I grew up with Vegemite as the major toast accompaniment at breakfast time. This doesn’t make me special – pretty much every kid I know has eaten it at some stage of their life and at every daily meal. From being thinly spread on rusks as babies, the traditional toast option at breakky, scraped on holey crackers to make squeeze-through ‘worms’ as schoolkids for smoko (my favourites were Vita-Wheat biccies), and even added to gravies for flavour at dinner.
For those who aren’t Aussie, and who didn’t get to wake up with Vegemite’s heavy salty flavour slathered over hot buttered toast, here are a couple of vital facts about this most Aussie of condiments.
- The spread was the brainchild of a Mr Fred Walker (who started the company which would become Kraft Foods) and fully developed by a serious scientist called Dr Cyril P Callister (whose impressive name evokes the image of some kind of cartoon hero) in the 1920s. So Fred and Cyril are responsible for our black gooey toast. Onya boys!
- It is a rich source of Vitamin B… and yes, it is basically made from leftover beer stuff. Talk about recycling! I feel totally green just talking about it!
- It was almost called ‘Parwill’ (to combat its major English rival – with the clever tag: if Marmite then Parwill). Luckily Fred saw the light and let a random Australian choose the final moniker in a competition – the winner’s name is long lost but the entry is now firmly embedded in Aussie lore.
- The Happy Little Vegemites jingle (still in use today!) was first used in 1954 (see final clip on this post)
- It just tastes great… (as long as you like things a little salty!)
In the interests of community education on black condiment use, I am also adding a ‘how to’ for the spreading of vegemite. According to my research (alright, I just whipped over to the official vegemite site) I am a streaker and a wormer.
Hey, this is a serious information blog.
So pay attention!
First unscrew jar… allow aroma to work its way into your nostrils. Your senses need to get used to that intense salty hit your tastebuds are about to experience! You need to give them a little warning… Then grab some Sao biscuits (you can also use toast, English muffins or any kind of salt crackers). Now slather some butter on…
This in not time to be shy – butter and vegemite were born to be together! Now load up your knife with the good black stuff… don’t go silly with it, a good scrape is all you need. Now apply … my personal preference is for coverage with the butter still peeping through.
(According to the Vegemite website, that makes me a Streaker. My mother will be so proud!)
But if you are a beginner, go light. You can always add more later! Now chomp… mmmmmm.
Expect salty and buttery… (Note to self: Try not to eat the ENTIRE Sao before you finish explantion!) …
If you have survived a straight vegemite experience, I would also recommend some avocado on top of your Vegemite … it’s a meal, baby!
And before I leave, I give you one of the orginal Vegemite ads with that famous song…