What the Heck is Vegemite (& How Do You Eat It)?

Cut off from the rest of the populated landmass of planet Earth for several millennia, Australia had plenty of time to develop some natural quirks. Take marsupials (pouches, hopping), for example, or the duck-billed platypus (duck-bill, poison spur), o…

Cut off from the rest of the populated landmass of planet Earth for several millennia, Australia had plenty of time to develop some natural quirks. Take marsupials (pouches, hopping), for example, or the duck-billed platypus (duck-bill, poison spur), or the disturbing preponderance of poisonous snakes, for example. But it was with the invention of Vegemite in 1922 that things really went off the rails. What is Vegemite? So glad you asked.

Vegemite is a thick, dark spread extracted from the yeasty waste of the beer-brewing process, seasoned with celery, onion, salt, and some undisclosed extra flavors. Salty, umami-rich, with a hint of bitterness, Vegemite is an Australian obsession. But it wasn’t always this way.

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The Most Memorable Chicken Recipes Always Have Vinegar

As someone who develops and tests recipes for a living, it’s literally my job to describe how and why certain flavor pairings work. Usually, that’s a relatively attainable task, but sometimes, when faced with this particular why? I can’t think of a bet…

As someone who develops and tests recipes for a living, it’s literally my job to describe how and why certain flavor pairings work. Usually, that’s a relatively attainable task, but sometimes, when faced with this particular why? I can’t think of a better answer than: Just, because!

Think about pork and brown sugar. And seafood and butter. And beer and sausage. And of course, chicken and vinegar. They just…work. These combinations have been around for a long time, in countless cuisines, yet are also constantly revived in new recipes.

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The Umami-Rich Science of Nutritional Yeast, Marmite & Vegemite

In The Kitchen Scientist, The Flavor Equation author Nik Sharma breaks down the science of good food, from rinsing rice to salting coffee. Today, he’s introducing us to savory super-ingredients to always keep in the pantry.

Yeasts are one of the mos…

In The Kitchen Scientist, The Flavor Equation author Nik Sharma breaks down the science of good food, from rinsing rice to salting coffee. Today, he's introducing us to savory super-ingredients to always keep in the pantry.


Yeasts are one of the most powerful workhorses in research and the food industry. Simply put, yeast is a single-cell fungus that is round or oval in shape, sometimes looking like the cartoon character shmoo.

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These Tasty Little Experiments Will Change How You Think About Food

I’m Sara, and I’ve been a picky eater all my life.

More often than not, the thing that can completely and totally put me off a food is its texture. If it’s too slimy, too creamy, too-any-one-thing, I’m out, no matter how good it may taste. I decided I…

I’m Sara, and I’ve been a picky eater all my life.

More often than not, the thing that can completely and totally put me off a food is its texture. If it’s too slimy, too creamy, too-any-one-thing, I’m out, no matter how good it may taste. I decided I had to figure it out for good: What determines my strong aversion, and will I ever get over it?

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The Absolute Best Way to Make Thanksgiving Stuffing, According to So Many Tests

In Absolute Best Tests, Ella Quittner destroys the sanctity of her home kitchen in the name of the truth. She’s boiled dozens of eggs, seared more Porterhouse steaks than she cares to recall, and mashed enough potatoes for a lifetime. Today, she tackle…

In Absolute Best Tests, Ella Quittner destroys the sanctity of her home kitchen in the name of the truth. She's boiled dozens of eggs, seared more Porterhouse steaks than she cares to recall, and mashed enough potatoes for a lifetime. Today, she tackles Thanksgiving stuffing.


Ten years ago, my mother tried to mess with our family’s classic Thanksgiving menu. She billed it as “lighter” and “vegetable-forward” and “not a punishment, Ella, I promise.” On her blasphemous docket appeared swill like baked apples in place of pie, and puréed turnips in lieu of mashed potatoes. Most devastatingly, she suggested a ban on bacon in the stuffing.

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The Absolute Best—& Worst—Way to Make Mashed Potatoes, According to So Many Tests

In Absolute Best Tests, our writer Ella Quittner destroys the sanctity of her home kitchen in the name of the truth. She’s boiled dozens of eggs, seared more Porterhouse steaks than she cares to recall, and tasted enough types of bacon to concern a car…

In Absolute Best Tests, our writer Ella Quittner destroys the sanctity of her home kitchen in the name of the truth. She's boiled dozens of eggs, seared more Porterhouse steaks than she cares to recall, and tasted enough types of bacon to concern a cardiologist. Today, she tackles mashed potatoes.


The world's first potato moved from a pocket of dirt to a mouth sometime between 8,000 and 5,000 B.C.E., in Peru. Some millennia later, Spanish conquistadors brought the tubers back to Europe, resulting in the earliest recorded recipe for mashed ones. It came courtesy of The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, written in 1747 by Hannah Glasse, and went something like this: Boil your potatoes, then peel, then mash within a saucepan. Add a pint of milk, some salt, stir—with attention to the layer at the pan's very bottom—and a quarter-pound of butter. Stir again. Serve.

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