A toast to the man who invented Vegemite

The_ Man_Who_Invented_Vegemite_Cyril_Callister

“More jars of Vegemite are sold each year than there are men, women and children in the entire country. But most would struggle to name the man who invented it.”

Jamie Callister, the author of The Man who Invented Vegemite, has a point. Many Australians remember the advertising slogan “happy little Vegemite” and the iconic radio jingle that first played in 1954. They can hum along to the Men at Work hit song of 1982, Down Under, with its reference to a Vegemite sandwich. They can pick out the bright yellow lid and labelling of the black, sticky spread from the far end of a supermarket aisle, and are likely to know it’s rich in vitamin B.
But unlike Vegemite itself, Cyril Percy Callister – a humble chemist from country Victoria who created the spread – isn’t a household name. Read the full article here.

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “A toast to the man who invented Vegemite

  1. I feel cheated every time I have to resist the temptation to spread a thick layer of Vegemite on my morning toast. Damn that yeast allergy I say.

  2. So, essentially he studied the Marmite formula to make Vegemite. Iconic – yes; ingenious – no.

    • Ahh – good point. But he isn’t professed to be a genius. He is, however, shown to have been an extremely hard worker and dedicated chemist. The story is also much more than just a spotlight on the man behind Vegemite. It’s a great insight into it’s very slow acceptance by Australians and a spotlight onto the times – when food technology was gathering pace, vitamins were ‘discovered’, and the world economy and post-war austerity had a lasting impression on food inventions. Many people who are interested in food, world history, business/management/marketing are likely to find it an interesting read. What’s more, the author’s research appears to have been exhaustive. Some of my favourite parts of the book are the excerpts from war correspondence between family members.

  3. bizzylizzycooks

    Aw, when I was at school, one of my favourite things from the tuckshop (a treat) was vegemite crusts…. the ends of bread spread with butter and thin scrape of vegemite… a mere 2c each! And Vita Weets with butter and vegemite…. squished together to make little worms! Yum.

  4. I love a piece of vegemite toast. Vegemite is also a good fix for mouth ulcers – I learnt this from a friend a few years ago. It stings terribly and makes your eyes water – but the ulcer is always gone the next day! I wonder if anyone else does this?

    • Thanks for the heads-up on Vegemite as an ulcer remedy! I always used to get mouth ulcers as a kid, but didn’t eat Vegemite then. I was brought up in the UK, so it would have been Marmite all the way, though i didn’t develop a taste for that until my teens. Now i could never replace Vegemite with Marmite. Funny how preferences change, isn’t it?

  5. Cool article, makes me want to pick up a jar of Vegemite when I’m next at the supermarket. I like how you often squeeze in food subjects in a financial magazine. ;)

  6. i have to say, i was cleaning out my fridge the other day, and i examined my big jumbo glass jar of vegemite (they don’t seem to make the big size anymore) that i’d bought when i first moved into my house seven years ago. i think it was hideously out of date, but is still of course in excellent edible condition. all that preserving salt! i don’t think vegemite could ever go off.

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