If you've never tried Vegemite, you're missing out — at least, that's what they say in Australia, where the savory spread is king. But if you're not from Down Under, you probably don't even know what it is.
Well, Vegemite is a breakfast spread with a peanut butter-like consistency that's made from brewers' yeast extract. This Australian staple, renowned for a salty, sometimes yeasty flavor, was inspired by the British spread Marmite, that's also made from yeast extract.
The Marmite Food Extract Company bottled and exported its spread to Australia and New Zealand in the early 1900s. Rich in vitamin B, Marmite was a staple for soldiers during World War I. When war disrupted imports, Australians had to get creative. Melbourne chemist Cyril Percy Callister introduced Australia's own version of the black paste, and Vegemite was born.
Fast-forward more than 100 years, and Vegemite is still an Australian favorite. Kentucky resident Sid Pomeroy, who was born in Australia and lived there for 37 years before moving to the U.S., says most families start their kids on Vegemite early. "My first taste that I remember would be around age 4 or 5," Pomeroy says in an email. "It's just something we ate most mornings for breakfast: Vegemite on toast. Even to this day I watch my 1-year-old granddaughter eat Vegemite toast via FaceTime."