Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Product Review: Kraft Vegemite

The first time I ever heard of Vegemite was from the song "Down Under" by the band Men at Work. However, I was somehow embedded with the erroneous notion that Vegemite was processed seaweed. When a graduate student from Australia rotated through my lab, he corrected me on that point: Vegemite is concentrated yeast extract, a by-product of beer brewing. In much of the British Commonwealth a similar product, Marmite, is sold. This originally came up because we use yeast extract to make LB [1], a common growth medium for culturing bacteria and he speculated whether we could use Vegemite to make LB.

My verdict: Per the instructions of my Aussie [2] friend, I made a Vegemite sandwich: I smeared the Vegemite on toast and wrapped it around a piece of cheddar cheese. A thin smear of Vegemite wasn't enough to taste, so then I applied the Vegemite generously. It comes out of the tube looking like a thick, black acrylic paint. It tastes like soy sauce with a hint of yeast. I didn't think it was that bad. It certainly doesn't deserve the bad rap it gets. It did, however, give me terrible breath for the rest of the day. And, strangely enough, it also piqued my appetite.


[1] LB stands for lysogeny broth but a lot of people will tell you it stands for Luria broth, Lennox broth, or Luria–Bertani broth. It was orginally formulated by Bertani and copied by Luria and Lennox. But many incorrectly attribute it to Luria. See broth.

[1] I pronounce this AW-see, but he pronounces it AW-zee (mouse over for IPA).

1 comment:

  1. This immediately made me think of the song, "Down Under" by Men at Work. You know, the part where they say, "He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich..." Now I know what Vegemite is. And now I will be singing that song in my head for the rest of the week.
    This is one of the worse music videos I've seen. I laughed out loud at the "realtor's" short shorts.