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-- 19 March, 2005 --

EM From the Kitchen Challenge

Vegemite Jar
Windsor & Newton Oils on Arttec Oil Sketch Pad

Almost every Australian kitchen will have a jar of Vegemite in the cupboard or refrigerator - correct storage is the subject of contention. For the uninitiated, Vegemite is a spread which is made from yeast, looks like very thick engine oil and tastes very salty - similar, but not the same as Marmite, known to the British. Rumour has it that it is made from the sludge left over from the beer making process.

You either like Vegemite or loath it, there is no in between. It is not a taste that you can pick up in adult life so new-comers to Australia are a lost cause. For real Aussie kids, this is the first thing that they taste after their mother's milk, spread on soldiers of bread or toast. It should never be spread thickly, which is the mistake that new-comers make. A thin film is all that is needed. Vegemite also works well as flavouring in stews, stocks and casseroles.

Like most Australian icons, Vegemite is no longer Australian ownered, having been sold some time ago to a well known multi-national but I doubt that it will ever be taken up anywhere else in the world. Aussie travellers have been know to pack a jar in their luggage so that they can have their daily fix while away from home. Heaven knows what customs officials in other countries make of it when inspecting for banned goods.

This is my first attempt with oil paints having been inspired to give it go by Duane Keiser's A Painting A Day blog although I am kidding myself that I will ever be that good.

20/03/2005- A reader pointed out the Vegemite web site for those interested in more information.

Posted by robynls at March 19, 2005 2:24 PM


one word - YUM!!! love the pic and love vegemite - always take veg. sandwiches to school when teaching!

Posted by: krissie at March 19, 2005 3:39 PM

We have a jar of that somewhere at the back of the cupboard. I'm hoping when we shift I'll be able to 'lose' it in the chaos, lol.

Still, just because I'm not too keen on it as food, doesn't mean it can't be art. Very nice =)

Posted by: Pseudo at March 19, 2005 5:47 PM

And my god it's a whopping 455 gram jar! Enough to feed the hungry for years. I have to admit that I do have it on toast occasionally. You're really trying all the mediums, variety is the spice of life.

Posted by: Detlef at March 19, 2005 6:23 PM

I'm sorry, but I don't believe that's the first time you tried oil paints! ;-) Absolutely fantastic for a first go - well done! First time I used oils I just ended with a muddy mess. Can't use them now as can't use solvents, but am hoping to get back to acrylics soon (once I've tidied up workroom, done some gardening - much overdue, refiled all my papers after moving filing cabinet etc etc LOL). Think maybe I should draw a Marmite pot in reply?

Posted by: Maggie Wallace at March 19, 2005 7:30 PM

I've always wondered what Vegemite is and now I know! Too bad you can't make a scratch and sniff painting for cyberspace. Like Detlef, I'm amazed that this is your first time in oils. What, no thick engine oil effect? Very nice work.

Posted by: Laura F at March 19, 2005 8:29 PM

WAAAAAAAAAAH! Since learning I have coeliac, vegemite is on the banned list - and there is NOTHING more comforting when you're feeling icky than vegemite on toast , with a cup of tea...

Posted by: Caitlin at March 19, 2005 10:52 PM

I thought I saw a commercial here for it, then I recalled I was thinking of a commercial for vega matic. Non edible machine for slicing veggies. :-)
I admire anyone that picks up brush, whether oil or water.

Posted by: Bonnie at March 20, 2005 12:37 AM

Being an Anglophile, I am acquainted with Marmite, but never Vegemite, altho I've head of it. I have bought Marmite and, in fact, I used to run an on-line travel group called the Marmite Traveling Club! I have my tiny bottle of the stuff in a cupboard in the kitchen. It never gets opened, alas. Paul wasn't fond of it, and while I didn't mind it (if used correctly) I am now eating Low Carb and toast, which I have loved and adored, is off my food list, along with all other sumptuous goodies. But it must be stated for anyone wishing to try this delicacy (?) that it should be spread very very very thinly, indeed, and onto a piece of toast that has had a nice chunk of butter spread onto it first...then the Marmite.. it almost reminds me of anchoves! A fun painting Robyn, thanks!

Posted by: Bex at March 20, 2005 7:17 AM

Nice painting, especially it being your first oil. I remember a college class where we used oil; I hated it..dried to slowly, messy and difficult to clean up and the patience of Job waiting for it to dry. So there, am I lazy or what? Thanks to for the lesson on Vegemite, I'd never heard of it...I live in Washington state. Jim

Posted by: Jim at March 20, 2005 1:20 PM

Now - this makes me want to go and put some bread in the toaster and go and make myself some Marmite on toast. No Vegemite here, but I have whipped a jar of Marmite from my mothers for late night munchies...

Posted by: Michael Nobbs [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 20, 2005 8:21 PM

Nice job - pretty good for a first attempt, I must say!
As a Canadian, I tried Vegemite two years ago - and I am not sure what the fuss is about - maybe the secret is what you said - to try it from birth! We Canadians will just have to stick to Cheeze Whiz and Tim Horton's Coffee!

Posted by: Nicolette at March 21, 2005 5:34 AM

I think this is wonderful for a first-time oil painting!
As a side note - Seeing as one of your British-Isle visitors has mentioned Marmite ~ apparently, when the makers of Vegimite first tried to think of a name to market the spread under, some bright spark came up with the idea (as Marmite was already a fairly well known spread) of Pawill as a good name...
I'm not sure if this is a true story or just an Australian urban myth.

Posted by: Cameron Stephen at March 21, 2005 6:36 AM

P.S. I actually can't stand the stuff myself, (I hope that doesn't make me 'Un-Australian') but weirdly don't mind Promite at all, which is similar, but different. I did find a graphic reference to Vegemite in one of my online drawings/cartoons however - you can see it here if you're interested...

Posted by: Cameron at March 21, 2005 6:48 AM

ooooh! so that's the vegemite that's mentioned in the Men At Work song "Down Under"!

Posted by: ian at March 24, 2005 11:27 PM