From Too Many Chefs -

March 2, 2004
Reply to Marmite

Just wanted to give a somewhat personal note on Marmite. When I was little (this is how every story I tell to my kids starts...) I was rummaging through my mother's cabinets and sampling everything in sight - I was very interested in the container that said cocoa and smelled like chocolate... (in which my brain excluded the word "unsweetened") Finally in the spice section, there was this very small jar - brown glass with a yellow lid (don't ask me why I remember that) Naturally, I opened it - and ewwww. Marmite smells terrible. I asked mom what it was - she said it was for coloring gravy. I am sure she has used it maybe twice in her life, since at a tender age, I took over the cooking - simply for self defense.

Posted by Dr. Meg at March 2, 2004 7:30 PM | TrackBack

Self-defense is why I took to eating out. My father was the type to put celery in mashed potatoes so they would "crunch". Yehh.

Posted by Barrett on March 2, 2004 at 9:53 PM

Funny you should pick up on the same point I was going to comment on, Barrett - I wonder how many of us there are out there who began to learn how to cook out of self-defense? My mom was too busy working and gardening and grading papers to spend much time trying to make food taste good.

Posted by Meg in Paris on March 3, 2004 at 2:14 AM

My father was probably the better of the two cooks in my family. I lost my mother early on, but her specialties were dried out burgers baked in the oven, grilled cheese baked in the oven, and boiled egg noodles drenched with butter and salt. All were tasty at the time, but none were exactly gourmet.

Now she WAS half-English, so that may explain it...

Posted by Barrett on March 3, 2004 at 9:53 AM

Having been brought up by parents who immigrated from England to the States in 1959, Marmite was a childhood staple.

A typical childhood breakfast in my home consisted of a soft boiled egg sitting a top an egg cup, with a glazed picture of Humpty Dumpty straddling his wall, sitting amongst radiating spikes of "Marmite soldiers." For those of you who aren't British by osmosis, Marmite soldiers are made by thinly spreading Marmite on toast, and then slicing the bread crosswise into four or five thin strips. These strips, or "soldiers" can be more easily dunked into cups of tea or coffee, or into the liquid yellow center of a soft boiled egg.

Another Marmite inspired breakfast consisted of a slice of bread anointed with a thin smear of Marmite, with a fried egg laid across the top. slicing open the yolk of the over easy egg sent rivulets of golden yolk into the bread, where it would mix with the salty savoriness of the Marmite.

After school snacks consisted of thin slices of Cheddar cheese, laid a top my mother's freshly baked bread, with a thin layer of savory Marmite bonding the soft sweetness of the thick crusted bread to the sharp Cheddar flavors.

My mother (who was originally from Italy, and a wonderful cook) often used Marmite in gravies; especially for roasts of beef served alongside Yorkshire pudding, roasted potatoes, and steamed broccoli.

Marmite is certainly a taste that must be acquired at a young age if it is to be appreciated in later life. The few friends who have seen me eating it and asked to have a taste look at me incredulously every time afterwards when they see me applying a thin layer of the stuff to a crusty slice of Italian Ciabatta or French Batard.


Posted by StrangeReading on March 3, 2004 at 4:15 PM

StrangeReading: Thanks much for your story! One of the points of our "I Wouldn't Eat It" stories is that for many reasons, some people really do like this stuff we find disgusting.

It's nice to know that someone is eating the stuff becasue they like Marmite, and that it's not just being used to torture small children.

Posted by Barrett on March 3, 2004 at 9:06 PM

Marmite is the food of the gods. How can you not know this? I think you have to be weaned on the stuff in order to really appreciate it.

It's a peculiarly British thing (and ex-Empire: NZ, Aus and SA all have their own versions), and like they say, you either love it or hate it.

The original and best stuff has got a website at Go there and say sorry to the nice people.

Posted by Matt Hobson on January 25, 2005 at 12:56 PM

That's I thought it was an automatic link thing. Bloody weblogs ;)

Posted by Matt Hobson on January 25, 2005 at 1:00 PM