Re: Is Pollyanna a girl?
Big contrast between our locales, isn't it? One's full of poker machines, another full of dust and another full of music.
Red, a poster on this page
tells how to buy Vegemite. My sister went our with an American guy when she was young and he said it looked and tasted like axle grease (not sure how he knew what axle grease tasted like).
I like it and regularly eat it spread on toast - first margarine, then the Vegemite. Actually, these days I buy Mighty Mite, which is very similar, a bit cheaper and it's made in Oz (ironically, Vegemite is owned by the US). Agree with PFOG that the uninitiated would do best to spread it very thinly at first to avoid going into apoplexy ...
In the Discworld novel, The Last Continent
, Terry Pratchett describes how Rincewind the wizard invented Vegemite while lost and drunk in the outback of a country that seems an awful lot like Australia ...
He placed the potato reverentially on the ground and tipped out the rest of the bag. There was an onion and some carrots. A tin of ... tea. by the smell of it, and a little box of salt.
A flash of inspiration struck him with all the force and brilliance that ideas have when they're travelling through beer.
Soup! Nutritious and simple! You just boiled everything up! And, yes, he could use one of the empty beer tins, and make a fire, and chop up the vegetables, and the damp patch over there suggested there was water . . .
He walked unsteadily over to have a look. There was a circular depression in the ground that looked as though it might have been some sort of pond once, and there was the usual cluster of slightly healthier than usual trees which you got in such places, but there was no sign of any water and he was too tired to dig.
Then another insight struck him at the speed of beer. Beer! It was only water, really, with stuff in it. Wasn't it? And most of what was in it was yeast, which was practically a medicine and definitely a food. In fact, when you thought about it beer was only a kind of runny bread, in fact, it'd be better to use some of the beer in the soup! Beer soup! A few brain cells registered their doubt, but the rest of them grabbed them by the collar and said hoarsely, people cooked chicken in wine, didn't they?
It took him some time to hack one end off a tin, but eventually he had it standing in the fire with the chopped-up vegetables floating in the froth. A few more doubts assailed him at this point, but they were elbowed aside, especially when the smell that floated up made his mouth water and he'd opened another tin of beer as a pre-prandial appetizer.
After a while he poked the vegetables with a stick. They were still pretty hard, even though a lot of the beer seemed to have boiled away. Was there something else he hadn't done?
Salt! Yes, that was it! Salt, marvellous stuff. He'd read where you went totally up the pole if you didn't have any salt for a couple of weeks. That was probably why he was feeling so odd at the moment. He fumbled for the salt box and dropped a pinch in the tin.
It was a medicinal herb, salt. Good for wounds, wasn't it? And back in the really old days, hadn't soldiers been paid in salt? Wasn't that where the word salary came from? Must've been good, then. You went on a forced march all week, building your road as you went, then you fought the maddened blue-painted tribesmen of the Vexatii, and you force-marched all the way back home, and on Friday the centurion would turn up with a big sack and say, 'Well done, lads! Here's some salt!'
It was amazing how well his mind was working.
He peered at the salt box again, shrugged, and tipped it all in. When you thought about it like that, salt must really be an amazing food. And he hadn't had any for weeks, so that was probably why his eyesight was acting up and he couldn't feel his legs.
He topped up the beer, too.
He lay back with his head on a rock. Keep out of trouble and don't get involved, that was the important thing. Look at those stars up there, with nothing to do all the time but sit there and shine. No one ever told them what to do, the lucky bastards ...
He woke up shivering. Something horrible had crawled into his mouth, and it was no great relief to find out that it was his tongue. It was chilly, and the horizon suggested dawn.
There was also a pathetic sucking noise.
Some sheep had invaded his camp during the night. One of them was trying to get its mouth around an empty beer tin. It stopped when it saw that he had woken up, and backed away a bit, but not too far, while fixing him with the penetrating gaze of a domesticated animal reminding its domesticator that they had a deal.
His head ached.
There had to be some water somewhere. He lurched to his feet and blinked at the horizon. There were . . . windmills and things, weren't there? He remembered the stricken windmills from yesterday. Well, there was bound to be some water around, no matter what anyone said.
Ye gods, he was thirsty.
His gummed-up gaze fell upon last night's magnificent experiment in cookery. Yeasty vegetable soup, what a wonderful idea. Exactly the sort of idea that sounds really good around one o'clock in the morning when you've had too much to drink.
Now he remembered, with a shudder, some of the great wheezes he'd had on similar occasions. Spaghetti and custard, that'd been a good one. Deep-fried peas, that'd been another triumph. And then there'd been the time when it had seemed a really good idea to eat some flour and yeast and then drink some warm water, because he'd run out of bread and after all that was what the stomach saw, wasn't it? The thing about late-night cookery was that it made sense at the time. It always had some logic behind it. It just wasn't the kind of logic you'd use around midday.
Still, he'd have to eat something and the dark brown goo that half filled the tin was the only available food in this vicinity that didn't have at least six legs. He didn't even think about eating mutton. You couldn't, when it was looking at you so pathetically.
He poked the goo with the stick. It gripped the wood like glue.
A blob eventually came loose. Rincewind tasted it, gingerly. It was just possible that if you mixed yeasty beer and vegetables together you'd get—
No, what you got was salty-tasting beery brown gunk.
Odd, though ... It was kind of horrible, but nevertheless Rincewind found himself having another taste.
Oh, gods. Now he was really thirsty.
He picked up the tin and staggered off towards some trees. That's where you found water ... you looked at where the trees were and, tired or not, you dug down.
It took him half an hour to squash an empty beer tin and use it to dig a hole waist deep. His toes felt damp.
Another half an hour took him to shoulder depth and a pair of wet ankles.
Say what you like – that brown muck was good stuff. You didn't really believe what your mouth said you'd just tasted, so you had some more. Probably full of nourishing vitamins and minerals. Most things you couldn't believe the taste of generally were ...