Written by Historicool
If the name Parwill isn’t ringing any bells for you, you’re not alone. Trust me, when I saw the word written a few days ago, the bells were well and truly silent. But what might surprise you is that you, or someone you know, smeared a layer of Parwill on their toast just this morning. Don’t believe me? Read on!
Prior to the outbreak of World War I, Australia imported a spread called Marmite from Britain. Marmite was almost black in colour and packed a punch in taste, and Australians couldn’t get enough of the stuff! But when the war made international exports difficult, Australia’s Marmite supply ran dry and there was a mar-mighty uproar!
And so the Victorian-based Fred Walker Company hired a young chemist to come up with an Australian alternative using yeast – one of the richest known sources of Vitamin B. That chemist was Dr Cyril Callister and, although he did not know it yet, he had just invented one of Australia’s greatest food icons!
In 1922 Fred Walker devised a plan to have the Australian public name the new invention, offering a prize of 50 pounds (over $3,500 in today’s money!) to the contestant who came up with the best name. The following year, ‘Vegemite’ hit the supermarket shelves… and it was a great big flop!
Marmite was back in stock and consumers were wary of the new brand sitting beside it, so in 1928 Fred Walker came up with a new strategy. Vegemite was renamed Parwill and ads appeared with the slogan “If Marmite…then Parwill!” (meaning “If Ma (mother) might... Pa (father) will!) but still the spread failed to capture the interest of the Australian public.
After several more years of perseverance, a change back to its original name, and an infectiously catchy jingle, Vegemite became a household brand and a favourite at breakfast tables around Australia…
But only Australia… Vegemite tasters from abroad have had varied and hilarious reactions to the sticky black spread, from comparisons to eating dirt to disgusted disbelief that it doesn’t taste like chocolate sauce! But maybe it’s just a matter of time before one of Australia’s finest food inventions blitzes the globe!
To put a rose in every cheek and be as bright as bright can be, check out this recipe that proves that Vegemite really is for breakfast, lunch and tea!
Vegemite, Egg & Tomato Tarts
- Muffin pan
- Wire rack
- 12 slices wholemeal bread
- Spray oil
- 4 eggs
- 1/3 cup cream
- 1 tbsp chives - chopped
- 1 to tomato - diced
- 100 g Danish feta - chopped
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (160 degrees fan-forced) and spray a 12-pan muffin tin with oil.
- Cut the crusts off each slice of bread and, using a rolling pin, roll each slice until it is very thin.
- Spread each slice with a smearing of Vegemite and press them gently into the the muffin pans.
- Put the empty bread cases into the oven for 5 minutes, or until the edges are a little crispy.
- Meanwhile, lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl together with the cream, chives and half of the feta.
- Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Carefully pour the egg mixture into the bread cases (remember that the tray will be very hot) and top each tart with some diced tomato and the remaining feta.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until the egg mixture has set.
- Gobble them up while they’re still warm!