That there (^^) is a very fine breakfast: toast with vegemite and cheese, with a glass of milk.
For everyone: the ‘cheese thing’ explained
So my family has a cheese ‘thing’. We like it and we put it on everything, with toast. Vegemite and cheese is a pretty common combo in Oz, but my family doesn’t stop there. Peanut butter and cheese on toast (or sandwich): try it. It’s delicious. Jam and cheese on toast: try it, it’s even more delicious. Leftover spaghetti bolognaise on toast with some cheese sprinkled on top: *DROOL* (also, clearly I’m not carb-phobic).
At first, I thought all this was totally normal. Until I started getting out in the world and people would regard my jam and cheese toast with horror. What is that? Why? Ewww! I can’t understand it myself. My grandfather’s favourite is damper (like a really big scone) with butter, golden syrup and cheese.
I consulted my mother about the fact that no one else seems to do these cheese combos and she confirmed we were crazy: “don’t look at me, it’s your father’s thing.” My dad has passed on so I consulted my grandfather. He just shrugged, “dunno. It just tastes good.” I have an old card sent by my great-grandfather from the Great War to his family and he mentions jam and cheese on bread, so clearly this is an obsession that goes way back (also, only in my family would food be the primary topic of discussion amidst a warzone).
For non-Australians: the ‘vegemite thing’ explained
Ok, so pretty much everyone knows about vegemite – the only confusion seems to be why. “Why do you guys eat that stuff?”
Because it tastes good. However, you do need to… educate your taste buds, shall we say. For me, I’ve had vegemite literally since birth. My mum would put a teaspoon in a bottle with warm water, shake it up and give it to me. I apparently loved it and it’s incredibly good for you. In fact, “vegemite soup” will cure whatever ails you. Feeling run down? Try it. Feeling cold/fluey? Try it. Got a hangover? Definitely try it. Only don’t be a wuss and put a tablespoon in, not a teaspoon.
Vegemite is a vegetable yeast extract and the taste is hard to describe… it’s deep, sort of meaty but that gives you the wrong idea as there’s no meat in it. It just has that sort of depth and quality. It’s very salty, so much so that you can add it in soups and stews as a stockcube replacement. It’s flavour is very robust and, for this reason, it’s important to only lightly scrape it on toast that’s been buttered, particularly if you’re a vegemite virgin. Ease yourself into it, young padawan.
It’s well worth giving a go. Need further convincing? My dad always said “it’ll put hairs on your chest!”. I’m not sure if that’s its best unique selling point but, hey, it might work for you.