Gregory Gross


November 12, 2023

Tag: Everyday Minutiae

An unopened jar of Vegemite I have ready to go in the pantry.

This morning over breakfast, I was reading today’s edition of the New York Times when I came across an article entitled “The Corner Lot Where All the World’s Vegemite Comes From.” At that very moment, I had a bite of Vegemite toast in my mouth.

Among the variety of things in that article that made me smile was a link to this video showing then-Australian prime minister Julia Gillard politely answering a question about what Vegemite is exactly. “It’s horrible!” Barack Obama smilingly interjected.

I remember the very first time I encountered Vegemite. I don’t think I was even 24 hours off the plane when I was getting breakfast for myself during the first full day of orientation camp that kicked off my exchange year in Australia in 1994. “What on earth is this?” I probably thought to myself. It took another six months before I had the nerve to try and acquire a taste for it. By the end of that year, I succeeded.

I’m not even going to bother describing the taste. You either love it or hate it.

Back home in the United States, I could get more of the stuff only in my wildest dreams. No store that I was aware of came even remotely close to carrying it, let alone all of the inferior versions of the spread (sorry, Marmite fans).

Fast forward to the Internet Age. With a bit more disposable income than what I had as a college student, I could now go online and order however much I wanted from specialty retailers. A bit later I got excited when I discovered that Cost Plus World Market carried it on the shelf, and I made regular visits to stock up.

And more recently, a local higher-end grocery store started carrying it next to Marmite. I smiled during my most recent visit when I saw there was plenty of Marmite sitting there but only one jar of Vegemite left in stock. Maybe they had just gotten a shipment of the former, but I like to think the demand for the latter is higher.

I grabbed that last jar, needless to say.

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