Something is missing from the G’day Canucks website. Something so essential that I’m surprised the comments section hasn’t gone into meltdown and crashed the WordPress servers.
I’m talking about Vegemite – that glorious black sludge of a spread that Aussies love.
Without a Vegemite post, G’day Canucks would be like Shaggy without Scoobie, Mick Jagger without his luba lips, a Canuck without hockey, a bike without two wheels (unless you ride a unicycle!), Posh without Becks, Angelina without an orphan, an Aussie without a boomerang (we all carry them you know!!). Anyway, you get the picture! Back to Vegemite lesson 101.
What is it?
Vegemite is a spread used on bread, toast or savory biscuits. Some hard-core Vegemite lovers will also tell you that it is great mixed with hot water as a drink.
How do you eat it?
Most people spread a thin layer of Vegemite on toast or bread (I think toast is best!). You don’t spread it as thickly as you would peanut butter or jam; you should still be able to see the bread.
Where did it come from?
Way back in 1922 a chappy by the name of Cyril Callister was trying to work out what to do with brewery waste from the Carlton United Breweries. He mixed the leftover yeast extract with celery, onions and salt and voila, Vegemite was born.
That’s right, good old Cyril made Vegemite out of beer waste! I’m not sure if that makes it more or less appealing.
What’s in it?
It’s made from brewers yeast extract, plus various vegetables, wheat and spice additives and salt.
What does it taste like?
It has such a unique flavour that it is difficult to describe. It is very salty and is almost like a beef soup stock.
Terry Pratchett said it best, when he wrote about it in The Last Continent. He described it as being burnt beer soup with a ton of salt in it, and that it tasted dreadful, but was bonzer stuff on bread, Mate.
Do all Aussies really like it?
According to Kraft, 70% of Aussie households will have a jar of Vegemite in the cupboard. I personally thought the figure would be even higher than that. Maybe the other 30% just haven’t been to the shops lately! Over 22 million jars are produced each year, which equates to about 1.2 billion serves of Vegemite.
We eat it for breakfast on toast. Send the kids to school with a Vegemite sandwich and spread it on crackers for a snack.
Many of us take it with us when we travel the world.
Is it good for you?
It is high in B-group vitamins, it has virtually no fat, but is high in salt. The only negative thing, health wise, is the high salt content.
Where can I get some?
Come visit Australia! If that’s a bit too far, just Google ‘buy Vegemite online’. It is also available in various supermarkets and specialty stores worldwide, so just keep your eyes open.
In Ottawa, the only place I’ve found it is at the ‘Scottish and Irish Store’.
Is there a Vegemite song?
I’m glad you asked!!
The ‘Happy Little Vegemite’ song is iconic. You may find an Aussie who doesn’t eat the stuff, but they will still know the song. Here’s one version that was around when I was growing up. I swear one of the kids looks like my husband when he was young (around the 8 second mark!!)
From one happy little Vegemite to another – have a good day.