Why I'm sad I can no longer get worms from my Arnott's Vita-Weat biscuits


When I heard the news today that it's now impossible to make worms from our beloved childhood staple biscuits, Arnott's Vita-Weats, a whole stack of memories came flooding back and I threw my head back and yelled "Nooooooo!"

With 2016 being a year of immense human tragedy globally, my reaction might seem a tad out of whack. It seems hardly a week can go by without a fresh new atrocity being committed against innocent people and now this has only added to my sadness.

Weird and inappropriate you might think, but please let me explain. I was six years old when this ad came out in 1981.

There probably wasn't a single kid of the 80s with a TV, who didn't know that catchy jingle off by heart. At the 17 second mark there's the iconic image of the young boy squeezing his Vegemite and butter worms through those fabled Vita-Weat holes. 

Seriously now, every single kid right then and there begged their parents to buy them Vita-Weats. They were such a fun and glorious after school snack. Perfect curly worms rearing their heads, then curling as they grew longer and finally destroyed with a lick of the tongue. Then crunch crunch crunch; the eating part over much too quickly, so it was back to the kitchen to make more.

There's a ritual involved when eating Vita-Weats; it's as much a part of me as Vegemite, as the smell of (the now maligned) Reef Oil in summer, of the rush of wind through my hair as I ride a bike. Just as I am transported back to childhood if I hear the theme songs to A Country Practice, Dallas or Dynasty, so too am I transported by the ritual of Vita-Weats.

I even taught my kids the joy of Vita-Weat worms and I'm not alone. It's generational.


So it seems bit by bit, little parts of what we loved as kids are being turned into something else. While the 80s was far from a perfect era and my childhood not completely idyllic, it's another step closer to a world I don't recognise. 

A world without Vita-Weat worms. A world where all the tragedy of human suffering is available 24/7, where the horror of what people do to each other visits me in my lounge room. I already don't recognise most music, have lost track of the latest TV stars and am watching a high-rise development make my own street and suburb unrecognisable.

Vita-Weat worms represent something reliable, familiar and warm. A truly simple pleasure in a very complicated world.

So forgive me if I feel disproportionately sad about their demise. They weren't just Vegemite worms to me; they remind me of when my world felt secure and much much simpler.

It seems others feel pretty sad about it too.

Other childhood things now ruined by companies:
- the game of Uno... turned into a robot
- Monopoly, now in umpteen different versions
- the rise of the licensed Lego set which limits creativity
- Ruffles and Polly Waffles - both now extinct

To make us all feel a little better, have a click through this gallery of childhood toys and food from your childhood