Posts Tagged ‘Vegemite’

A Jam sandwich

January 10, 2021

IMG_1477 sunflower

A jam sandwich

It was just after waking this morning when it dawned on me I had not enjoyed a jam sandwich for a very long time. Although I am not naturally drawn to sweet food, I was never philosophically opposed to a jam sandwich. I suppose it dates back to my childhood where in my youth, some seventy five years ago now, ( how the time flies) a jam sandwich was fairly normal and accepted all over The Netherlands. School children were always given jam sandwiches.

When my parents found out that in Australia it was normal to give schoolchildren  banana sandwiches , they stayed up late over many nights to mull over this new found national lunch habit. I remember my parents in their bedroom talking about the cultural differences including banana sandwiches. Oddly enough, my mother back in 1957, it was a sunny day, came home with a jar of vegemite. Yet, they never questioned that brown smear of sandwich spread. When I saw the opened jar of vegemite for the first time I immediately thought of  soiled baby nappies and cow pats in verdant meadows. 

IMG_1476 hydrangia

Jam sandwich

So, after a shower and getting dressed I sought out my fridge to free up some of the jars of jam. I remembered I was given a few for Christmas and I’ll just realized I have a good collection;  A Home Grown Strawberry jar, an Apricot jam (not home grown), A Grandes Signature Raspberry jam  from Aldi, and last of all,  a Chinese 5 Spice Plum Sauce dated ( 19-12-2020). The latest I use mixed in salads.

Talk about Jams. Yesterday I bought a Tuna steak from the local Harris Farm fancy food outlet. This is a shop for those with large wallets. It has the best of everything, but you need a bit of money. Anyway, I know they sell fresh fish so on a Friday I treat myself on sliced raw tuna and a nice salad in which I infuse lots of different herbs, oils and this Plum sauce. Below is a photo including the finely sliced raw tuna.

IMG_1469 sliced tuna

Tuna salad with salad including Chinese 5 spice Plum sauce.

A present of IPod for Grandson

April 20, 2012


The promise was rock-solid. The nine year old grandson was to get an IPod which he had saved up for with the help of grandparents who lived in self- denial. The denial was to do with unselfishly depositing money in little carton boxes at regular intervals so the grandkids could buy electronic things with buttons and batteries. The carton money boxes had names on them were well hidden especially when one of the boxes had been found with less money than before. After this discovery one of the grandsons was unusual emotional and getting very teary. He wasn’t the one who had less money in the box. He seemed all of a sudden full of goodwill and even made his bed and picked flowers for his Oma. Where did all this benevolence come from?

We held council and instead of holding an inquisition decided not to push the matter. The one whose carton box had been pillaged had become unusual philosophical and somewhat sanguine. We felt that the little brothers had come to a satisfactory financial agreement between themselves and with harmony and order returning between each other felt that our intervention would indeed have been superfluous.

The next stage for buying the IPod was to investigate all available options. I had heard of different IPod/Pad but as with most of those fashion items was totally an ignoramus of what they entailed or indeed what they did. I know that the grandson with a Pod was forever flicking the screen and clearly things were moving on the screen. They could play games, if pushing or touching a small screen can be called a game.

In my days we would lay small incendiary devices on tram-rails made of match heads and hollow metal pipes. My younger brothers had burnt down a disused town-hall in The Hague and another one had whacked frail old ladies with an even older umbrella while riding pillion on the bicycle. They were the games of former times. We were made of so much sterner stuff.

We thought a fair start would be to go and pay a visit to Dick Smith. He was after all the man of ‘buy Australian’. Didn’t he try and safe vegemite from being taken over?  Even though, personally, I was never enthusiastic about smearing brown stuff over a piece of white Tip Top, I was patriotic enough and supportive of Dick in trying to safe this iconic true Australian delicacy.

The blond girl at Dick Smith wasn’t too helpful and decided to; rightly so, put me in the geriatric section of IPod buyers. She kind of looked me up and down. I retaliated by staring over her shoulders at the same movie that was being played on about twenty screens against the back wall. Twenty green monsters, deep in a forest, were all blowing smoke from their nostrils, all in perfect time. I asked her earnestly if an IPod would support a shopping list and if it had a smoke alarm in case of forgetting about the pizza in the oven.  I think she got the hint that her sales service was somewhat lacking.

We then walked across the usual parking dessert of a major shopping centers, through a food court in full swing with dozens of hungry shoppers bent over their Big Macs and slurping slushies and walked into a BigW store. Now, there was a service. A sharp young man of about 17 explained very crisply the how’s and why’s of an IPod. It turns out it is an Apple product and that there are other similar products which are different and have different names. He was resolute in his explanations and ,above all, kept the information simple and precise.

This coming Sunday we will return with our grandson and his carton money box and buy him the Apple IPod.

There is hope for all of us.

Vegemite or not

April 16, 2010

August 28, 2009


Vegemite or not… by Helvi Oosterman

Leaving your mother country, you’ll leave behind mother’s home cooking and most times also Speciality foods of your nation. In my case it was the flat Finnish rye bread, which I hadn’t encountered anywhere else on my travels. The Estonian black bread became a reasonable substitute in Australia.

Some countries of course have food to die for ; their recipes have crossed the borders and we all enjoy our spaghetti Bolognese , our Danish pastries, Russian beef stroganoff and Swedish meatballs. That’s the easy bit, but what happens when visiting or moving into a foreign land, and you are offered those countries’ less known or some of their more peculiar tid bits.

First trip to Amsterdam and you are given your first raw herring with raw onions. How’s that for a new culinary experience. Not as good as roll mops out of the jar, but not bad either ; I could learn to love this. Greek olives or dolmades are easy to like, but what about the funny drink Ouzo, that could be problematic. Sweet and sour pork, Mongolian lamb don’t need getting used to but please, don’t ask me to tackle bird’s nest soup or hundred year old eggs, ever, never..

English roast dinner even with the peculiar Yorkshire pudding goes down well, but a pea soup with a pie floating in it, a floater, they call it…good for piglets at pigs Arms maybe..?  Haggis, now that’s something that only the starving amongst us dares to touch.

season's first herring. Dutch herring eater. 

New Zealanders wrap their fish in banana leaves and bury it in sand over hot coals to cook and this of course can taste fantastic, depending on type of fish and the cooking time. Kiwi friends of ours did this once; they buried their catch in the Balmain back yard…sadly the Snapper tasted like compost and smelled like burning rubber.

Getting used to Aussie food was not so hard; it was a matter of learning to like bland or plain food; the chops and the three veg. Sometimes the greens came out of tin, especially if you were eating in a road side milk bar, on your way to Brisbane. Sister in law, having been a waitress, had had her share of difficult customers, therefore she in her turn turned ‘difficile’ when dining out. Are the mushrooms fresh, she queried. Straight out of the tin, was the Taree cafe owner’s answer.

Husband had been in Australia many a year before I came, but he had never managed to even taste Vegemite. For me it was love at first sight , I have to have it at least twice a week.Our kids couldn’t be without it either; when living in Holland, we had to do with Marmite…no match to Vegemite. The jars were cute though, ideal for my dried herbs.