Mighty mite

Usually, my family escapes to warmer climates during the February school vacation week, but this year was different. We embraced the winter by heading to Utah’s Park City for a bit of skiing and relaxation.

We all enjoy a good breakfast. While Park City wasn’t fantastic for breakfast options, we were able to scrounge together a collection of coffee shops and brunch stops to suffice. Toast and eggs are often my go-to options. Toast is often accompanied by butter, or perhaps a nice jam (homemade if you are lucky). Several spots in Park City offered an unusual option: Vegemite. Like many in the US, my familiarity with Vegemite does not extend far beyond the Men at Work song “Down Under” from the 1980s, with the memorable line “he just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich.”

Vegemite is a flavored yeast extract that originates in Australia. The black, tarry spread is commonly spread on toast, and I’m sure has many other applications. I decided to take the plunge. Some freshly toasted sourdough arrived accompanied by some strawberry preserves on the left and a ramakin of the thick black paste on the right.

It is said that Vegemite is an acquired taste, but I quickly saw the appeal of the earthy, salty, and slightly bitter condiment. The taste is not easily described, but is most similar to a pungent aged cheese. It pairs naturally with toast. The truth is I am not a total stranger to this type of flavor: my grandmother was a dedicated follower of Marmite, Vegemite’s British cousin.

The events that followed on my return home were predictable to anyone who knows me well. My shelf is now stocked with two jars of Vegemite (in my defense, Amazon Prime only offered a two-pack) and a jar of Marmite. Taste tests to follow.

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