Vegemite: It’s a Matter of Taste

I like Vegemite^.  A sparing amount  over freshly made and hot buttered toast, can be just the thing for breakfast if I’m in a toast kind of mood.  Other than that I grew up eating it and I like the flavour of umami reasonably well (or, possibly, just saying “umami”), I really can’t explain it though.  I don’t expect you to understand.  It is almost black and thick and kind of … greasy. It is a by-product of the beer brewing process. (And it LOOKS like a petroleum by-product.) But I like it.  It is okay for me to like it.  It is also okay for you not to like it.
If you’d like, I will try and explain why I like Vegemite but if you don’t “get it”, it doesn’t mean I have failed you. I’m  not obliged to keep trying to come up with new ways to justify to you why I like Vegemite. I am not a Vegemite-Evangelist. I’m a Vegemite-Live-and-Let-Live-r.  Vegemite, like many things, is something that ultimately, you either “get” or do not. And LOADS of people DON’T.  LOADS.

Myself, I do not “get” Peanut Butter (which we call Peanut Paste) and Jelly (which we call Jam).  You can explain it to me until you are blue in the face but I will not get it.  I also do not wish to try it.  “I don’t want to”  is a good enough reason. I do not believe there is a moral or ethical obligation on me to ever try a PB&J sandwich.  But if you like PB&J, go on with your good self.
I also do not like Sweet & Sour anything.  It doesn’t fit with my personal rules about “savoury” and “dessert” flavours. (This makes my husband laugh.)  For the same reason, I do not like raisins in my curries.  I do not “get” it.  But if you do:  Great.  We are allowed to like different things.  I don’t have to understand everything. I can not like something and you can like it and we can still be friends.
My husband and I saw No Country for Old Men at the movies a few years ago.  As we left the cinema, we both started to speak at the same time.  The conversation went something like this:
Me:    What a load of toss!

Him:  What an excellent movie!


Me:   Wh-what? It was awful. Everyone was awful and the bad guy walks away. How is that excellent?


Him:  The dialogue was great, the pacing was spot on, the bad guy was chilling.  The good guy doesn’t always win you know.  I don’t require happy endings like you do. And I loved the symbolism.


Me:    I kept waiting for it to be like Fight Club which was whack but then it suddenly made sense at the end and it was cool. But it wasn’t like Fight Club. It was just weird all the way through. I don’t understand the appeal of the story. I don’t get it.


Him:   *sigh* You always have to know ‘what’s in the suitcase’.^^


Me:    Well, if a whole movie is going to be about a suitcase, surely what’s in the suitcase is IMPORTANT. How can you NOT want to know what’s in the suitcase?


Him:   You’ll never get it.  The point was that it didn’t matter what was in the suitcase.


Me:    That’s just screwed up.  Of course it matters what’s in the suitcase.  People were dying over what’s in the suitcase!!


Him:  *long-suffering sigh*

He and I can have conversations like that because a) we love each other and trash talk is part of the fun and b) we spent a lot of time face to face and don’t suffer from the inherent problems in interpretation of online communications.  But my point is, neither of us was wrong.  I will never get it.  He cannot explain it to me.  He is not a failure. And neither am I. He doesn’t have to keep going until I get it.  It’s not important enough.
One of my very first BDSM romances was Uneven by Anah Crowe.  Sarah Frantz reviewed it on Dear Author and she rhapsodised so much I was inspired to try it.  (It was perhaps not the best introduction to a BDSM newbie in hindsight; I believe it is near the hard core range of the spectrum).  I mentioned in the comments that I tried it but I didn’t “get” the pain/blood play.  She said to me (basically): “that’s okay, it tends to be something people either get or they don’t. ‘Your kink is not my kink’. “  She told me it was okay to not understand.  It was SO freeing.  I didn’t have to understand it. I didn’t have to read it again if I didn’t want to.  I didn’t have to invest further time trying to “get” something that was beyond me.  (I’ve read a lot more since then.  I still don’t get the appeal of pain or blood but I can enjoy books which include them).
Recently, people^^^ have asked me to “explain” the appeal of New Adult romance or Extreme Romance (eg, Kristen Ashley, Joanna Wylde).  I have tried but, like Vegemite, or No Country for Old Men, ultimately it seems, for many, to be a thing you either “get” or do not.  If you don’t get it, that’s OKAY.  If you don’t want to read it, that’s ALSO OKAY.
I’m happy to have discussions about problematic issues in romance – that’s not what I’m talking about here.  What I’m talking about is a matter of taste and personal preference.  It’s the alchemy of brain chemistry and experience and possibly the alignment of the planets. And it is, of course, entirely subjective.
But you know what’s also okay?  Me liking Vegemite.  If you don’t “get” it, it doesn’t mean that others won’t or should not. It doesn’t make either of us a failure.  It just means we have different tastes.
So I think from now on when I see a comment to the effect of “Why can’t anyone explain to me the appeal of these books?  I don’t understand how can anyone like them? Please explain it to me!”  I’m just going to reply: “Vegemite”.
^^We obviously started talking about a different movie here.
^^^ generic people, not specific people. I’m not singling anyone out. I’m not bagging anyone. That is not my intent.

11 comments on “Vegemite: It’s a Matter of Taste

  1. Merrian

    Love this post also I cannot stand marmite

  2. azteclady

    A also love this post–and I'm gonna laugh my head off every time I see you going "Vegemite" (trust me on this, it will be sooner than soon).

  3. Kaetrin

    @ Merrian. Thx :). I said on Twitter that Marmite always sounded to me like some kind of rodent, so I'm with you there!June 2, 2013 at 9:28 PM

  4. Kaetrin

    @Azteclady sadly, I think you're right. 🙂

  5. AJH

    I would just like to say, marmite is way better than vegemite and I really don't understand people who prefer vegemite ;)(d'see you what I did tharrr?)Lovely post, Kaetrin.I notice there's been lots of discussion around the place about personal taste and reader shame and other interesting things. To briefly serious, perhaps too serious for a light-hearted post, I think it depends a lot on the angle you're coming at it from. There are useful and illuminating discussions to have had around difference (I think, for example, even if you're not personally into pain, you can still understand, and value, the way its used to further intimacy in, for example, Uneven) BUT I think the problem with the 'why do people like [thing x]' discussion is that it sometimes carries an undertone of 'omg what is wrong with people' which is … obviously helpful ;)I mean I quite like reading about why people respond positively to things that don't appeal to me – there's some interesting on GR about Tangled, for example, and I think, having read your review, I'd pretty much *hate* it but it's good to discuss it with readers who are totally blown away by it.

  6. Kaetrin

    @AJH I agree it's generally a good thing to give something a go, even if it's out of your comfort zone. m/m romance was out of my comfort one at one stage. BDSM romance was too. While I still prefer not to read about sadism to the point of making someone bleed, it's not a deal breaker necessarily. But it's also perfectly fine to say "I don't want to read westerns because they don't appeal to me" (to use a hypothetical example) or to try a western and say "I don't get the appeal, it's not for me". I have, at times, felt almost interrogated about the appeal of, for example, new adult. There comes a point by which, if one doesn't understand the appeal, it's just never going to happen.

  7. Marg

    Ugh..can't stand Vegemite or peanut butter for that matter!I had never heard the term Extreme romance before. Good to see that there is a new label to try and explain it!And as for the whole point of the post…amen sister!

  8. Kaetrin

    @Marg 😀

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