disgusting.

You all are just EATING IT WRONG!!!! It goes on TOAST!!! (duh, it's British)

or digestive biscuits...

Long live the Marmite!!!!

04-23-1999, 06:43 PM
Can somebody explain to this yank what a "digestive biscuit" is?

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While the early bird may get the worm, it's the second mouse that gets the cheese.

04-23-1999, 07:06 PM
Dear gods, you all don't know what digestive biscuits are?? (consults with coworkers)

Umm... do you have Dad's Digestive Cookies there? Otherwise I have no way of explaining them. Round, slightly sweet, good with tea, kinda medium brown, sort of whole-wheat/oaty tasting.

04-23-1999, 07:21 PM
I knew the whole biscuit/cookie thing between British/English and American/English, but what makes them "digestive" Bran?

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While the early bird may get the worm, it's the second mouse that gets the cheese.

04-23-1999, 07:21 PM
I think they're called "crackers" here.

04-23-1999, 07:44 PM
The closest thing we Yanks have to digestive biscuits is graham crackers. They're quite close, actually, but digestives are a bit mealier (in a good way), a bit sweeter, and the bran is a bit more pronounced. Look in the "gourmet" cookie section at your grocery store, you'll likely see Carr's "HomeWheat" Biscuits. If you find the ones that are dipped in chocolate, buy all of them and mail them to me. :)

As for the name, digestive biscuits, I can only attribute it to the British habit of giving silly names to just about everything.

04-23-1999, 08:42 PM
Hmm. Whenever someone says it 'tastes like cardboard,' I always say, 'so you've tasted cardboard?'

04-24-1999, 01:12 PM
- - - I once went to a GNC and bought five different brands of "energy bars" to see what they tasted like. All of them looked, felt and tasted like cardboard soaked in fruit juice. - MC

04-26-1999, 06:27 AM
are dogs' assholes typically salty?
too bad Devine is dead, could have asked him/her...

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booga@superbooga.com
http://superbooga.com

04-26-1999, 08:00 AM
Hey, a little Veg' is alright. My Aussie flatmate turned me on to it. Used sparingly on sandwiches or toast it's great stuff.

Use too much and you'll think it tastes like a salty dogs...umm never mind

04-27-1999, 04:27 PM
lumbering down the street in all its ghastly horror, spreading fear and terror among all before him...

shot of small child pointing "Look, mommy! It's the SICK AND TWISTED YANKEE!"

I love Vegemite!!

Not just spread thinly over a cracker or whatever, but slathered right on there by the spoonful with a healthy dose of warm butter. Of course, I love salty flavors (wouldn't know about dogbutts) so that probably explains it. I seem to recall having scared a couple Aussies once with the amount of Vegemite I ate per piece of toast but since I didn't keel over dead they kinda got used to it.

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All Hail Unca Cecil, or the next best thing available!

04-27-1999, 10:02 PM
I still don't exactly understand.

I'm not that wordly and although I heard of vegamite, I've never seen, smelled, or eaten vegamite or marmite so when you tell me marmite is kinda like vegamite it doesn't really help take me there!

OK, someone mentioned beef extract in relation to marmite, and a few people referenced yeast. Is yeast the "vega" part?
Is it stuff pureed yeast with some preservatives? Heck, I still want to know, what is the stuff? What's in it and how is it made? What's up with the saltiness? Where's that come from?

Please suffer a poor yank and fill me in!

P.S. I understood the digestive biscut/cracker thing

04-28-1999, 10:39 AM
The difference between vegemite and marmite is almost precisely the same difference between beef oxo cubes and veggie oxo cubes.

To get an idea of what marmite tastes like without actually tasting it, take a beef oxo cube and dissolve it in about 1/4 cup of water, then take a tiny tiny sip, and imagine a sort of yeasty flavour added to it.

04-28-1999, 11:39 AM
But what is it? I think I remember hearing that Vegemite was the shmutz left in barrels after the ale was dumped out. Am I close?

Sounds disgusting.

04-29-1999, 12:28 AM
Okay, I have a jar of marmite in my cupboard at home. Tonight I'll write down the ingredients and post them tomorrow morning. If someone else can do the same for vegemite, we'll all be enlightened.

05-13-1999, 09:33 PM
Thought it was what Lucy plugged in her infamous commercial...lol

05-14-1999, 11:39 AM
Ooo, I'd almost forgotten about this thread. By a strange coincidence, I was in my local Thrifty Foods yesterday, and happened to see Marmite and Vegemite sitting on the shelves. I checked the ingredients on both, and found, to my surprise, that the difference between the two is that Marmite has more vegetables in it than Vegemite. Go figure. Both contain large quantities of salt, yeast extract and (I think) hydrolized wheat protein. Both contain "natural flavours". Marmite also contains carrot and onion extracts.

05-14-1999, 11:52 AM
and let's not even mention Bovril...

05-17-1999, 02:28 AM
MMMMMM....Marmite!
I've lived in the States (Arkansas, for Gawd's sake) since I was three or four, and I LOVE Marmite. Like Olentzero, I slather it over toast, usualy with a little margerine on first, to help it spread. Unfortunately, it's damn hard to find, and a little bit more expensive than Russian Beluga caviar, when you can find it (well worth it though.)
It has no beef stock. I don't know where that canard got started, but I first saw it in a footnote to a story I read in my 7th grade English class. I think I even brought a little jar in to show my teacher to prove that the book was wrong! It says clearly on the lable, 100% vegan! This is important for me, since I'm a fourth generation vegetarian (I'm trying to loosen up and be less snotty about it though, since I encountered some of those real "Holier than thou types.)
Anyway, I usually don't even like foods that salty, but Marmite is the best. I've even tried in hot water (My mom told me her family drank it ocasionally) and I even liked that. I guess it's an aquired taste, like all true delicacies.

05-17-1999, 10:43 AM
What is Bovril, anyway?

05-17-1999, 11:04 AM
Powdered or cubed soup stock. The beef and chicken kinds can be used to flavour gravy or, mixed with water, they make good emergency soup. There's also a vegetable Bovril which is good for flavouring rice.

05-17-1999, 08:06 PM
Yes, Leslie, that's exactly what Vegemite is... the sludge left after they've made beer.

The two most awful tastes I've ever had in my mouth were the time I had a bad snail, and Vegemite. I think, of the two, the Vegemite was worse, the taste lingered for days. My Aussie friend who slathered a bunch on a cracker for me thought the expression on my face was hysterically funny.

05-17-1999, 10:40 PM
If you really want some fun, bring Vegamite into the US and tell the customs people you have it. They don't know what it is, but they thought it was a good idea to searh my suitcade, just in case.

05-20-1999, 11:55 PM
I suspect the reason Vegemite, Marmite and stuff like Picadilly and Branston's Pickle (which looks like elephant snot in a jar) was invented is because (a) they keep for a long time without refrigeration (b) they've got lots of vitamins (IIRC, yeast has lots of B vitamins). I suppose if you were on long sea voyages (as the British would've had to take to reach their colonies back in the 19th century), eating this stuff would've been preferable to scurvy & beriberi..tho,not by much, IMHO, but British sailors at least got grog rations so they'd soused enough not to notice the taste.
The stuff might seem disgusting to us, but Americans export grunt like Big Macs, and Marmite I'm sure is a damn sight healthier than most of the stuff Ronald McCoronary sells.
What's really silly is current British gov't regs regarding beef...you can't legally eat BBQ ribs in England! Chances are like at least 1000X more you'll get E Coli poisoning from beef than Creuzfeld-Jacobs disease, and there's no indication that the infection rate from C-J is any worse in countries where people usually eat beef on the bone...heck, Mexicans eat lots of espinaza (spine) and sesos (brains)...no problen I know of. Sesos are tastier than Vegemite, too.

06-03-1999, 05:46 PM
I had always thought that Marmite was a brand name of vegemite- like Jell-o brand gellatin.