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The History of Vegemite

Yeast extract is not only good for you, it's tasty as well. That's why, in 1922, a young Australian by the name of Fred Walker, decided to try to make a special "yeast extract" that would be as delicious as it was nourishing.

The chief scientist in the company Fred owned, was Dr. Cyril Callister, and it was Dr. Callister who "invented" the first Vegemite spread. He used brewer's yeast from Carlton & United Breweries, and blended the yeast extract with ingredients like celery and onions, and salt to make a thick dark paste. It is one of the richest known sources of the vitamin B group.

Fred Walker's new product didn't have a name, so he held a trade name competition for a 50 prize to find it one, and in 1923, Dr. Callister's paste became "Vegemite".

Before the outbreak of World War II the British Medical Association gave Vegemite an official product endorsement, and the Australian armed forces were supplied with 3.18kg and 226g tins of the stuff, as well as 14g individual packs. Later on, soldiers, sailors, and the civilian population all had Vegemite included in their rations, and it got so popular it fell into short supply.

The post war baby boom created a huge market for Vegemite, as Australian mums knew how good Vegemite was for their young children. And mums loved the taste of Vegemite too!

Fred Walker and Company Pty Ltd became KRAFT Foods Limited in 1950, but Vegemite will probably always be Vegemite. After all, it celebrated its 60th anniversary in October 1983, and to mark the occasion, they put a plaque opposite the site of Fred's original factory in Melbourne.

Facts on Vegemite
It's an obsession that began many years ago, - an obsession with a black yeast spread that runs deep through the veins of the Australian psyche.

During 1997 the mainstay of breakfast tables from suburban kitchens to five-star hotel buffets celebrated its 75th birthday.

22.7 million jars of Vegemite are manufactured in Australia every year - that's 235 jars per minute.

30 jars are sold in Australia for every one exported. Vegemite is a permanent fixture in nine out of ten pantries.

How to Eat A Vegemite Sandwich
First, let's get one thing straight. Because Vegemite can sometimes be hard to describe, it is often said that "Vegemite to Australians is like Peanut Butter to Americans".
So does that mean you'd be able to take a big 'ol spoon and dive right in? Do not, we repeat, Do not eat Vegemite by the spoon
First Step in making your Vegemite sandwich Grab your favourite type of bread, some butter or margarine and of course, the all mighty Vegemite
Butter Up!
Here's where some have made the mistake. For the optimum Vegemite sandwich you only need a dab. Dip your knife in the Vegemite, and scrape up just a bit- start small if you're a first timer. It will mix right in with the butter and spread easily.

  How we like it:
1. Thick crusty white bread with Vegemite, tomato, cottage cheese and shallots.

2. Hot toast, butter melted and a thick slather of Vegemite.

3. A soup spoon of Vegemite in a cup of boiling water with hot buttery toast.

4. A lot of butter and a little bit of Vegemite and a lot of lettuce.

5. Vegemite and cheese, over pate.

6. Vegemite and honey.

7. Peanut butter and vegemite on hot toast.

8. Four seed bread with vegemite.

But Wait, There's More Ways to Spread it Around

1. Dissolve a teaspoon of VEGEMITE in a cup of boiling water. A delicious low kilojoule health drink.

2. A favourite with children is to add VEGEMITE, to taste, to mashed potato.

3. Savoury Scrambled Eggs:heat 1/4 cup milk with a teaspoon of VEGEMITE, 1 tablespoon butter and pepper to taste; add mixture to 5 lightly beaten eggs. Cook gently, stirring constantly. Serve on toast.

4. For delicious vegetable stuffed tomatoes- stuff with a mixture of tomato pulp, cooked rice, grated cheddar cheese and VEGEMITE, to taste. Top with breadcrumbs. Bake until heated through. 5. Add 2 tablespoons VEGEMITE which has been dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water, to 1 cup cheese sauce. Fold through hot macaroni. Serve immediately with a vegetable salad.

6. For a simple, tasty dip: blend together 200g cream cheese, a pinch of cayenne pepper and 2 teaspoons VEGEMITE which has been dissolved in 1 teaspoon hot water. Chill well. Serve with dippers of celery and carrot sticks.

The Vegemite Song
(The "Happy Little Vegemites" song was first performed on radio in 1950)

"We're happy little Vegemites
As might as might can be.
We all enjoy our Vegemite
For breakfast, lunch and tea.
Our mother says we're growing stronger every single week
Because we love our Vegemite.
We all adore our Vegemite.

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