eating the crusts…

Every morning and afternoon, we have “smoko”. For those who are behind the times, in Australia, smoko is their tea and/or snack break. The name comes from back in the day, when an Australian worker would take a break and have a smoke. Now, it refers to snack breaks for the kids and tea breaks for the parents (or whatever you need a break for). And one item that shows up constantly, whether in smoko or in lunches, is Vegemite.

Now, I’ve been reading the labels, and reading up on the subject. When I got here, I thought I’d had Vegemite, but it turns out that I’ve had Marmite, when a former summer staffer would bring it to camp. Marmite is the competitor of Vegemite (I think I have this right), but Vegemite is primarily an Australian institution. Kids eat it on bread for lunch, sometimes with butter, and sometimes not. There’s also a newer version called Vegemite CheesyBite, which apparently has cream cheese added to it.

What is Vegemite, you’re asking? I wish I could figure out how to describe it. I don’t mind it, and I’ve eaten it for my lunch before this, when I thought we were out of ham and chicken (and everything else). It looks like Nutella (chocolate spread), but it’s a little darker and stickier, and it’s kind of salty and tangy. I’ve heard it described as a bit like beef bouillon, flavor-wise, and I can agree with that. The label says it’s concentrated yeast extract, which quite frankly, doesn’t sound very good.

So, why did I even try it? Well, firstly, I’ve planned to be willing to try just about anything, while I’m over here. No, I still don’t eat mushrooms or tomatoes, given a choice, but I’ve willingly tried avocado, Thai pizza, meat lover’s pizza (with barbecue sauce), and just about anything else I’ve been given. So, I had no intention of refusing. But mainly, I’ve tried it because I’ve been eating the kids’ crusts.

The younger two girls insist on having their crusts removed, and the baby has the dark crusts taken off, also. I’m not sure why they insist on this, since they’re often eating Wonder Bread, which is soft as soft can be. So, I feel incredibly wasteful, throwing away the leftover bread, so I eat the crusts right up, before making my own lunch.

Think the richness of beef bouillon or beef base, but not as salty, as those are obviously excessively concentrated. Kids are raised on it here, and think nothing of requesting a sandwich with it, and since you can’t spread it thickly (it has way too much bite that way), it almost seems like a waste of bread, to me. But then, these same kids eat avocado with pepper, and cottage cheese with pepper and tomato on sandwiches, so go figure.

This afternoon, Mrs. B asked if I was up to getting the girls from school, or if I’d rather wait a bit longer. After reviewing the map once more, I was perfectly fine with this. But I will admit, I spend a lot of time praying, when I’m in the car. Mainly praying that I don’t do anything stupid, and remember to look both ways before crossing the road. Seriously! The mantra you teach your kids will probably keep me from getting into an accident over here.

Before my trip in the car, though, the cat brought a bird into the house, and released it in the master bedroom. I arrived to find Mrs. B and the house cleaner opening the windows, with feathers everywhere, and a pigeon in the rafters. The mess was cleaned up, but the bird continued to stay up high where he was safe. After my car trip, I came to check again, and he flew down to a table near the window. I was hoping to “encourage” him to fly away, but he panicked before I even got close, and flew into a wall. And then after getting stuck behind a trunk, he flew out and into the closet doors.

By this time, I’d gone to get a pillow case, and threw it over the poor bird. I don’t know how much the cat injured him, but he could apparently fly a bit, though he was minus some feathers. But maybe the cat hurt him enough to mess up his brain. Don’t know how long he’ll last in the wild, but I took him out past the yard, and let him go. I was kind of proud of myself. I wouldn’t have done it for a snake or a frog. Somebody else (preferably male) would get to deal with something like that.

And now, the house is bird-free, very clean (the house cleaner even made my bed!), and relatively bug-free, as the weather has cooled off and the frogs seem to have gone south (or north) for the winter. I hope. The geckos are still around, though, so far. I had one land on me when I re-opened my window the other night. Yes, I shrieked. I’m so glad I’m starting off with fall and winter, so I can acclimate before the bugs and critters get bad.   : )

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