Friday, August 22, 2008


I think there is a sure fire litmus test that can be used to determine who grew up in Australia and who didn't. Vegemite.

Around the corner from my new work is a cafe we (rather literally) call "The Russians" because, amusingly and with a complete lack of irony, it is run by a trio of Russian women. Lately one of them has been away on leave, and so there is a young English guy helping out with the morning shift. (I'm pretty sure he's the cook's boyfriend, because there is a series of photos posted up on the wall called "Staff Meeting" and aside from some pictures of the Russian women drunkenly dirty dancing with the pair of them, there are at least two pics of the two guys cuddling.)

Anyhoo, this morning I ordered a coffee from the new guy and (for a change) two pieces of wholemeal toast with Vegemite. He failed the litmus test. When it arrived there was a layer of Vegemite that can only be described as overly generous. You see the big test is the amount of Vegemite. The thinnest of thin smears is perfect, a half centimetre thick layer is not. Eat that and you're courting salt overload and a mouth full of dead tastebuds.

Shortly after delivering the plate to my table, another customer walked past and took one look at my plate and said "Gee, like Vegemite?". Indeed. So I grabbed a knife, scraped off 90% of it, and it was still really strong. When he collected the plate and looked at the huge mound of discarded Vegemite (think Richard Dreyfuss, mashed potato and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind") he gave me a sheepish look and a smile that said "Oops". Definately not from around these parts.


Amanda said...


I learnt recently that another such litmus test is liking musk sticks. I thought they were universal.

Tom said...

FAIL. I could understand one of the Russians... but a Pom? Unforgivable. Hasn't he heard of marmite? Whilst vegemite is a pale imitation of the original and best, you'd have thought he'd be at least vaguely familiar with the oeuvre of yeasty sludge on toast. ;)

ARJ said...

Wowie-- I was inducted into the Way of Mite with Marmite in the UK... I would have thought he'd at least know a leeeeetle goes a long way.

Cecilia said...

An American friend visited Australia recently and developed a taste for Vegemite, except no-one taught the rule about spreading it thin, so he slathered it on like peanut butter and--amazingly--loves eating it that way!

Makes me slightly queasy just thinking about it!

Nanna Peter said...

Today's luncheon spot was an Irish pub & the overwhelming smell was Vegemite! (stale yeast) You are welcome to share the jar with Rosie (I put it in her pot of cooked mince).

james in washington said...

Less is more.

Good to know for the day when I get a chance to order some.

Cozalcoatl said...

Mike,Laura and kids just came back from a family get together North of Brissie.
They brought me Vegemite...yay. I have a good stash of it now. Rob hates it, so its all mine.
A few people have tried it here, and a couple thought it was kinda ok.