A Vegemite Virgin No More!

Vegemite 220g Jar
Vegemite. The very word sparks terror in Americans. We’ve heard the stories about how it’s an acquired taste, how Aussies alone have the ball-sacks to eat it, how unsuspecting Americans have taken a bite and then run out into the bush in the hope that dingoes would eat them just so they wouldn’t have to put another molecule of that substance from down under in their mouths ever again. I’ve long been intrigued by the mystique.

Today, I got my hands on a 220 g jar of this dark brown, yeast extract goo. At last I could confirm for myself the taste mysteries of Vegemite. Opting to take the traditional, sane course, I toasted up a slice of white bread, coated it in margarine, and then thinly spread some Vegemite. The verdict? Not unlike actress Lucy Hale’s assessment:

I agree that it has a taste very much like dried soy sauce with notes of Worcestershire. As I often make tofu sandwiches with soy sauce and nutritional yeast, this is not an entirely unfamiliar flavor. Heavy on the umami. Unlike Ms Hale, I will have this again. (UPDATE: I have a Vegemite sandwich almost everyday — thickly spread with Havarti cheese on wheat. Yum. Unfortunately, this means going through many 440g jars every year…which in Australia isn’t a problem, but in the U.S. it’s a bit of a PITA.)

I’m looking forward to maybe stretching it out into other recipes. My understanding is that it makes a decent broth which is slightly more chicken-y than beefy. I’ll have to try that out soon.

This American’s verdict? A welcome addition to my pantry, a food whose mythic unpalatability comes nowhere close to reality. It’s not for everyone, especially those who have a problem with the taste of soy sauce. While it’s not likely to find a place on my breakfast menu, it will be found in snack courses (can’t wait to try this in a sandwich). Aussies, ya done good.

And since you now probably have a hankering to watch the Men at Work video of “Down Under”, I’ll save you the search:

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