What’s Wrong with the World

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Revolting Cuisine

An "appreciation" of two of the vilest foodstuffs concocted by members of our race, this article on hakarl and Vegemite is not to be missed. One cannot fail to be impressed by a piece of writing which likens the horrific experience of eating Hakarl to being told by the Almighty that Who Moved My Cheese?, that breathtakingly obscene bit of corporate human-resources agitprop (Its message is essentially that workers should learn to love being treated as fungible pieces of meat, and that this is liberating.), and not the Good Book, is one's scripture. Nor can one fail to be entertained by writing which associates the evil of Vegemite, with its red and yellow label, with other red and yellow indicators of evil. Such as international communism.

Comments (15)

Hilarious. However, when he names fast food as one of the poisons, it recall's P.J. O'Rourke's essay on a visit to Europe where he kept getting pelted with complaints of Americans taking over everything and putting it, "McDonalds everywhere" but noticing that McDonalds was a vast improvement over some of the swill he encountered.

I have never tried Vegemite, but I am a big fan of its Brit cousin, Marmite. It's like anchovy paste minus the fishiness! Yum!

As one of my friends said, describing it to someone else, "It looks like axle grease, but doesn't taste as good." My rejoinder is that anything made from the dregs of beer can't be all bad...


I've had the same experience while traveling in several European countries; the trouble in generalizing on the basis of that experience is that the native cuisines of those nations, when prepared traditionally and respectfully, easily surpass in quality and salubriousness anything one can find at a fast-food joint.


I've never sampled Marmite, though I'm not exactly pining for the opportunity. Then again, I don't eat anchovy paste. British cuisine is not noted for an exquisite dedication to the subtleties of the palate.

A friend who played pro basketball in Australia first told me about the horrors of Vegemite. There's a clip from the time of the Sydney Olympics of a news anchor tasting some Vegemite. She lost ALL decorum, spit it out and grabbed her co-anchor's glass of water to get the foul taste out of her mouth.

I am surprised and disappointed to see this post appear, only five days after Robbie Burns Day - the day of The Haggis, that "great chieftain o' the puddin'-race" - with nary a mention thereunto.

Is there nae mare respect for the *traditionally* inedible?

What's gone wrong with the world???

The Haggis. Ah, I feel a great shame that I know so little about the history and cultural associations of the thing. My only associations for it are to some 90s-vintage British motorcycle magazines, in which comic-strip characters would consume haggis ravenously, and then submit to the inevitable vomiting - a poor association indeed, but one at least indicative of the degraded state of British culture. (One can read about motorcycles and do armchair sociology!)

"90s-vintage British motorcycle magazines"...

Well. I suppose we all knew that such things existed.

But that you had once read such things is something I would not have guessed.

I assume that it was only once - in the course of sociological research...

Well, I ride motorcycles, so I read the magazines from time to time. At the time that I read them more avidly, it was a hobby of mine to emulate professional racers while riding on the public roads, a practice which culminated in an epiphany achieved on a mountain pass in New Hampshire, as the speedometer of the bike I was riding climbed past 167 mph, with another gear remaining: If I continued riding in this manner on public roads I would die, not at some distant moment of time, but imminently. The British publications run the gamut, from the seamy and semi-pornographic, and best avoided, to the rather more literate, and on that end of the spectrum, they are superior to the American equivalents. The American magazines, quite typically, fall right in the middle, though some of them have improved in recent years.

I rather enjoy, not merely the pleasures of riding in the company of family and friends, but of transgressing the stereotypes of motorcyclists, who are typically expected to be unkempt, loutish, and devoid of any semblance of propriety.

"I've never sampled Marmite, though I'm not exactly pining for the opportunity"

My guess would be, Jeff, that any subtle differences between Vegemite and Marmite would go unremarked. In other words, I'm pretty sure that if you've tasted one, you've basically tasted the other.

There are many foods I don't like all that well but can eat in a pinch. Probably the only thing I've ever eaten that I've found absolutely revolting is tripe, although I also wouldn't willingly ever eat escargot again.

Re: Haggis -- just because all Scottish food is based on a dare doesn't mean it is all inedible. But stay away from the black pudding (shudder).

Hilarious - side splitting.

"It tastes like the Predator wading into a Care Bears movie and opening fire."
"Was this a balm to be spread on cow udders to prevent infection...?"

As for Vegemite I eat about 3 pounds a month.

When in the US I had it shipped across country in 6 pound pails to the Abbey of Regina Laudis where I was doing a monastic internship.

When regular guests and visitors wanted to know what I was eating and sampled it reactions ranged from "it felt like I was going to die", "you were brought up on this stuff? That's child abuse". "Tastes like 1000 year old solidified soy sauce".

As it happened he cows I milked at the Abbey really did require a dip for their udders that looked like vegemite!

Yet there were nuns willing to give it a go - one in particular (the first picture in 'Prayer and Liturgy' on this page http://www.abbeyofreginalaudis.com/sitelive/index.htm ) said she liked it so I gave her a little container of it.

Those nuns are tough!

Curious though - why didn't she ask for the importer's web address so she could order more?

Because she had taken a vow of poverty?

*smile* Lydia, I think more that she was being charitable to a strange Aussie she thought might have taken offense at her deeper attitude

"I have eaten Vegemite, and I am going home to die." lol

Humiliavit semetipsum factus obediens usque ad mortem

P.s. Really enjoyed your Christendom Review essay - can't wait for the next one.

"Tastes like 1000 year old solidified soy sauce".

Exactly! I am a confirmed saltaholic who is often tempted to drink soy sauce from the bottle; this probably goes a long way in explaining my love for Marmite (and anchovies and various spicy Indian pickles, etc.)

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