Over a lively euchre game the other night, we got into an even livelier conversation about Marmite and Vegemite. I find that conversations about these love-them-or-hate-them condiments are always impassioned, so I was surprised that some of my foodie friends weren't familiar with them.
Though Marmite and Vegemite are unconventional in the US, in their home countries, they are as common as peanut butter or mayonnaise. Vegemite is pretty much the national food of Australia, and Marmite is the UK's version. Most commonly spread on toast and used on sandwiches, both spreads are made with yeast extract, a by-product of beer brewing. It's super-salty, high in vitamin B, and a good example of "the fifth taste" known as umami.
I was first introduced to Vegemite while working as a camp counselor with lots of Aussie co-workers, all of whom brought enough Vegemite to get them through the summer. This is apparently quite common, the joke being that Australians always pack Vegemite when they travel. To kids who grow up in Marmite and Vegemite territories, it's as essential to childhood eating as PB&Js are here — but inspires an even more fanatical devotion.
I don't remember liking Marmite very much but I'm giving the taste another try. Andrew got a tube of Vegemite from an Australian co-worker, so I'm going to take the plunge with a Vegemite sandwich. Apparently, it's often used on cheese sandwiches, though my euchre friend loves Marmite and banana sandwiches. If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments.
Source: Flickr User S2Art