To the unfamiliar tongue, Vegemite is a strange taste with which to make an acquaintance. It has a strange texture, a strange smell and, frankly, a sort of general strangeness. I love it. I could live on it. It is as comforting to me as a night on the couch with my Mum, watching Midsomer Murders. Thanks to my friends and Mum, I always have a jar on hand and can often be spotted trying to force unsuspecting, sweet-toothed Germans to smear their breakfast brötchen with a bit of the dark stuff. In my time, I have had a few successes. There was the student who enjoyed it so much at our end-of-course-breakfast, that he not only ate the sample brötchen, but prepared himself a second! I never succeeded with my flatmate, who regarded my vibrantly lidded pots with unabashed suspicion throughout our entire time together, but this morning, I succeeded with a very stubborn nut, the one and only SG.
SG has long been open with his distaste for Vegemite. Early on, I adopted a stealth tactic with him. Instead of forcing Vegemite upon him at every breakfast, I simply reintroduced it every few weeks as if it were a new discovery.
‘Oh, look, have you tried Vegemite yet? It is really delicious on toast, with lots of butter.’
‘I tried it last time. It’s pervy.’
Recently, however, I have noticed his little eyes alighting on the jar far more often than at previous breakfast times, and the other day, off his own bat, he took a bite of my Vegemite and cheese toast … and didn’t grimace as if I had forced him to eat a nail sandwich to prove his manhood. And then this morning, it happened. Distracted by the Senseo (my current favourite household item) I wasn’t paying attention to the happenings at the breakfast table. The usual condiment suspects were trotted out and SG manned the toaster (currently residing on the window sill of the dining room, until we get a kitchen). Returning with my steaming, medium-strength Kenyan brew, I sat down and began to butter my toast. My whopping, 600g jar of Vegemite sat between our plates, and I thought nothing of its proximity to SG. Then he held out his slice, peeled back the cheese and there, evenly spread beneath it, was a dark layer of Vegemite. Of his own volition, completely without stealth-prompting, because he wanted to, SG was eating Vegemite toast.It was one of my proudest moments. Ever. I am going to give it a week or so before I try for the morning cup of black tea with milk.