Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Happy Little Vegemites

With Australia Day (or "Invasion Day", depending on your perspective) almost upon us there is some good news, with the iconic Australian spread Vegemite now back in Australian hands. Bega Cheese has announced it will acquire Vegemite from its US owner Mondelez International, meaning Vegemite will be back in Aussie hands for the first time in 90 years.

Derived from leftover brewer's yeast and pitch black in colour, Vegemite certainly takes some getting used to for those not lucky enough to start eating it from the age of nought. Personally, I love the stuff. It's comfort food when you're feeling a bit sad, hastens the departure of unwelcome hangovers (welcome to your 30s), and is perfect on toast on rainy afternoons.

My advice for those trying it for the first time? Toast, lots of butter, thinly spread and (a little like applying foundation) build up to what makes you feel most comfortable. I also love it with cheese on salty crackers, or on fresh bread with butter. My Dad likes his on fresh grainy bread, butter (a staple in our household), a generous smear of Vegemite and ... green apple. Strangely delicious.

Another important feature of Australia Day is, of course, the lamb lovers Australia Day ad. This year's ad has stirred up rather a lot of controversy. The ad doesn't mention 'Australia Day' (which I think is smart given recent pushes to change the date to a date that is more inclusive and that doesn't celebrate the European invasion of Indigenous Australians' lands), and indeed pokes fun at those who seek to prevent boat people permanently migrating to Australia - "hang on, aren't we all boat people?".

As the politics of everything becomes more heated and divisive, I think it's important that debate is sparked on a variety of platforms. While some may disagree that the Meat & Livestock Association have any say at all, I say we should embrace respectful, thought provoking discussion - from wherever it is generated.

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