This yellow tube or jar hiding one of the most controversial spreads in the world that has been irritating everyone who doesn't like Australians for a long time. The reason is that it looks really awful, either just squashed in a strange package or being on toast. And apparently, it not looks but also taste awful.
People from all over the world turn their nose up at this oddity and make of the poor Australians inappropriate jokes. But these eternal surfers celebrating Christmas and New Year in the hottest heat couldn't care less. They putting this brown and salty spread not only on the morning toast, but also in chocolate bars, croissants, they are making soup from it, ice creams, and they are even using it instead of tomato sauce on pizza. What's going on here?
Vegemite is a simple yeast extract. In other countries besides of Australia vegemite can be hardly bought. While there are vegemite's distant relatives and ancestors in Britain and South Africa under the name of marmite, their younger brother in these countries doesn't set the world in fire.
Vegemite was established in 1922. After World War I, the export of British yeast spread Marmite in Australia rapidly decreased and its shortage has created a hole in the market. This was immediately observed by entrepreneur Fred Walker who in his company, later renamed Kraft Foods, employed a famous food technologist Dr. Cyril P. Callister. He had to create similar spread from yeast's waste from the production of beer in the brewery Carlton & United. Dr. Cyril did not hesitate and he made an extract, put in it a mixture of celery and onions, he seasoned it all and vegemite was born.
Only name was missing. But Walker was skilled businessman and he knew what to do. He announced nationwide competition for the name of the new spread. The competition involves hundreds of Australians and were won by sisters Hilda and Laurel Armstrong. Since then they are called vegemite girls. God knows whether they subsequently did not regret a participation in this competition.
Vegemite, despite this professionally prepared marketing campaign, did not have such a big success. It had to wait another thirteen years when it was in 1935 declared by British Medical Association as a perfect source of vitamins B1, B2 and B3. For this reason the Australian Army included vegemite in the rations.
Walker to encourage even bigger sales announced further competition. This time Australian citizens had to write a few verses about vegemite. The prize for the best verses was a handsome Pontiac. Vegemite was sold like hot cakes after this competition. People on the smallest continent made vegemite so popular that it has become a symbol of Australia in addition to the koala, kangaroo boomerang.
I must say that its distinctive taste may someone to deter after first tasting, but for those who are searching for a meal with the so-called fifth taste - umami - vegemite is sent directly from the heaven. It contains a large amount of glutamic acid, which produces umami taste. Who is still hesitating can be certainly satisfied by this information: In Australia is vegemite in some social problematic areas and in prisons banned. It can be made an alcohol from it.
How to taste Vegemite
A success failure of Vegemite in the world is apparently caused by an unpleasant habit, spreading vegemite on toast or bread roughly as a Nutella. It must be said that the box full of black vegemite attracts to do that, but we must control ourselves. The spread has indeed rich and significant penetrating flavour. Less is sometimes more with Vegemite. A toasted piece of bread must be first coated with a heavy dose of butter. It is better if is a toast still hot, butter is melted into it. Then we take a knife and use as much vegemite as it fits on the knife's tip. If is spread squeezed out from the tube it can be used the amount of the size of a pea. Then we spread it over the whole surface of the toasted bread. We create a wafer-thin layer of Vegemite. It is actually just like butter with salt with added delicate yeast-meaty taste.
For those who need the manual of the consistent and disciplined tasting of Vegemite they can watch recently performance of the famous Australian - actor Hugh Jackman in the Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show.