January 26th is Australia Day, the official National Day of Australia.
It marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip.
In modern Australia, celebrations reflect the diverse society* and landscape of the nation, and are marked by community and family events, reflections on Australian history, official community awards, and citizenship ceremonies welcoming new members of the Australian community.
*Editor’s note: Some indigenous Australians, may not be celebrants Australia Day. Having been pushed aside by the British, they label Australia Day as “Invasion Day,” and stage protests instead. Here’s the history.
Honor it by eating something Australian. Suggestions:
As with Shake ‘n Bake, a product created as a way to use up Grape-Nuts crumbs that were sifted out during production, Vegemite was born of the desire to use, rather than toss, manufacturing leftovers.
In 1922 an Australian businessman commissioned a young chemist, Cyril Callister, to develop a spread from used brewer’s yeast that was dumped into the trash. The British had a similar, successful product, Marmite.
The name Vegemite was drawn from a hat of entries from a national naming competition.
The spread was marketed as “delicious on sandwiches and toast, and improving the flavours of soups, stews and gravies.” Since then, it has become a go-to spread for breakfast toast and for sandwiches.
More modern additions include Vegemite-cheese sandwiches, Vegemite and avocado toast, Vegemite pizza, and Vegemite scrolls, rolled biscuits with Vegemite and grated cheese.
The “Happy Little Vegemites” jingle was first heard on the radio in 1954. The subsequent television commercial is below.
 The most recognizable Australian food in the U.S. is the kiwi, which is available in both green and gold varieties (photo of SunGold kiwi courtesy Zespri).  Lamington is a sponge cake topped with chocolate icing and desiccated coconut. Here’s a recipe from Jaime Oliver.  Pavlova is a meringue ring filled with fruit, created to honor the ballerina Anna Pavlova (here’s the recipe from Jamie Oliver).  Vegemite: as important to Australians as peanut butter is to Americans (photo courtesy Dean-Wilmot-Bauer Media).
*The original Vegemite television commercial, which the person who posted it on YouTube calls
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