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What is Vegemite and how do I use it?


“And he just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich.” That line from Men at Work's smash hit “I Come from the Land Down Under” reflects the total identification of Australians with Vegemite and Vegemite with Australians. To me, above everything else other than sunshine, vegemite is the common denominator of all Australians. A yeast extract which is very high in vitamin B and requires no refrigeration, this spread is what Australians grow up on. From a little smear on the babies dummie (pacifier), to the samich (sandwich) of bread, butter and vegemite in the school lunch, to a lifetime of vegemite and toast at breakfast or as a snack, vegemite cuts through all socio-economic strata and very well should be what appears on the Great Shield of Australia. Only kidding, please forgive me. Yanks and others make the mistake of spreading it like peanut butter or jam. The more, the better. NO, NO. Kind of scrape it on, like you might not be able to get any more any time soon and you want to conserve it. As a vegemite connoisseur I recommend toast, butter, vege, a thin slice of cheese and a slice of wonderful fresh real tomato. YUM, YUM, YUM. The Vegemite story as presented on the back of the jar says, “Vegemite – Australian Born and Bred. The Vegemite story started in 1923 after war had delayed supplies of imported yeast extracts. Fred Walker, a business visionary and founder of Fred Walker & Co. enlisted the support of Dr. Cyril P. Callister, a brilliant young scientist to create an Australian made yeast spread. After many attempts they developed a spread that would fit the bill. But what to call it? The company could not decide so they ran a competition. The response was overwhelming so there was only one fair way to decide a winner. Fred's daughter Sheilah pulled a name from a hat. That name was ‘Vegemite' and an Australian icon was born. At that same time Fred Walker joined forces with a Canadian James Kraft, to start a joint venture company – The Kraft Walker Cheese Company. Vegemite has been made in Melbourne since 1923. And it is from here that we continue to put a rose in every cheek.”



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