First, They Came for the Condiments…

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The FDA's attempt to protect America from Vegemite has not played well in the Aussie papers—the only papers that seem to have noticed. A Canadian reports being asked at the border whether he was carrying any of the stuff, though that one guy appears to be among the very few sources corroborating the supposed crackdown. Ban or no ban, the Melbourne Herald Sun, a font of anti-anti-Vegemite rage, has composed an email for readers who want to protest "the injustice being perpetrated" against the salty brown "food":

Australians have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Americans throughout a century of conflict. From our Diggers and your Doughboys enduring the mud and blood of the Western Front to the crusade against Hitler and Tojo, to Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, Australia has been a stalwart U.S. ally. Yet today that alliance is threatened, not by despots and terror, but by the high-handed actions of your Food and Drug Administration, which has banned the importation, purchase and consumption of our beloved breakfast spread, Vegemite…

Tear down this ban, Mr. President! Allow Australians living in your country full and unfettered access to Vegemite, the spread of champions. Don't allow the food fascists of the FDA to jeopardise the respect and admiration that has long characterised relations between our two proud nations.

Vegemite, by the way, is owned by Kraft, the American multinational.

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  1. But we can still buy Marmite, which is really the same thing isn’t it?

    Now what we really need is a relaxation of labeling rules so that Vic Bitters can be imported: it is, after all THE Australian beer.

  2. WHAT???? No Vegemite?

    How is this possible. I love, nay, adore the sweet saltiness of this tasty brewer’s yeast derivative…. what kind of barbaric nation is this? Vegemite is the soul-fuel of Australia, and by golly, we need it here!

    -damon

  3. This makes me recall the face made by Lucille Ball when she first tastes Vegameatavitamen.

    Sorry, I searched but couldn’t find a clip.

  4. Vegemite and Marmite, to afficianados, are quite different. I guess the relatives will have to send “clothes” instead of “Vegemite” from now on…

  5. Can you still get it in Brussels, from a man who’s six-foot-four and full of muscles?

  6. So what’s next? I guess Popeye would be out since all that spinach must add too much folate to him….

  7. Ah, Tim, you must come from the Land of Plenty.

  8. Deviled Ham, HerbalLife, Neutella, and Cheez Whiz are all measurably more offensive than Vegemite.
    Smelts, Beef Tripe, and little cans of organ meat are sold with impunity. I still see unsalted digestive biscuits in the International Aisle.

    Vegemite is manna compared to them.

  9. Jeff P.,

    I loved Deviled Ham as a kid, as well as “Vienna” Sausages. But I hated Spam–I had standards, after all.

  10. Nay!! Nutella is the king of condiments.
    Jeff P. sir, I challenge you to duel!!

    As for Vegimite, too salty for my taste, like anchovies. However, what kind of crack-monkey thinking is this? So folic acid, a vitamin who’s deficiency leads to spina bifida in a forming fetus, is cause to ban a foodstuff?? Next thing you know, ascorbic acid will be banned in fruit juice.

    Won’t somebody please think of the unborn children!

  11. Neutella

    You mean Nutella? For shame! Agreed on the others, though.

  12. Give me fried spam and macaroni & cheese, a beggars banquet. Vienna sausage I find inedible.

    What exactly is Vegemite?

  13. So to the “in the know” crowd Vegemite and Marmite taste differntly. But are they not very similar in construction (yeast paste etc…) and yet only one is banned.

    Just asking….

    BTW: Spam, when pan fried, is absolutely delicious!

  14. Okay, to threadjack back to a previous threadjack, I just installed an early release of Firefox 2.0 (it will be officially released tomorrow) via Lifehacker, and it does indeed have a built-in spell checker for forms (no extension/add-on required). As I type, threadjack and dzsfsrdg have red underlines, informing me of my inability to spell in a Mozilla-approved manner. Schadenfreude is also listed as “wrong”. That’s offensive.

  15. Jennifer stocked up on Nutella a few years back, then never ate any. The jars just sit on the shelves and mock me…

    (she also has a jar with that NBA guy who fucked the underaged girl on the label.)

  16. Jennifer stocked up on Nutella a few years back, then never ate any. The jars just sit on the shelves and mock me…

    I’d be happier than a pig in shit if the jars could mock me as well. Alas, I can’t even see the damn things, thanks to living with a 6’3″ boyfriend who thinks that since HE has no difficulty accessing stuff stored in the cabinet above the full-sized refrigerator, his 5’3″ girlfriend must have no difficulty in that regard, either.

  17. that NBA guy who fucked the underaged girl

    I think this is redundant, Jeff.

  18. What the heck is Vegemite, anyway? Sounds like something out of an old “I Love Lucy” episode.

  19. “(she also has a jar with that NBA guy who fucked the underaged girl on the label.)”

    I’ll bet a quick eBay search will reveal that jar to be a collector’s item or something.

  20. What the heck is Vegemite, anyway? Sounds like something out of an old “I Love Lucy” episode.

    A yeast extract, somewhat analogous to peanut butter. Aussies love it.

    I’m not at all sure why the FDA would consider it too dangerous for American palates. Believe me, there are worse things you can eat (and no, Spam is not one of them, Pro Libertate).

  21. I quick search showed that Vegemite is indeed being sold on E-Bay, and the sellers offer to ship it to the U.S. Will I be kicked out of the cool libertarian club if I tip E-Bay off to these smugglers?

  22. This is the first I’d heard of a Vegemite ban or the folate laws. Who decided on behalf of Americans that folate is safe when added to breads and cereals but dangerous when added to anything else?

  23. Jennifer’s idea of searching for something consists of squinting and turning her neck 5 degrees in either direction. If the object of her desire does not materialize into her field of vision, then we must be out. Any object that is placed behind another object immediately ceases to exist, hence one might as well give up looking.

    Fortunately she is set up with plenty of candles and potable water, so any unopened cans or jars can qualify as emergency rations.

  24. Other than knowing it’s some Australian thing, I know next to nothing about Vegemite. It goes without saying that I haven’t eaten it, I suppose.

    I did have sea urchin sushi once. Disgusting appearance and texture, not so great tasting, either. Yeah, I know, that’s not the kind of thing we’re discussing, but that was my worst food experience in 15 years. I’m pretty omnivorous, too.

    Say, “Vegemite” is Mozilla approved–i.e., no squiggly red underline! Must be some Aussie developers over there.

  25. I truly believe this is a coverup for the ineptitude of the border guards. The real reason is the the Deprtment of Homeland Security confused Vegamite with the explosive Thermite. Earlier in the year they arrested actor Rudy Ray Moore (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072895/) having confused Dolemite with Dynamite.

  26. damon

    Are you an Australian?

    As a child in 1950s Tasmania I did indeed develop a taste for Vegemite. For a while it was all I wanted on my sandwiches. Then one day I tried some and said to myself, “This stuff is bleedin’ awful”. I have not had it since.

    It is supposedly an excellent treatment for hangovers. Probably the B-vitamins.

  27. NoStar, I think the correct spelling is Vitameatavegamin. Try searching for that.

  28. (she also has a jar with that NBA guy who fucked the underaged girl…

    All of them?

  29. What’s wrong with Vienna sausages? They’re fine, as long as you have plenty of hot BBQ sauce.

  30. I propose that my home state of California create a “Medical Vegimite” industry. Vegimite will soon be found to cure everthing from cancer to arthritis, and all you’ll need is a doctors recommendation, revalidated annualy for $200, to gain access to the Vegimite Dispenseries. Of course, there’s the FDA raids to worry about….

  31. As far as I’m concerned, the FDA should use all powers at its disposal to keep Vegemite out of America.

  32. First they came for the Vegemite, and I did not speak out because I didn’t eat Vegemite 🙂

  33. Thanks John in Nashville,
    I found no video clip, but I did find nesting dolls of Lucy with Vitameatavegamin.

    http://us.st11.yimg.com/us.st.yimg.com/I/lucille-ball-desi-arnaz-center_1919_10089238

  34. Nuetella is delicious. Nutella + peanut butter + toast = THE BEST FUCKING THING EVER.

  35. Jennifer: It’s for the health of the bread lobby.

  36. Hmmmmmm. Undifferentiated yeast stem cells .

  37. Please, could Jeff and Jennifer continue with the bickering?

  38. My cousin’s wife is from the Land Down Under, where women glow and men chunder. She had a small jar of Vegemite (probably still does, as it tends to be used up slowely) and let me sample some in the approved manner: On a piece of toast, with butter, and a microscopic trace amount of Vegemite.

    It tasted like lots of butter, with perhaps a slight taste of salt and maybe a little bitterness. I think I could have withstood a stronger dose. But apparently no human can eat the stuff straight.

    I gather that the straight stuff tastes saltier and also very bitter or pungent. As a kid, did you ever lick a window in your house? A window that had been cleaned many times with Windex? I have been given the impression that it tastes something like that, only saltier.

    I will have to speak with my cousin’s wife to get her opinion of the Vegemite ban.

  39. Isaac,

    No, my good man, I am not Australian. I’m a US citizen, by way of upbringing via American parents in the Federal Republic of Germany. But my travels have put me in contact with Vegemite, the -other- black gold. (although its really more like brownish, jelly-like gravy…. or margarine made of beef stock…. or something, regardless, it’s awesome)

  40. I, too, must jump in and defend Nutella. It’s good.

  41. What a coincidence! I just found an old jar of it in my desk. Better not eat any, though…not sure how long it’s been there.

  42. Let me get this straight, they banned a product, because it contains folate WHICH IS GOOD FOR YOU and is also A HUMAN NUTRTIONAL REQUIREMENT.

  43. damon

    Oh, I see. I just find it hard to believe that a non-Australian could like the stuff. I certainly no longer share your enthusiasm.

    Although since I read about its hangover curing properties I’ve wished I had a little on hand. But now the Federal food nazis have denied me even that possibility.

  44. Stevo–

    I’m not going to ask how your source knows what licking Windex-cleaned windows tastes like. It’s probably OK, though, as long as the Windex contains no folate.

  45. Folate – “the act of sending unsolicited erotic gay messages to young males”. Ban it.

  46. Stevo– I’m not going to ask how your source knows what licking Windex-cleaned windows tastes like. It’s probably OK, though, as long as the Windex contains no folate.

    Sorry, I gave the wrong impression. I myself, personally, have licked windows redolent of Windex. I was a curious child.

  47. I have a non-Australian friend on the west coast who ate vegemite religiously and swore by the stuff. It never appealed to me. I guess he will have to start smuggling it in now.

  48. “I myself, personally, have licked windows redolent of Windex.”

    Stevo,
    If it works as advertised, it may have saved you from the embarrassment of removing your clothing and running in public back in the 70’s. “With Windex with Ammonia D there’s no streaking.”

  49. Smacky, Jen and all the Nutella lovers,

    Isn’t Nutella just a hazelnut based chocolate frosting? You can create something similar by mixing Hershey’s syrup and Skippy Peanut butter.

  50. Hmm. You’re supposed to eat it in tiny amounts with butter on things? I tried putting a light spread of the stuff on a Ritz and was rather overcome by the meat-left-to-rot-until-liquification taste, so only ate a third of the cracker before throwing the rest of it away (along with the Vegemite bottle).

  51. Had vegemite one memorable Thanksgiving in Managua.
    Havent had any since. Had poi a week ago in Hawii. Same idea: dirty dishwater colored grease. Wont have poi again, either. But SPAM. Now thats sumpthin else. We have a Spam Altar in the house, you see. Fried in a pan? Well, for the loche, and hoi polloi, they do what they can to affect some image of Taste.
    But Spam is meant to be thinly sliced & broiled. there you have it: manna. On a toasted bagle W/ Kraft Cheeze…..
    Per capita consumption of Spam is highest where cannabalism was most recent: certain areaS OF the Pacific & Indian Oceans island societies.
    Cannibalism is rather judgemental however: I prefer Homo Suppians.

  52. Isn’t Nutella just a hazelnut based chocolate frosting? You can create something similar by mixing Hershey’s syrup and Skippy Peanut butter.

    I am already working on the packaging.

  53. When I started having to eat right to control my cholesterol I had to give up everything that tastes good. And I mean everything, I don’t know how you vegetarians do it. I’m jonesing for a fried Spam sandwich right now,(hold the vegemite). I weigh 137 and have high cholesterol, that ain’t fair.

  54. My wife and I went to Australia this past Christmas to meet her newfound half-sister. Breakfasts included Vegemite to spread on our toast. To say it’s an acquired taste is a gross understatement. The family gave us a basket of Aussie foods, including a small jar of Vegemite, for the return trip to the States. Guess we could scalp our jar for a lot of money to the right buyer.

  55. No worries, the State Department will override FDA once they realize how pissed off all the Australian ex-pats are going to be. Can’t go upsetting one of our best allies, now can we?

    MUTT,

    Tell me, are you a Minnesotan? I’ve only heard such love of Spam from North Stars.

  56. Oh, rats. I didn’t notice the thread title before my “First they came for. . .” posting. Redundancy! I hate it!

  57. Buckshot

    Check out
    http://www.lef.org/dsnews/ds_letter_2006_mar.htm

    The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw?
    Life Extension News?

  58. Isn’t Nutella just a hazelnut based chocolate frosting?

    Yes, well actually it is basically Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolate in a can. In liquefied form. So you don’t need to burn calories and waste time chewing.

  59. Jack:

    Thanks for the recommendation. I was taking niacin on my doc’s orders and I got 9 out of 12 side effects, I’d rather have high cholesterol. All the statin medicines seems to wreck the liver.

    Pomegrante juice, who’d a thunk it.

  60. “I myself, personally, have licked windows redolent of Windex.”

    Stevo,
    If it works as advertised, it may have saved you from the embarrassment of removing your clothing and running in public back in the 70’s. “With Windex with Ammonia D there’s no streaking.”

    LOL, Nostar!

    (And for this we can all be grateful.)

  61. Pro Libertate said:
    I did have sea urchin sushi once. Disgusting appearance and texture, not so great tasting, either.

    I love that stuff. Can hardly find it around here, though.

  62. “I spent three years in a North Vietnamese POW Camp, surviving off a thin stew of vegetables, prawns and four different kinds of rice. I almost went mad trying to find it in the States, but they just couldn’t get the spices right.”

  63. pro-Lib “MUTT,Tell me, are you a Minnesotan? I’ve only heard such love of Spam from North Stars.”
    Nah. Old New York Dutch. My Pa, who taught me to read, turned me on to the Founders & Barry, taught me to shoot, also taught me how a gentleman prepares Spam.

  64. Luke,

    Really? I mean, no joshing? I ordered it in good faith–hey, I’ll try most foods once–but I was in culinary hell once I attempted consumption. Do you eat it raw, or is it prepared some way? Maybe I just had bad urchin, but I’m not risking that experience again for nothing.

    Roe, sashimi, etc. are all okay with me, so I’m not a finicky eater, even from the sushi perspective. Though the Japanese certainly have grossed me out on TV before–Iron Chef sometimes made me wonder how we won the war.

  65. “Isn’t Nutella just a hazelnut based chocolate frosting?”

    Yes, well actually it is basically Ferrero Rocher hazelnut chocolate in a can. In liquefied form. So you don’t need to burn calories and waste time chewing.

    Actually, it’s basically hazelnut butter with cocoa and sugar.

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