Faced with delay in receiving my mail-order Marmite, I recently ordered for the first time a supply of Vegemite as backup. They were, I assumed, essentially the same product under different labeling. Far from it! Here’s what I discovered.
Consistency: Marmite has an asphaltic tarriness to it, like unpourable molasses. You don’t so much spread it as squeegee it onto your toast with a trowel or the like, and as you draw your tool away, dark filaments of goo stretch from it like an extremely elastic thread of hot cheese from French onion soup. Vegemite, on the other hand, is pasty, like peanut butter; comes out in a clump on the knife and lends itself to docile distribution over the soldier’s surface. On first exposure I thought: Have they processed it in an underhanded way — hydrogenation or something — to create this user friendliness? I’m never far from mistrusting the industrial food-and-snack complex.
Adhesiveness: Marmite is industrially sticky. Some days, just removing the cap from the jar is challenging. Marmite would suffice, I believe, to keep the heat shield tiles stuck to the space shuttle — the ones that must not fall off under any circumstances upon fiery re-entry into the atmosphere. The adhering qualities of Vegemite are negligible. It wouldn’t stick a tissue nub to a shaving nick.
Flavor: Here where, after all, the rubber meets the road, I’m on shifting ground. There is a difference in the whiff and taste of the two products, which I didn’t expect. But it doesn’t just smash one in the face right off the bat. Smell and taste are such interlocking senses, and so fickle according to length of exposure, nostril conditions, palate weather, and who knows what else? I’m only on day two of the Vegemite experience. It may be a while before I can give urgently needed feedback on the subtle variations in taste of these two condiments.
(c) 2018 JMN.