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Unconventional Condiments: Vegemite and Marmite

April 11, 2010 9:29 am · Posted by Nancy Einhart

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

posted by Lisa the Bard

I have (I think) designed the Ultimate Marmite Sandwich for Foodies.... It's on the Website URL....
Enjoy :)

posted by

Nancy - Sorry I missed this conversation the other night. I love Marmite! in hot water. I used to drink it nightly before bed. Take 1/2 - 1 teaspoon and stir it into a cup of boiling water. (Not too much or it tastes a little bitter. And be sure to stir really well or you'll have "presents" at the bottom.) LIke you said, it's a great source of Vit B. To me it tastes like a yummy cup of beef broth. I've never tried it on a sandwich but if someone knew how to prepare it, I'd totally eat it. Hmm, Marmite and banana sandwich....not sure about that one. Be sure to tell me how it goes for you.

posted by Anonymous

vegemite and fresh tomato on toast. brilliant for a hangover! or anytime. just delish

posted by Shane [Australia]

Just stumbled on your page! Vegemite is something most of us grew up with here, and I love it. I can't have it often because it triggers acid reflux for me. It's a very sharp and salty taste on the tongue, best on crusty bread or very buttery hot toast. It must be spread on butter or margarine I think. The ultimate Aussie drink to go with it is Milo (chocolate powder which you add to milk). A plain glass of milk works well though, and a full flavour beer would be suitable. Most people who didn't grow up with it really hate it when they first try it. It's a bit like stout with an intense, concentrated flavour. It is not an instant winner! I find it unique and satisfying.

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