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Hello, Jenny! I'm so happy you enjoy this column! you are very kind!!
You've awakened a vivid recollection of my first taste of vegemite. I was living in London at the time, and a very sweet young elementary school teacher had taken me under her wing. She felt it her responsibility to acquaint me with all things English. So: she served me with a bit of wholemeal toast, buttered, and a generous smear of the "black gold," warning me that this might be an acquired taste. I found it quite wonderful! but then, I liked olives and mushrooms and strong cheese when I was 6. ;-)
Since then, I've had to revise my early enthusiasm. Here are some thoughts from folks wiser than I:
On the old bulletin board, the topic of vegemite arose and petered out several times over the years. Here’s a post from 1999 by Pat, who wondered if the stuff were actually food:
Pat had good points here. Proprietary mineral salts (undisclosed), malt extract (malted (sprouted) "what?" -- extracted how?), 'natural' color 150 (this could be anything), 'vegetable' extract (WHICH vegetable, for Heaven's sake? it makes a difference!) and finally, synthetic vitamins.... well, once you've gone down this path of analysis, vegemite ain't lookin' rosy.
A naturopath and clinical researcher (and wonderful friend), Stephen Eddy, replied to Pat:
Later on, in December of 2000, someone suggested vegemite as a good source of B vitamins. Stephen helpfully replied:
Vegemite is a black yeast that is loaded with salt! I know its no good for A's because it isn't good for any human. They crap on about the B vitamins but there are much better ways to consume B vitamins! Regards, Stephen.
P.S Use Peanut Butter instead. Its a HB for us!"
*LOL*! He was rather firm on the point that this chemically-extracted (do we know which chemicals were used, and if traces remain in the final product??) product designed for saltiness (the cheapest salt available, with no trace minerals) -- ergo, taste sensation -- offers more hindrance than help to the human physiology. *sigh!*
It hurts me to discourage people from their favorite childhood foods, so I will offer this alternative recipe which I hope you will take up for yourself, your aged relatives and your kiddles. Might even fool 'em, who knows? Adjust the proportions as you see fit:
One teaspoon + toasted sesame oil. Stir with fork, and spread! While it is more golden-brown than peaty, it offers a lovely B-punch and is as salty as any vegemite-lover could desire!
Deep in my heart, I believe this is what Dr. Eddy meant when he said, "...there are much better ways to consume B vitamins!" Try it, Jenny, and let me know what you think of it. Type Bs & ABs could use walnut oil instead of sesame; type O nonsecretors could substitute a shot of rich beef broth and a dash of sea salt for the tamari. To all my friends in the UK, NZ and OZ ~