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Monday, September 24, 2012

New book tells the story of the man who invented Vegemite

New book, books, The Man Who Invented Vegemite, author, non-fictionVegemite is an Australian cultural icon, and soon a book about the invention of this salty, black paste will be available.

booktopia.com.au - Australia's #1 online bookstore The Man Who Invented Vegemite documents the life of Cyril Callister, scientist and director of Fred Walker & Co. Cyril invented the spread during the early 1920s as an alternative to the British Marmite, the import of which was disrupted due to World War I.

Jamie Callister – Cyril's grandson – wrote the book. A former advertising executive and builder, Jamie decided to put pen to paper in this his first book after reading through some of his grandfather's letters and documents. He believes his grandfather deserves “to be remembered as a significant and remarkable Australian.”

Cyril had an ''an unshakeable belief in Vegemite, that it was good, and he persevered''. While invented as mentioned in the 1920s, Vegemite did not become the legendary icon it is today until the late 30s. Off the back of profits made from Fred Walker & Co's joint venture with Kraft, Vegemite was well promoted, and its inclusion in World War II ration packs made it into something of a patriotic symbol. Also, medical confirmation of its rich Vitamin B1 content provided a health angle for advertising purposes.

Today, more than 22 million jars of Vegemite are produced per year, with a recipe virtually unchanged from Cyril's original: brewers' yeast extract, a by-product of beer manufacturing, various vegetables, wheat and spice additives. In October 2008 the billionth jar of Vegemite was produced.

In his book, Jamie Callister simply seeks to honour the man behind this household staple; ''It's my story but it's our story because we've all grown up with it, anyone who's had Vegemite on the table.''

The Man Who Invented Vegemite, AUD $29.99, Published October 2012, 224 pages, paperback. It will be will be launched at a community hall in Beaufort near Cyril's birthplace on October 11 at 11am, followed by Vegemite sandwiches. Read more at The Brisbane Times.

- Josiah Hallett

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