Vegemite - an Australian symbol
If you’ve been to England you might know Marmite. Everyone who has been to Australia most likely knows Vegemite. Vegemite isn’t anything new, it’s more a copy of the British Marmite. Unfortunately for Marmite lovers back in the early 1900s, it was impossible to get Marmite in Australia. That’s why food manufacturer Fred Walker decided to come up with the Australian version of it and had chemist CP Callister create vegemite in 1922.
Just like Marmite, Vegemite is made from brewer’s yeast. Its extract is salty and contains different Vitamin B types. It took a few years to become well liked. During the Second World War, the Australian army was supplied with Vegemite and this bread spread spread all over the country.
The American food company Kraft bought Vegemite in the 1950s but Vegemite became known as ‘the’ Australian food. Songs were written about it and you could get souvenirs with it on them. Vegemite became part of the pop culture. When Australians travelled abroad, they almost always to a jar or two of Vegemite with them to have a connection with home. When Americans say it’s as American as apple pie, Australians will say it’s as Australian as Vegemite.
I must say, when I first tried Marmite, I was very much taken aback by the taste of it. How can anybody even consider eating that? Only many years later I found out the mistake I had made. I had spread on my toast like I spread Nutella on it: a nice layer of it. Yeah, that’s so not how to eat Marmite or Vegemite. You only use a bit of it and spread it all over your toast. I’m saying toast here because that is the most popular way to eat Vegemite with. With that knowledge I tried it again and it wasn’t so bad at all. You might still call it an acquired taste but that’s what I thought of peanut butter and jelly too.
If you want to know what Vegemite tastes like let me tell you this: imagine a paste of soup mix, just dark and salty. For me I was like putting creamy Maggi on a toast. The smell is pretty strong too. But again, you use only very little and can even put other things on to of it, e,g. avocado slices.
Due to its rich sources of Vitamin B Vegemite is considered a nutritious product.
Kate Gudorf, an accredited practising dietitian explained to Huffington post Australia:
"Vegemite is an excellent source of B vitamins. In fact, one teaspoon provides half an adult's daily requirements for folate and thiamine. The spread is low in energy, with one teaspoon providing less than 50 kilojoules and containing 1.5 grams of protein, no fat and no added sugar. Vegemite does contain added salt with 207mg per teaspoon, so for those with, or at risk of, heart disease this may be an important consideration. Many people only use a small scrape of the spread, so its high salt content is unlikely to be a problem."
Now that I have done my little research on Australia’s food icon, I will get a little jar for my trip to make sure I get my fair share of Vitamin B and become a ‘Happy little Vegemite’.