Must haves: Vegemite on toast with sunny side eggs on top. Vegemite and avocado on toast – yum. And my personal favourite, fresh white bread with lashings of butter and thick vegemite!
When we lived in the USA Vegemite would often come up in conversation. Along with the perplexed look was a genuine interest in why any human being would eat something so savoury with the visual properties of 20-year-old grease. They don’t understand – it is a religion, a commitment and one of the highest sources of vitamin B1! Now of course the iconic brand is owned by Kraft, which is a USA company. The only thing I like about that is telling Americans that they own it!
It got me thinking why one culinary fetish is devoured in one country but not in another. We all have the same tastebud mechanism, right? So why does one community love deep fried crickets and another community vegemite, or axle grease as we like to call it in Australia?
It appears the same with cultural differences. Except if I am honest, I am a little less tolerant especially when it goes against my personal belief. That’s when it gets complicated – very. My reluctance to look objectively can be dangerous.
Many cultures believe in initiations that seem barbaric to me but are a powerful rite of passage for others. I was watching T.V. the other day and saw the infamous beginnings of bungy jumping. Some men of Vanuatu ‘land jump’ by wrapping a vine around their ankles and falling 30 meters with no elasticity in the vine. It makes for an immediate stop and probably some sort of physical damage. It is to ensure a better yam crop and prove masculinity amongst other things.
Really… a better crop and a road to masculinity? But wait… maybe I am missing something? It is so easy to put a blanket view over anything that is not my normal. No yam loving bungy jumper will probably understand why we Australians are slowly eating ourselves to death either.
It makes sense. I have one view with many biases. How arrogant of me to frame my little world around a very big world. It is food for thought (pardon the pun) when there is a heightened sensitivity to everything that isn’t an ‘Australian or western view’. There is much we don’t understand about other places and other people. I hope we get a moment to slow down before we force everyone to like vegemite…
Unashamed ad placement (unsolicited of course) – Vanuatu is suffering terribly after Cyclone Pam unleashed her wrath. I work at World Vision, the people in the field are a good mob and they know what they are doing. You can donate with confidence if you feel stirred.
Click here: Help Vanuatu