Yes, I speak-a your language.

Back when I worked at the venerable Saskatchewan Provincial Water Laboratory, I saw a lot of ugly samples. Lagoons. Dugouts. Livestock farms. Hospital sewage. After a while, you just learned to breathe through the mouth, and get the samples bottled back up as quickly as possible. But there was a sample, once, the size of a medicine bottle, and even when it was opened up ever-so-quickly in the very corner of the building, it nearly caused an evacuation. Hands down, the worst odour anyone there had ever experienced.

Where was it from? Molson Breweries. Take everything that goes into brewing beer -- except the beer -- and leave it under the boiler until spring. Now, I don't want to disparage the company or the product. This was unrelated to the chain of production, and they got the mess cleaned up, but still... I've never forgotten that one sample.

Which brings us to the jar of Vegemite I bought this week on an impulse purchase. According to Wikipedia, it was actually created in a waste-not-want-not effort to do something with the by-products of Foster's plants. Not only did they invent Vegemite, they managed to market it... you really have to give credit where it's due.

Especially since they managed to market it to me. So, without further ado:

Denton's Tips On Vegemite Sandwiches

1. Try not to think about the first two paragraphs of this post.

2. Try not to think about the Australian slang, "Vegemite Valley". Hilarious, yes, but that's not helping right now.

3. Use the best bread possible -- fancy multi-grain stuff. This won't help the taste, but if you have to eat a Vegemite sandwich, why make it worse? This is akin to the concept that if you have to drive a 1978 Corolla, you should at least be able to have a Slurpee while you're driving it.

4. Toast the bread so that it's nice and crispy, then butter it up. This actually has two purposes. First, the smooth creamy taste of the butter goes a long way towards neutralising the taste of Vegemite. Secondly, despite being invented as an edible spread, it actually spreads very poorly. If you just smear it on bread by itself, it'll all glom onto one spot and refuse to move. This results in a thick and uneven distribution. This isn't just aesthetics, though...

5. When you spread on the Vegemite, make sure it's a thin, even distribution. An area of concentrated Vegemite is the equivalent of biting down on an anti-personnel mine in your pizza. Note that I'm not using a simile there. It's not an "anti-personnel mine of bad taste", it's an anti-personnel mine. Avoid this.

6. Read the ingredients. No, really. Right after the preservatives and right before the vitamin supplements, there's the line "Vegetable Extract (Contains Onion)". Onions! Onions taste good, right? In fact, Onion soup is good, and it's brown and salty. Just like Vegemite! In fact, maybe Vegemite tastes like onions! That wouldn't be so bad, would it?

7. Take a bite, and when that first taste of Vegemite kicks in, scream out loud: "ONIONS! IT TASTES LIKE ONIONS!", until you believe it.

8. Condition yourself for stronger and stronger concentrations of Vegemite in future sandwiches. You will eventually build up a tolerance to it, although the analogy is closer to arsenic than hot sauce. Why would you do such a thing, though? Simple: You've still got an entire jar to get through, and if you've ever worked in the Saskatchewan Water Lab, you'll be utterly terrified of simply throwing it in the garbage.

Bon Appetit.


Anonymous said...

Whoa, good for you giving it your best. Keep trying, I hear that if you have enough of it, enough tastebuds will die that you don't have to worry about the taste...

gypsyhick said...

Ewww. Just... eww.

About The Author

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Canadian explorer. Chemist by training, biologist by nature. Long-time supporter and participant in National Novel Writing Month. Known as "Aquadeo" in most Internet circles. Also known as "that guy with the pants" to people who have seen me in certain pants.