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The Australia Log--Entry #11


Supermarkets in Melbourne

Having rested and recovered from Spring Revel, we were ready to tackle the more important part of our trip: shopping. In addition to needing shoes and a shirt to go to the Flower Drum, we were beginning to go into Tim-Tam withdrawal. As I mentioned earlier, for me supermarkets are a major tourist attraction. I love seeing what strange things I can find in foreign supermarkets. I especially like the things that are almost just like things we have in the US – it’s like the Mirror, Mirror episode of the original Star Trek. That guy looks just like Spock, but he’s got a beard! Case in point, go into any supermarket in the States and you can find Chicken in a Bisket crackers. You can get them in Australia, as well. But in Australia, you can also get Vegemite in a Bisket crackers! Here Ellen sums up our feelings on this delicacy.

As we both have fond memories of Men at Work, we were intrigued by the concept of Vegemite. I assumed it was some sort of vegetable spread, or Vitameatavegamin or some such thing. As it turns out, it’s a yeast byproduct. Even our Australian travelling companions warned that it was an acquired taste and should be applied sparingly. Another fun fact: Vegemite is a trademark of Kraft foods! There are other yeast spreads, but Vegemite belongs to the multinational food giant. So why can’t we get it in the States? Because it’s disgusting? Hmm. Maybe.

Another unique Australian substance is Milo, owned by Nestle. Apparently it began as a beverage about 70 years ago – a powdered “energy drink”, much like Ovaltine. Today, it’s everywhere! Here you see a small selection of Milo products; this doesn’t include Milo ice cream, liquid Milo, and a few other Milo products I’ve seen since then. The only Milo product I’ve tried is the chocolate bar, which is quite good – I’d say it’s my favorite candy bar of the trip.

The next stop was the cereal aisle. I believe I’ve seen a Simpsons cereal in the US, but not this particular brand. (Eat my Shorts)

 We also found Nestle “Coffee & Milk” – coffee, milk, and sugar concentrated into a tube. Just squeeze a little into hot water! My plan is to relabel it as shampoo. “Gee, Your Hair Smells Decaffeinated.”

Our final stop was the chips aisle. The Iron Talons explained that our “freedom fries” and “potato chips” were both called chips here – hot chips and cold chips. You had most of the traditional chips, including Doritos. But what caught us by surprise was the trend of meat-flavored chips! Yes, I just mentioned Chicken in a Bisket, but… Chicken in a Chip? Chicken turned out to be one of the most popular chip flavors, available in a half-dozen brands; strange as it was, I found it considerably less disturbing that the honey-baked ham chips.    

Afterwards, we found a collared shirt and cheap shoes and a few hundred chocolate bars at the Big W department store.

            Next: Dungeons & Toilets!

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