Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Australian Nutella

Last week I brought home a jar of Nutella. In case you haven’t had it, it’s quite possibly the most decedent thing ever to arrive in a jar. It’s a chocolate hazelnut spread, and is amazing with peanut butter, or on a banana, or scooped with a giant serving spoon directly from the jar and rapidly globbed into one’s mouth.

Last night Todd baked some blondies (chocolate chip cookies that are in brownie form) and swirled some of the wonder drug, Nutella, on top. We each ate one, and today I brought in the rest to share with my co-workers and to keep them from lodging themselves onto my hips as these blondies can only be described as a party in the mouth.

Having a jar of Nutella in the house brings back an Australian memory. I was one of two full year American students in my dorm, Dunmore Lang College. There was a dining hall in the dorm that served food that can only be described as shockingly bad. An Aussie friend once shoved her plate away in disgust and said “This ought to be banned by the Geneva Convention.” The kitchen at DLC only served one choice for meals, and a vegetarian option as well. To give you an idea of how bad the food was, the vegetarian option was often something called “Not Meat.” It looked like dog food. It smelled like dog food. It tasted like dog food. It consisted of unidentifiable lumps of something not made of meat, and was served with gravy. So, it actually wasn’t vegetarian at all with the meat gravy on it. As a result of the horrible cuisine at Dunmore Lang, I was forced to get creative at meal times and basically spread peanut butter on anything set in front of me for ever meal.

On every table in the dining hall there were unmarked jars. One contained peanut butter, another contained jam. The third contained a brown substance that I had thought was Nutella. On my first day at Dunmore Lang I sat down to lunch and opened the jar of brown stuff and smelled it. Repulsed, I closed it. It smelled like vitamin pills and burning rubber, not at all like Nutella. I learned later on that it contained Vegemite, and is served in a thin layer on buttered toast. I tasted it twice over the year I was there and didn’t care for it. At all. It tasted like salty vitamin pills.

Half way through my year there the first batch of six month stay Americans had gone home and the next batch had come in. I had already been there for half a year and was quite popular among the new Americans, as I knew where the cool places to go were and I knew were everything was in town.

I sat with the new batch of Americans for their first meal, when one of them piped up and said, “No way! They have Nutella on the table!” He grabbed a banana, cut it into pieces and spread a generous amount of the brown goo on each piece. I watched, smirking silently. With an expectant look in his eye, he bit into the piece of banana, howled in disgust and spat it out onto his tray.

“Ugh! What the hell was that stuff? That’s gross!” He dabbed at his tongue with a napkin to eliminate his taste buds from any further exposure to any remaining Vegemite and banana molecules.

“Oh, that’s Vegemite. An Australian delicacy,” I replied sagely. “You put it on buttered toast, not bananas.”



Anonymous crisitunity said...

A guy I dated in college used to dip a chopstick in Nutella and chew on it until the Nutella was gone, then dip again. He called this "the poor man's Pocky".

I thought he was nuts. Just for that, I have, sadly, never tried Nutella. But if it on top of blondies causes a party in the mouth, you better believe I'll pick up a jar this weekend.

June 17, 2009 at 11:57 AM  
Blogger BJ Knapp said...

For optimal mouth party, get a small jar. Too much Nutella in the house is way too much temptation. But yeah, you'll love it.

Though lately I've been spreading some on a banana for dessert. Mmmmm....

June 17, 2009 at 1:14 PM  

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