It’s not every day that a spread makes it into the lyrics of a global hit. Vegemite wins this one. The Australian anthem “Down Under” by the band Men At Work says, “He smiled and gave me a veggie sandwich. The song is a declaration of love for the fifth continent and one of its most famous foods. Because most ‘Aussies’ love the black-and-brown paste that celebrates its 100th birthday this year. likes
Elsewhere, excitement leads to confusion. Malty, salty and slightly bitter, Vegemite settles in the mouth with its dense texture. Special kangaroos belong to the Red Continent, like the Outback or Kylie Minogue. Cyril Percy Callister developed Vegemite in 1922. The beginning was not easy: when it first rolled off the assembly line, it was a complete failure. Even the head salesman couldn’t stand the smell, let alone the taste.
Australians slowly discovered their love for the spread, which today is promoted with the slogan “Tastes Like Australia.” The Fred Walker Company provided a free small jar of Vegemite with every processed cheese they sold. The 1930s in Australia were marked by a global economic crisis, so no food was wasted. Another advantage: Vegemite doesn’t have to be refrigerated – and refrigerators only became popular “Down Under” in the 1950s.
Vegemite’s exact recipe is a closely guarded secret. One thing’s for sure: it’s made from yeast that remains after beer is brewed. It contains malt, salt, vegetable juice and a particularly high number of B vitamins.
By 1942, 20 years after its development, the product was found in most Australian pantries. Today, Australians even take their favorite Vegemite on holiday. Politicians like then-Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on a 2011 trip to the US like to keep it in their luggage. He then had to convince US security officials at the airport that the dark paste was not dangerous material.
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