Friday, May 12, 2006

Aussie Tucker

My Dad is in Australia right now (hi, Dad!). Here's a little packed lunch in honor of his once (and future?) home.

First, could it be? Yes! It's a Vegemite sandwich! I made the "Love It or Leave It Vegemite Sandwich" from Vegetarians in Paradise -- a thin layer of Vegemite, veggie ham, pineapple, and grated carrot. Next to the sandwich are a side of baked potato crisps.

And even though it cost a fortune, I couldn't resist packing in a fresh paw paw (papaya). My grandmother grew up near her Uncle's paw paw farm in Queensland, and told stories of plucking them ripe from the trees and eating them in the shade. She missed them when they moved to America; back then fresh papaya was something you could only dream about in the deserts of eastern Washington.

For dessert, I used my Twinkie pan to make Lamingtons -- sponge cakes dipped in chocolate and rolled in coconut (follow the link to the recipe, but watch out or you'll be eating chocolate icing for breakfast with a spoon...or no, maybe that's just me...).

Verdict: Americans, don't go flipping out on me ("Vegemite? Now you've gone too far, Jennifer Shmoo!"). Vegemite and its English cousin, Marmite, are actually quite good! Spread thinly, they have a salty, savory, beefy taste that reminds me of strong miso. But pineapple on a sandwich? Shmoo thinks that's just crazy-talk, and asked that it be removed. He got inspired by my Aussie stories and took his wooden hopping kangaroo for show-and-tell; I wish I had gotten it in the picture. Now how do you pack paw paw without it getting a bit mushy? 4 stars.

75 comments:

Andrea said...

Dear Mrs. Schmoo,
As a vegetarian leaning towards veganism, I always frind your son's lunches to be delicious looking and inspirational.
But vegemite? Vegemite??? Bleeeerch! (For the record, I have disliked vegemite since Aussie friends had me taste it and marmite since attempting it on toast while in England)

Oh well, you can't win'em all.

Sincerely yours,
A Canadian-born vegemite-opposed fan

PS: But I really do love your blog! Really!

thesundaybaker said...

Hi
I have been reading this blog for sometime. I can't express how impress I am that you create such wonderful lunches for your child.
Like Andrea I'm Canadian born and Vegetarian however I love Vegemite and it's British cousin Marimite. In Vancouver,British Columbia there is an Aussie bakery chain "Cobs" (Baker's Delight in "Down Under") that makes Cheese and Vegemite Buns!. Mmm...
Maybe you want to try making a vegan version for Shmoo.

Jennifershmoo said...

I remember a French foreign exchange teacher back in high school telling us she liked America, but thought peanut butter was the most disgusting thing she had ever eaten.

Pram Brain said...

Mmm Marmite - the best ever thing in the whole world. In England, they advertise it saying you either love it or hate it. There is no in between in seems. Good for vitamin B12 too. Yummy!

KaiVegan said...

Wow, lil Shmoo's lunches are so diverse, he is so blessed! It makes me wonder what kinds of foods he will enjoy when he's older. Probably more varieties than what some of us have known or eaten.

We also had papaya trees in the backyard back home and I remembered eating them fresh from the trees after my older siblings picked them, and not without singing a folksong that centers around a papaya tree.

vegineer said...

i am *always* very open-minded when it comes to trying new things. so when i went on a mission to try vegemite/marmite, i put all the negative things i'd heard out of my head. but when i bit into a slice of toast spread with the thinnest layer of vegemite, i almost gagged. sorry, but i just don't understand the appeal of that rancid stuff, ha!

ningostar said...

hi jennifer, i am a long time reader, but first time commenter...

i was an exchange student in sydney when i was in high school. on my first day of classes i brought a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to school. my host sister told me that if i brought one to school again, she wouldn't sit with me in anymore. she said that because i was living in sydney, i had to eat like an australian. well--- it was vegemite from that day on. took a while to get used to, but i fell in love with it! i still love it! it has actually turned into quite a comfort food for me and, every time i eat it, it brings back such wonderful memories.

thanks for inspiring all of us.

becky

Emily said...

I think marmite and vegemite are an acquired taste. My friends in England wax on about how comforting it is on toast when they are sick. To me, it's just gross. But then, one of my friends visited me in America and tried root beer for the first time and he thought it was absolutely repulsive. It's not my favorite, but it's not that bad.

Katherine said...

Wow, lots of Canadians here...I'm Canadian too =) but what on earth is Vegemite and Marmite? I better do some research...
As for papayas without the mushiness, maybe freeze them as the weather gets warmer? They're quite cheap where I live, but I haven't been able to find nutritionial yeast here...
I recommend konjac jelly/devil's tongue/konnyaku, btw

Vegan Knitting said...

Katherine - Nutritional yeast keeps really well. You can order it online from many different companies.

Sarah said...

Hi, I am an Aussie and it is great to sdee someone other than us Aussies liking vegemite. It really is a staple over here. There is nothing like vegemite on toast and cup of tea to cheer you up on a bad day.
We would generally have the vegemite only with butter on a sandwich, although it is not uncommon to add cheese as well.

Vegan Knitting said...

Oh, and I think that sandwich sounds gross too, although I'm a HUGE Marmite fan. (I can't eat vegemite because it has sulfites in it.)

future poet said...

When you made babka yesterday I was about ready to kidnap your kid and substitute myself in his place. But LAMINGTONS?! I hope Little Shmoo realizes how good he has it.

Arline said...

When I was a kid -- this was California -- there was a song on Captain Kangaroo that went, "Picking up Paw Paws; putting them in my pocket". Never thought they were talking about papayas. Would have made for messy pockets if they were ripe.

Alisha said...

I just want to say thank you so much for the work you do on your blogsite! I love checking out your lunchbox ideas and great recipes!

Keep up the good work~you have a family of fans down here in South Carolina!

~Alisha Duhon~

vegineer said...

just wanted to chime in that i'm canadian too, and in vancouver!

root beer, gross? weird, i love it! it's so interesting to see how tastes differ around the world. i think it just goes to show, variety really is the spice of life.

Alisha said...

I forgot to ask if you have any sort of avatar link that I could display on my Myspace site? I would love to get more people to check out your lunch boxes since they really encourage a heathier lifestyle for our children!

Carole said...

Vegemite? Wow ... Schmoo is brave. But to mix veggie ham, pineapple and vegemite? uhhh ... no thanks!

Fastveggie said...

Ok, ok, I went and created a name and everything to post. I haven't posted since you allowed anonymous posters (and I was always a nice one!)

The paw paw that Capt Kangaroo referred to was probably not Papaya. Well, maybe it was, but I'm guessing here...There are paw-paw trees here in North America. I used to live near Paw-Paw, West Virginia and they would have been offended if you confused their yummy paw paws with papayas. :-)


Amazing lunch as always!

Fastveggie said...

Forgot the link...

http://www.pawpaw.kysu.edu/ppf/

Una said...

Yaay I love vegemite!! I'm American but my mom is from New Zealand so we eat a lot of "down under" food. And lamingtons are so delicious!!

DDawnC said...

Sheesh, I'm really gonna have to try this stuff someday! It SOUNDS very strange as described in the sandwich recipe you linked, but I am curious now to find out for myself.
Once again, your effort and creativity astound. :)

Policygirl said...

Hi Jennifer,
First time commenting, hope I don't blab on. I got very excited when I realized that the sandwhich has vegemite. Just so happen that last week I picked up a bottle of vegemite at Cost Plus.

Before last week, the last time I had vegemite was at least 25 years ago. I have very vivid childhood memory of grandma mixing something beefy and delicious tasting into my rice porriage whenever I refuse to eat. I was a kid who hated meat even then, so gramdma stirred vegemite into the porriage and concealed some beef broth in there to lure me into eating.

For a long time now, I had been trying to figure out what it was that got added to the porriage. When I came across vegemite last week, I had a hunch that the little yellow bottle was the things I loved as a kid growing up in Taiwan.

I can see how first impression of the paste leaves little to be desired. It does have a strong medicinal aroma. But mixing it into soup, rice, noodle, porriage, or sauce, and it take me back to grandma's house in Taiwan.

I would love to hear more ways people use vegemite.

Thanks for having a place where people can share their food and vegan experience.

Comma said...

I agree with Shmoo, pineapple in a sandwich does seem quite wrong.
I'd never thought of having Marmite (food of the gods) with anything other than just margarine.

JA_AV said...

Nice lunch box! I love lamingtons. I also love vegemite/marmite but probably not in the same sandwich as pineapple :P

couscouscaboose said...

Ah, so funny! One of the kids in my preschool keeps saying, "What's a paw paw patch? What's a paw paw patch?" because it's in a song on one of his CDs. I didn't know paw paws were papayas! Mystery solved!

This has nothing to do with the lunch, but I'm glad you posted it.

Penelope said...

I can't believe I found a recipe for vegan lamingtons! I'm Australian and been away from home for 7 years - reading about a vegemite sanga and lams for lunch is GREAT!

Rumbly in my Tumbly said...

So did shmoo eat all of his sandwich? How did he like the vegemite?

Barbara said...

I just don't know what I will do come summer when there are no new lunches to read about! *whines* Hopefully fall will come quick!

Barbara

Class said...

pineapple in a sandwich, crazy talk?! never! the very best sandwiches have pineapple in them.

y'know, i've never once seen vegemite or marmite on the shelves here in toronto. what on earth does it taste like?

Essie said...

In my meat-eating days I used to enjoy pineapple with chicken.
It is also delicious on a grilled cheese sandwich.
I believe there are actualy pizza created with pineapple and named Hawaian Pizza

I tried marmite once and never again. bleeegh
In Holland we like sweet stuff like chocolate on our (white) bread. chocolate sprinkles and flakes that is used in the US for decorating a cake,is a topping in Holland.....

vegren said...

I love marmite! I eat it nearly every day for B12 goodness.

Oh, and sweet sweet lamingtons. Thanks for the recipe!

Can't stand paw paw though... and I don't know about pineapple on sandwiches... but on burgers and pizzas it's great... Beetroot belongs on sandwiches and burgers though!

Echo said...

I'm a vegetarian in Texas and
I've been in a work-related seminar for the last week.

Breakfast and lunch were catered in.

It was horrible. EVERYTHING involved meat. Breakfast was always sausage, egg and cheese breakfast burritos. The sausage was too tiny and mixed in too well to take out.

Lunch was either club sandwiches or BBQ.

After the second day (I held out hope), I started bringing my own lunch. But it sucked because I wished I didn't have to. The woman in charge of the seminar was really nice and told me who to talk to about asking for a veggie sandwich for the next day and I went to talk to the woman, who blew me off and said "if you don't eat meat, you're on your own."

Nice. Sorry for venting, it's just very frustrating to eat a bag of chips and a pickle for lunch.

There wasn't even any fruit with the breakfasts.

earthbiscuit said...

I, like many, really enjoy your blog. I've been a vegan for 2 years and am impressed with your seemingly endless stream of clever lunch ideas. I don't know anyone who gets as creative with their food (vegan or not).
In addition to offering praise, I wanted to second the suggestion about frozen papaya. If Shmoo's teeth aren't sensitive to the cold this can also be a great way to eat the tropical orange flesh.
When I lived in Belize fresh papaya was abundant... even so, I often froze it, creating a delicious warm weather treat.
I also love frozen mango, red grapes, and of course bananas, but peaches and pineapple-- also tasty. Plus if you have frozen fruit on hand in the freezer a great smoothie is never more than a few minutes away.

Mr. Goodkat said...

sorry about the question but... what's Vegemite?

The Super Bongo said...

This is just too strange. Last night, at a charity event, the local agricultural coordinator told me of a farm where I can get blackberries later this summer. Then, he mentioned that this farm also has Paw Paws. The friend I was talking to was delighted to hear this and he and she had this little mini conversation about paw paws.

Since I'm not from this area of the world, I was a tad clueless. I asked the spouse this morning what a paw paw is -and got the same blank stare I gave last night.

Then, today, in your blog, you answer my question. How's that for having your finger on the pulse?

sarchan said...

This American loves Marmite! <3 And I also second the toasted (vegan) cheese & Marmite/Vegemite sandwich.

shinyruby said...

from a born and bred aussie - you really do have to have vegemite with cheese! i love vegemite and only have it with cheese on crispbread, maybe with tomato as well. yum!

and speaking of paw paw, i religiously use lucas's paw paw ointment as lip gloss, and also hand cream. this stuff (in a bright red tube) is so popular around here - you can use it for bites, nappy rash, dry hands, cuts, and yep, lip gloss. all natural... yet another use for the delish paw paw!

Glad you could 'visit' us in Oz, jennifershmoo! greetings from Down Under :)

ps - we used to have lamington drives at primary school where the parents would come in and whip them up, and we'd sell them off.. yummmmm. drool!

zoe said...

Another aussie coming out of the woodwork here.

Yes, pineapple on a sandwich is truly crazy-talk. On the other hand, vegemite and alfalfa sprouts on rye crackers is good - I discoverd it once when messing around with making lunches for hiking.

Asia said...

^.^ Yay, vegemite! I first expirienced it when an exchange student from Australia came to my school. How I miss it though as no place near me seems to keep it in stock.

Mellie said...

Hello all,
I too am an Aussie thats been reading this wonderful blog for a few months! Yay the Aussie lunch, although I personally am a vegemite purist who can only have it with margarine on fresh or toasted bread.
I'm not sure if the 'what is vegemite?' question was answered but I'll answer it anyway: vegemite is this extremely salty spread that has the consistency of something like a very dry peanut butter and is made from yeast extract.
It is something of an acquired taste and can be very overpowering if spead too thick. I've heard it called axel grease by some overseas individuals as it is really black and kinda gross looking (a picture is on wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegemite)

Its brilliant stuff!

Thanks for the Lamington recipe! I never thought to even attempt to make a vegan version!

Ally said...

Lamingtons! Yes! I was resigning myself to a life without them (and being Australian, I think that's a crime!) but woo! Now I know what I'm making for Sunday treats!

And Vegemite! I was so happy to see it in one of Schmoo's lunches! It's definitely a staple though even Australian's have a love/hate relationship with it upon first taste. My brother hates it, but the rest of my family is addicted and it's the only thing I put on bread when it comes to sandwich spreads.

This sounds like great lunch and I'm going to have to try is for myself!

Happy Little Vegemite said...

Yea, an Australian themed lunch! My daughter takes vegemite and cheese sandwiches to school quite often.

Another Aussie-type sandwich that Schmoo might like is a salad sandwich, which has lots of fresh veggies, like shredded carrot, cucumbers, radish, lettuce, and always pickled beet-root in it.

Dobsonites said...

Pineapple in a sandwich, is indeed a crime in some parts of the world. Well, at least it should be!
Other sandwiches to try: Vegemite and lettuce, and also Vegemite and Salt & Vinegar Chips/Crisps (sounds weird, but it totally works, at least when you're a kid!)
FYI: What I heard was that Vegemite is owned by a company that's owned by Phillip Morris (the tobacco company), so we switched to Marmite, owned by Sanitarium.

Angry Grandma said...

the place i just started working at offers vegemite for bagels because one of the owners is australian. i'd like to try it, because i've seen it on tv and all, but i am afraid to, because id on't know how it's supposed to be prepared. my manager said that the owner said it's all about mixing it with butter. but i don't know how to do that either (and by butter i mean margarine).

so, how would you suggest i do this? it's a cafe, and my only option is to put it on a bagel. we also have margarine, tomato, banana, scallions, apple butter, cucumber, and nutella that i could somehow blend in. i suppose i could bring some tofurky from home, but that is more complicated.

melissananda said...

that you jennifer for sharing your appreciation of the more-versatile-than-credited vegemite. i discovered the many uses of vegemite while backpacking across oz, a hungry vegan in the land of bush tucker. vegemite and tomato sandwiches were quite the savior. try adding hummus, avocado, tomato, and vegemite to some sprouted toast! it's amazing, mate!

Morgyn said...

Hooray for Vegemite! I love it on bagels or sourdough toast. :)

Papaya can be kept fresh with a bit of lime juice, and it tastes much better! I have to tell you, though, that neither papaya nor crisps are terribly Australian. ;)

Angry Grandma - you don't need to blend the two or anything, you just toast the bagel, spread the margarine on it and then spread the Vegemite on it, just like any other spread. :)

Christy_Ann said...

Greetings from Sydney! Excellent lunch today. Keep up the good work - I really love your blog.

kristy said...

I'm australian and love vegemite spread thinly in patches (its all about moderation with the stuff) on toast with vegan maragarine and a springle of nutrtional yeast. I've got my chinese fiance addicted to it too.

But vegan lamingtons well done! I've missed them since turning vegan.

And well done for a pretty authentic aussie lunch. I saw the aussie part and thought to myself 'oh noooo please don't let it be mock kangaroo or something horribly fake australian'. Every time I see australian pub/restaurants overseas they serve kangaroo something which very few aussies actually eat.

Renée Robinson said...

I'm another Australian living in Melbourne. Thank you for packing a wonderful Aussie lunch for Shmoo. Children here particularly like vegemite and butter on salada biscuit sandwiches (they have little holes in them) and when you squeeze them together little vegemite worms appear. What fun!
I like my vegemite sandwiches with cheese, and sometimes I have them with cheese and celery. Sounds gross, but it's delicious if you try it.
Now I have to buy some lamingtons tomorrow!

Taleia said...

An aussie lunch! How cool. I have always been a sucker for the completely awesome aussie accent (terrible, I know. But I'm an accent nut). I think half the reason I like Lost is because there are so many australians in it!

veganmum said...

Wonderful!!!

I'm not Australian, but a New Zealander by marriage who really misses lamingtons! I went vegan while living in NZ, and I've never made them myself, so it's been a long time.

As for Vegemite, it is very sparsely used around here because it is SO expensive in Canada, for such a tiny jar. I keep meaning to ask relatives to send it by the caseful for our Christmas present each year, but never remember...

(I prefer vegemite on its own, though, with just margarine. I can't quite imagine it with pineapple!)

Angel said...

I just bought some marmite today from the grocery store. When I get around to trying it, I'll get dh to make it up for me as he's a pro (British). I was quite surprised at how expensive it was for such a tiny jar. It was almost $5CAD!

Stuff You Should Know said...

I can't say I disagree.

Carrie™ said...

Class, I'm in Burlington and I can get Marmite and Vegemite at Fortino's which is one of the "Loblaw's group of stores", so maybe try Loblaw's.
My uncle lives in England, but grew up in Canada and says everyone in England eats Marmite and he thinks it's vile stuff. His girlfriend is English and she loves it. Eats tons of it. I have some but use it when making a recipe of PETA's seiten or for riching up broths in soups & stews or in gravy. We don't much care for it otherwise.

leila said...

dear jennifer,

the mites rock. vegemite is now owned by Kraft, which, in turn, is owned by Philip Morris (the tobacco company) ... or so say Adbusters. so marmite is an alternative, and i think it's a bit sweeter than vegemite.

i'm a kiwi, so having marmite is totally necessary in our flat, and my american husband eats it sometimes, with toast. i think he's inuring himself to it. i like it with (vegan) cream cheese, as well.

and buh tuh wuh, i think that english marmite is heaps stronger than the antipodean versions.

jennifer, SUCH a cool suprise to see your aussie lunch today. thank you.

love from leila

leila said...

p.s. are you doing culturally themed lunches? american, jewish, aussie ...

Fastveggie said...

I promise I am not paid by the paw paw industry, but it seems people did not read my previous post :-) The PAW PAW in kids songs (unless they are not American songs) are probably NOT about papayas.

A paw paw is a North American fruit. A very yummy one, too!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/foodprogramme_20050109.shtml

"Pawpaw and papaya are botanically very different fruits, but the cause of much confusion especially in Britain where the word pawpaw is frequently applied to the papaya. ..."

And this, http://www.pawpaw.kysu.edu/ppf/ is the Paw Paw foundation.

Check it out! I promise it's a different fruit, and though everyone can go on calling papayas paw paws, I encourage you to check out the real thing, too, if you're lucky enough to be able to get them :-)

Deb said...

I love vege and marmite. As a kid I used to put it on a spoon and lick it like a popsicle. I think it's the salt.

I am in Vancouver too and right near Cobs, but didn't know they made buns like this. Thanks I will check them out.

Thanks for all your hard work on this blog. Your lunches are extraordinaire.

Raedog said...

Yeah Vegemite!! I grew up eating it, and give it to my kids now. I use it as an alternative to beef boullion in recipes. I know that is probably PC to eat Marmite because of Vegemite's tobacco connection, but I can't stand the taste of it. I love Lamingtons also, so I can't wait to try the vegan version!! Thanks so much.

R2K said...

As always great looking.

Sheryle said...

I've tried Marmite. Blech. But pineapple in a sandwich reminds my of my childhood. Mom used to make these awesome veggie burgers that were piled high with topping which always included a pineapple ring. The juices dripped to our elbows. Awesome!

Diana said...

Mmm, vegemite. My favourite is actually vegemite & peanutbutter on a sandwich - yum! I grew up eating it so never thought that it was weird at all.
Now peanut butter & jam/jelly, now that's revolting :P
Every culture has something that someone else from another culture would find yucky I think.

Diana

likewo said...

oh this is hilarious because i was at world market the other day and saw the little vegemite jars and wondered if anyone used it.

also, pineapple is wonderful on everything!

Essy said...

Pineapple in a sandwich? Well, okay. I eat it on pizza, so sure.

Vegemite or Marmite on a sandwich? Yes! I love that stuff.

But both? I'm with Schmoo on this one. Such extremes of sweetness and saltiness were not meant to co-exist within the same mouthful.


However the Lamington is six different types of awesome and you have made me totally crave papayas, so the lunchbox still gets a big thumbs up.

Vegetarian Cooker said...

Mmm, it's smell good!
Sandwich+potato crisp are super!

Indian Crispy Rolls

Ocyrrhoe said...

I'm not sure about how to keep papaya from getting mushy, but i do know something to add to make it tastier - lime juice squeezed over it! - its better than sugar or salt when the fruit isnt that sweet.

Jennifershmoo said...

Thanks, Paraks & Morgyn, for the tip on squeezing lime juice over papaya! I'll give it a try next time I'm feeling rich enough to buy a fresh papaya.

Occula said...

Reader response seems to vary on the topic, but I'm pretty sure pawpaws and papaya aren't the same thing - pawpaws used to grow wild on my parents' farm in the American Ozarks, and I'm also familiar with the "Pickin' up pawpaws, puttin' 'em in your pocket" song from early childhood. But you've inspired me to do a little searching to find out ...

Occula said...

Ah! I did find a site that said the Pawpaw is native to the U.S. but that the tropical papaya Carica papaya is also called a Pawpaw in Australia! So there ya go.

Amy O'Neill Houck said...

Mmm.... Lamingtons... I'll have to try that recipe--where do you get the twinkie pan?

orangek8 said...

Yeah, the paw paw fruit is pretty common in the Appalachian area. They sort of taste like a mix between a banana and an apple. Every year here, there is a paw paw festival where there is paw paw EVERYTHING! And every fall, this local brewery makes a Paw Paw Wheat beer, which is like a golden ray of sunshine being poured into my throat. Seriously the best beer of all.

Smitty said...

I love vegemite; then again, I was started on it very young by an Australian mother. It is wonderful for you and I think it tastes delicious! I love it on toast with margarine. YUM!

red said...

thank you



sohbet
muhabbet
mirc
sevgi

Steven said...

That seems like a very lovely Australian vegan meal. Although it's very tempting, I really am trying to cut down on desserts. Lol. I want a twinkie now. Lol.