“I said ‘Do you speak-a my language?’ He just smiled and gave me a Vegemite sandwich…” Are you bobbing your head and humming the flute melody? Come on! You know it’s in your head! Then again, if you came around in the 90’s or afterwards, you might need an introduction to a song called “Land Down Under.” It was one of the trademark songs of the 80’s. The song, sung by the Australian band Men at Work, provided a generation with its first lesson on Australian cuisine, leaving them to wonder “Exactly what is a Vegemite sandwich?”
When talking Australian cuisine, it’s hard to overlook Vegemite. It’s one of the staples in a good Australian diet. Vegemite is concentrated yeast extract originally made from a by-product of the beer brewing process and various vegetable and spice additives, and it’s loaded with Vitamin B. Vegemite is extremely popular in Australia. We’re talking the peanut butter and jelly kind of food fame. In fact, Australian children are brought up on Vegemite sandwiches from the time they are able to eat solid foods. Australian adults love it too. They are known to bring a jar of it when they are traveling abroad.
You don’t really see Vegemite here in the U.S. It’s popularity never caught on. It’s an acquired taste…to say the least. The texture of this spread is smooth and sticky like peanut butter, yet it tastes nothing like it. It is salty, slightly bitter, with a smokey malt taste. However, Australia is not alone in its admiration for Vegemite – New Zealanders also enjoy diets enriched with this common Australian treat.
Vegemite was invented in 1923, after World War I. When a disruption in the import of Marmite occurred (Marmite is a popular British product , also made by beer byproducts); Vegemite was created. Later the registration was cleared and transferred to the U.S. company Kraft Foods. Kraft has maintained an interest in Vegemite since the 1920’s.
Simple Recipe for Making a Vegemite Sandwich (Recipe from whatscookinamerica.net)
▪ Using your favorite bread, some butter or margarine, and of course, Vegemite.
▪ Spread butter on a piece of toast or bread.
▪ Cover very thinly with Vegemite (for the optimum Vegemite sandwich you only need a dab). Dip your knife in the Vegemite, and scrape up just a bit (it will mix right in with the butter and spread easily). Some people like to “marble” the Vegemite into the butter.
▪ Eat it open-faced and enjoy!
Here are a few other ways Australians enjoy Vegemite according to Travelchannel.com:
*Vegemite with butter and bread
* Vegemite with crackers
* Vegemite with avocado
* Vegemite with cheese and crackers
* Vegemite with cream cheese
* Vegemite with tomato