There is a discussion over at the culinary fetishists' message board eGullet on the unique and mysterious qualities of that fine product of the Podravka corporation, Vegeta.
The person initiating the discussion calls the flavor "essence of Grandma," and also quote's Podravka's publicity material, which inclusively declares, "Vegeta is enjoyed by people regardless of their religions, social classes, traditions, climates and the ways they eat; using either spoons or chopsticks or fingers. Vegeta unites us around a big universal table where we understand each other perfectly well, although we speak different languages." Podravka also lets us in on the little-known fact that Vegeta was created in the same year as the Barbie doll.
In addition: Another discussion at the same site points readers to this bit of culinary theology from the Carnegie Deli: "at the Istanbul Qadiri center (called the dergah), on the last Tuesday of Ramadan, seven dishes are served. Soup serves as a reminder of the importance of water to life; meat and vegetables symbolize the earth; pilaf and borek (meat and vegetables rolled in fillo dough) represent fire. Eggs with pastirma — a Turkish cured meat similar to pastrami — signify Divine generative power, combining the feminine symbol of the egg with the salty masculinity of the meat. Gullac, a rose-scented pastry boiled in milk, is an emblem of Divine love." Salty masculinity?