Thursday, October 12, 2006

Happy Little Vegemite

Vegemite... I'm sure all of you up in the "other hemisphere" have heard the term: Vegemite

There was a telly commercial yonks ago down here with a couple of happy, sappy ankle-biters singing a song,"...We're happy little vegemites..." It was in black and white so down here that means in the early '80's. Not really, 50's I believe.

In case you are interested, Kraft (tm) now owns Vegemite. They were going to try to compete with it down here with their own version, but they just decided to buy the company and keep the name and recipe as Vegemite. Pretty fucking shrewd marketing, eh?

OT: you may have noticed my use of eh? at the end of some sentences. The proper pronuskiashun should be the Canadian type of eh? I believe it would be a long "a" in dictionary terms. Remember when Bob and Doug McKenzie were popular in the Lower 48? In the early 80's lot's of folks would be saying "Take off, eh?" Since I'm from the interior of Alaska (NOT Los Anchorage) I knew a lot of Canadians so I kinda picked up the "eh?" thingy.

Back to Vegemite...

So, like what the hell is Vegemite? Yes, I heard you ask that! Not only can I see in the dark, but I can peer into cyberspace too.

Vegemite is "Concentrated Yeast Extract". And it's a dark brown colour (color). And it has a VERY strong flavor (flavour). And it's "one of the world's richest sources of Vitamin B". And it has a VERY strong flavour (flavor). Did I mention that it is strong tasting?

It should be used as a spread on toast or a sandwich (usually with butter --in fact, the butter in our butter dish has brown streaks in it... FROM THE VEGEMITE YOU PERVERTS!!!!) It should not be used as a "dip" as some dipsticks in the US do when they are first presented with a jar of Vegemite. If you use it as a "dip", then you will HATE it for the rest of your life and all of your future lives too. Forewarned you are.

What the hell does Vegemite have to do with today's post, and where the hell is Storytime with Unkie dave? Yes, I heard you ask that too. The answer is that you'll just have to wait till the recipe section, so there!

Storytime with Unkie dave:

Dave and a Lynx (note, this story involves bicycles, but it's not a "cycling blog thingy" so it's safe for normal folk)

Back in my youth in Alaska, I used to ride a mountain bike pretty much everywhere. Oh I can here you now, "But dave, mountain bikes weren't invented when you were a youth, sheesh, BIKES weren't even invented then!" So true, but the youth I refer to is my late 20's, so there.

This story takes place on one of my bicycle rides betwixt Squarebanks and Anchortown, 360 miles (side note: 30 hours on a fully loaded mountain bike, thank you very much). I was heading north with a friend of mine, Rich. Rich was also one of my fencing students, cycling bud, and racquetball partner.

We were getting close to Denali park, going uphill, beautiful sunny fall day, and we decided to take a break. Unfortunately, there was no place to take a break except for the shoulder of the road (8 foot wide shoulder, wee-hoo). So we leaned our bikes up against the guardrail and stretched out on the warm asphalted road shoulder. Did I mention it was in the middle of Touron (Tourist + Moron) season? Well, it was.

Imagine this: you are a couple of grey (gray) haired old geysers in a winnie-bago driving through Alaska on the trip of a lifetime and you see two cyclists stretched out on the shoulder of the road in the middle of nowhere. Naturally, you'd stop to see if the dummies are ok. MANY FUCKING HUNDREDS OF BLOODY GOOD SAMARITANS LATER, Rich and I decided to ride on and find a "quieter" place to stop. Fortunately, we found one.

Early the next morning (5 am) we were back on the bikes heading north --Shut Up! I'm getting to the Lynx!-- cus all the weiner-bago type Tourons were still asleep and we figured we'd have the road to ourselves. We were right.

Picture this: Dawn, clear sky, mountains all around, total silence (I know how to oil my chain). A hundred meters (metres, yards) up the road a large, four-legged, furry critter detaches itself from the bushes and warily stalks across the pavement.

At first you think it's a wolf, but then you notice the HUGE tufted ears (werewolf perhaps????) and high hindquarters. As you ride closer, two massive luminous eyes turn towards you and you see they aren't wolf eyes, but cat eyes. Gee, you didn't know cats are made that BIG. Four large furry paws pad silently across the road and disappear into the field you are approaching --the paws took the cat with them too.

As you ride pass the field you and your friend scan the meadow for any evidence of the BIG CAT's passing. You slow down to try to get a good look... Seeing nothing, you are just about to stop to have a better look... You happen to look down... You notice that less than 10 feet away from you in the underbrush are the two biggest eyes and the two biggest ears you've ever seen on a furry critter. You also notice the BIG CAT is hunched down, GETTING READY TO POUNCE!

That was the day that I learned how to REALLY sprint on a bicycle --Hell, Robbie McEwen could've learned a thing or two from us that day.

Ahhhh, good ole adrenaline and endorphins...

Ok, food time:

Remember all the stuff about Vegemite earlier? Well, this is called Olivemite. As much as I'd like to take credit for the name, I can't. A few months ago myself and The Most Wonderful Woman In The Entire World were driving through Mclaren Vale --it's a great place, over a hundred wineries right at the doorstep! Take a note, dave: blog about wineries soon.

Anyways, we stopped at an olive shop to get some specialty olives and we noticed they had a jar of something labeled Olivemite. It was fucking GREAT! Bought some --wee-hoo! Had a look at the ingredients later on and I thought to myself, "Shit, I can make that! And it won't cost much either."

So, here is how to make dave's Olivemite

What you need:

200 grams (just under a cup) of pitted Kalamata Olives***
1-2 heads roasted garlic
olive oil

*** Don't use regular black olives... It will taste like shit if you do --you've been warned

What you do:

This is simple. Chuck it all into a food processor and process it till it's done. The more olive oil you add the creamier it is.

Your taste buds will thank me for this one, guaranteed.


Karen said...

Oooooo I bet the big kitty was pretty though!

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

I have yet to see a prettier cat.

Virginia said...

Vegemite is the most disgusting thing I have ever eaten. It tastes like the flavor packet from Top Ramen.

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Good analogy (I think). So, like, umm, are you admitting that you actually use the ramen flavouring packets?

Virginia said...

I haven't touched Top Ramen in almost 8 years. After literally living off of it for 6 months, the thought of it makes me gag.

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

We've all had to live on ramen at some point. I think it should be part of growing up for every kid; it'll make you learn how to cook cheaply really quick-like.