All posts tagged: Australia

Post #100: Advice for Vegemite Virgins on Australia Day

My latest Zester piece encourages Americans to try Vegemite today, on Australia Day,  the country’s national holiday celebrating the day in 1788 when Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet of eleven convict ships from Great Britain arrived at Sydney Cove. If you try it, you’ll be joining a venerated group of non-Aussies who have taken the challenge: Oprah tried it during her shows in Sydney, on the steps of the Opera House, no less, and claimed to like it. Brad Pitt also tried it, sticking his finger boldly into the jar and tasting it from his fingertip, with diplomatic consideration for its flavor.  President Barack Obama confessed in 2011 to then-Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard that he found the spread “horrible,” disappointing Vegemite lovers—including me. Niall Horan of One Direction echoed this sentiment in 2012 when he tasted Vegemite toast live on Australian television only to spit it out and later share on Twitter, ”Can clearly say vegemite is horrible!” Ten American children tasted Vegemite for the first time in a popular video that circulated last year. Vegemite failed to …

To Eat, Or Not To Eat, Kangaroo

Inspired by my recent travels to Australia, my most recent Zester Daily piece explores kangaroo meat and its consumption in Australia and abroad. Low fat, high protein, eco-friendly, affordable, and served at top Aussie restaurants, kangaroo meat consumption appears to be on the rise, but not in Australia. For the most part, Australians are wary to eat kangaroo, as the animal has figured prominently in the nation’s history, identity, and popular culture. For more, please take a sec to read the article—and here’s an impromptu gallery of kangaroo imagery as thanks.

Vegemite: Advertising and the Making of an Australian Icon

Chocolate-like in appearance but with a flavor like nothing else on earth, the yeast extract spread Vegemite is essentially synonymous with Australia. Hired by the ambitious Fred Walker to create a copy of the British spread, Marmite (which coincidentally has an adorable Twitter feed), food scientist Cyril Callister developed Vegemite in 1923. Based on a mutual interest in developing a processed cheese with a longer shelf life, Walker joined forces with James Kraft, forming the Kraft Walker Cheese Company in 1926, whose Melbourne factory and head offices are pictured below (image 1). High in B vitamins during an historical moment when vitamins themselves were a new scientific phenomenon, Vegemite was from the beginning marketed by the Fred Walker Company as nutritious, particularly for children. For example, a Vegemite advertisement from the 1920s assured consumers that “there is no food richer in vitamins than Vegemite” and a point of sale advertisement from the 1930s emphasized the spread’s nutritional content and the themes of vitality, health, and childhood (image 2). Despite its vitamin content, consumers were initially slow to …