Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tasty Delight

By Kathleen   

In general, exploring the world with your mouth is frowned on past the toddler years, but there are some exceptions (besides the ones you’ve already thought of ) which cause for exactly that, mouth exploration.

Now while Australia has many gastronomic delights to fill and fulfill your foodie self there are some other things that, when entering a new culture, one must experience. I like to think of these as the Wonder Bread foods. You know the iconic food that everyone knows about, the food of our childhoods, the food that has strange Red number 5 and questionable fructose content. Yet it is these foods that hold a key to contemporary culture. I think junk food is inaccurate because not all junk food holds equal sway in the hearts and minds of a populace.
 
If we were in America I would insist that people who had never had them before have such treats as, Wonder Bread, Kit-Kats, SPAM, Nes-Quik, Cheetos, Tang, that sort of caliber.

To begin our exploration we start with two Aussie staples. No household would be complete without the vitamin B packing twins Milo and Vegemite. Now Milo is a sort of Ovaltine like drink, just it doesn’t suck, and is incredibly addictive. It’s made from malted barley and when stirred into cold milk doesn’t quite dissolve all the way, which from the way people talk about it, is part of it’s charm. You must always have a spoon with your Milo as scrapping out the leftover crispy bits is fantastic.

Vegemite is more of an acquired taste. Like a spreadable soy sauce it has the consistency of jam and the saltiness of beef bullion. It too is made from barley, or rather yeast grown on it (ergot anyone?) and packs a great deal of vitamin B into a very small package. It’s hard for many people to like right off the bat as amateurs will spread way too much of the potent stuff on whatever it is they are eating. The best way to break your Vegemite cherry is to smear a small, thin fingernail sized amount, onto warm toast that had been buttered. That is some delicious yeast.

Now candy is a special sub-catagory of junk food and there are always new candies in new countries, some are more appealing than others. The one’s we’ve tried have so far been pretty good. We’ve chosen them not for their popularity so much as their novelty.

Crunchie is candy bar made of honeycomb and chocolate. Now before you get too excited this isn’t honeycomb like bees, this is honeycomb like the spun sugar candy that lost popularity in the States somewhere around the turn of the century for unknown reasons. It’s delicious. Sweet, almost salty, crunchy chocolaty, I’m sold. If only it came in dark chocolate.

The Cherry Ripe comes in either dark or milk chocolate, the dark is paired with black cherries for extra effect. Where I was expecting jelly, coconut cherry filling was waiting, more like a cream. All I can think of is a cherry Almond Joy. I’m not in love but Fiz seems to think they are pretty good.

For strange tastes we have entered two Lifesavers candies into the running.
The first is a Blackcurrent Pastille, yup that’s right, the squishy kind, coated in sugar, and tasting of blackcurrants, which as an American I find both exotic and tasty.

The second Lifesavers however is the strangest. Musk flavored Lifesavers, like from a musk glad of a musk ox. ( Don’t worry it’s all synthetic now, no musk ox had it’s glands squeezed on your behalf). I had musk flavored candy once before, Chicklets from the Middle East and I thought they were pretty good at the time, but these Lifesavers are fantastic! I’m completely addicted to their pink deliciousness, every time I eat one it’s like what I imagine drinking old lady perfume to be like, assuming that didn’t kill you. As a weirdo who likes the taste of perfumes and flowers I have to say, brilliance.

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