Saturday, June 18, 2011


I was simply doing my duty as an Australian when I introduced my local friends to the wonderous phenomenon that is vegemite...

I could predict the reactions. The horrified faces. Tears running down burning cheeks. Painful gurgles coming from deep within choked throats. Fists banging on tables. Furious looks being thrown my way. 

I know, I know, women and children first!

Needless to say, the excited (read: manic) expression on my face made them a little cautious at first. They were uneasy, but willing participants in this social experiment (read: ritual that all Australian expats inflict upon their foreign friends). 

I had, after three days of searching, found a whole loaf of bread that wasn't full of sugar, and had finally also found some imported butter. (Don't dare tell me yout don't have butter with your vegemite. If that is the case, I'm sorry but we can't be friends anymore.) I would love to have been able to toast the bread, but normal families in China don't have toasters. And seeing as my friends are a normal family, they don't have a toaster. 

They also didn't have a bread knife. This was very surprising at the time, but hindsight reveals to me the stupidity of presuming that people who don't eat loaves of bread would own a bread knife. Confusion aside, I tried cutting the bread with a normal knife and just squashed it - the result?

Me sitting in the middle of their family's dining table, breaking bread with my hands, and passing it down person to person, talking to them about the meaning of what they were about to eat. 

Yeah, I know. I know.

This is what you get when you google 'Vegemite'.
I took the liberty of spreading their vegemite for them, because we all know what a fine line that is. How easy it is to be too cowardly and not have enough, to be uneducated and not spread it evenly, or be to careless and end up with a serious salt overload. Each family member recieved their hunk-of-bread-with-condiments in a slow procession, and we waited untill all had their share before digging in.

It wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. There were no casualties at least, and we are all still on speaking terms. The faces were hilarious (see above image). They tried (in vain) to find a taste similar to that found in the golden jar, but nothing was realateable. Questions sprung forth as to the ingredients, origin and alternative uses of such an insane spread, and I happily obliged them with well informed answers. 

I concluded with - "It's pretty much in our blood. vegemite is to Australians as rice is to Chinese."

Then, and only then, did they truly understand why I had brought this thing into their home.

Nobody asked for seconds, but none of them puked. I would count that as a success.


  1. I'm pleased you shared your vegimite . . . will you do the same with yout TIMTAMS?

  2. hahahaha are you kidding? no way!


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