Breakfast spreads cause riots

The black, viscous, ‘delicious’, vegemite

The black, viscous, ‘delicious’, vegemite

Let’s step away from politics this week and talk breakfast spreads.

Apparently the French were experiencing some Nutella-related violence last week. No, people were not angry at the delicious chocolate, hazel-nut spread, they were merely frantic to get their hands on more of it as a supermarket chain, Intermarche, dropped the prices by about $5 Canadian per jar. A Twitter video of the nut-related fisticuffs was shared by many a news organization.

And of course, the parent company of Nutella — Ferrero — immediately backed away from the promotion. Backed away and then drove the bus right over Intermarche, stating the promotion was the idea of the supermarket, not the spread maker.

I wonder what would cause riots in other countries? I mean,

Would Canadians engage in fisticuffs for Timmy Ho’s coffee? Would Australians storm the grocery store for a chance at cheap vegemite?

Let’s talk about vegemite for a moment while I have your attention, Australia. What’s up with your love for the stuff?

Here’s how Wikipedia describes it. “Vegemite is a thick, black Australian food spread made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives.”

Mmm, mmm. Nothing I’d rather spread on my toast in the morning than a thick black food spread.

What’s Cooking America describes it as “thick like peanut butter, very salty and an “acquired taste”. You’re not selling me on it. Yet 22.7 million jars of it are manufactured in Australia every year.

Apparently, Australians often travel with a jar of it in their luggage in fear that they won’t find it.

It’s ingrained at an early age, as children learn the Happy Little Vegemite song.

I kid you not. It goes like this:

We are happy little Vegemites as bright as bright can be,

We all enjoy our Vegemite for breakfast, lunch and tea,

Our mummy says we’re growing stronger every single week,

Because we love our Vegemite,

We all adore our Vegemite,

It puts a rose in every cheek!

Now, lest you think the Australians are the only nation to adore a black, yeasty, viscous spread, let me tell you that before vegemite, there was marmite. In fact, marmite, made from brewer’s yeast, salt, spices and celery, was included in British soldiers’ rations in World War I. Urban legend says that British inmates use it to make moonshine, known as the Marmite Mule.

Per the Guardian: “Marmite, invented in 1902, has a very distinctive flavour. The taste is so unique as to defy description, but think of a yeasty, salty, soy sauce-esque flavor with the consistency of old engine oil.”

Sounds delicious. Mind you, the food web site chowhound.com insists that both vegemite and marmite have “umami”. And we all know that’s good, right?

BBC reports that while the original factory in Burton-on-Trent began the marmite craze, a second factory was added in London. A local history blog relates what living next to it was like. “When I was a kid we lived near the Marmite factory at Vauxhall. The smell from the factory was disgusting! People living close by applied to have their rates reduced because of the stench (they failed of course).”

Some people also claim that rather than spreading it on toast, you should spread marmite on your person, as it will repel mosquitoes.

And British shoppers became enraged as well, though no riots were reported, when the Marmite maker, Unilever, upped prices by some 12 per cent after Brexit, when the pound fell in value. The company raised the price on many products for the same reason, but the marmite price hike hit the British shopper right in the heart.

So, to summarize and generalize all at once, the sophisticated French prefer a spread made of chocolate and hazelnut — and will resort to brawls to get their hands on it. The earthier, beer-loving English and Australians prefer their ***mites, and have no problem letting their feelings be known if someone messes with them.

But what’s the better product? The only real way to solve this is to ask a person from each country to volunteer for a taste test/fist fight. Do we have any local ex-pats who might be interested?

Carolyn Grant is Editor of the Kimberley Bulletin

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kimberley case counts not at the point for 18 years and older community vaccination, says Interior Health. (File photo)
Many factors considered for smaller community-wide vaccination: Interior Health

East Kootenay resort town’s COVID-19 situation not at the point of community-wide vaccination, say officials

1914
It happened this week in 1914

April 18 - 24: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers held at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

While pharmacies across B.C. are using AstraZeneca for public immunizations for people 40 years of age and older, there is no availability currently in the Kootenays. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
No AstraZeneca vaccine availability in Kootenay pharmacies, says Interior Health

Vaccine has been opened up at pharmacies in other areas of the province to people 40 years of age and older

Balsamroot, pictured here, can be found on Sunflower Hill in the Kimberley Nature Park, Eager Hill, Wycliffe Buttes, and many other areas across the Rocky Mountain Trench. (Paul Rodgers file)
Spring’s yearly spectacle of balsamroot

Ever year in May, balsamroot emerges for a brief showy period

Today, on April 22, over 1 billion people will come together – virtually – to mark Earth Day.(Pixabay)
Earth Day 2021: a time to reflect

By Ruth Kamnitzer Today, on April 22, over 1 billion people will… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read