I used to run around as a toddler with tea in a bottle and marmite soldiers (toast strips with marmite on) squished in my hands. (Not a lot has changed since – my tea is now in a mug, my toast now sliced in half. The essence is still there). I remember the stickiness oozing through my fingers and the fascinating marks my fingers would then leave on the walls! Marmite has always been a part of my world and there is always a sinking feeling when the jar is nearly empty! It may be more expensive per gallon than petrol (so my mother used to tell me), but it is almost drug like in the way it has a hold on me. I have to have it. It is pure comfort.
As I got older, I experimented: Marmite on toast dipped into boiled eggs, marmite drizzled on to pasta and cheese, marmite dumplings! Friends and colleagues would joke about it, handing me meals and leaving a jar of marmite on the side in case I wanted to use it as freely as children use ketchup!
I first noticed marmite merchandising when I was ten: marmite crisps. My mother never bought these because thesewere a “want” item rather than a “need” item (We worked strictly within these boundaries). As I got older I noticed more products on offer – Marmite chocolate, cashew nuts and biscuits! Even marmite toothpaste and lip balm was on offer! I tried the cashew nuts but it was, I am sad to admit, a little too odd! I didn’t try anything else. Alongside the alternative treats, jars changed. Squeezy bottles were now an option, different “collectable” flavours came in to play: old, extra old, champagne, gold. I tried them all! (The gold was my personal favourite) There are now marmite tea pots, aprons, china pots, mugs….. you name it, marmite has made it.
Marmite even made an appearance on an antiques TV show. Old jars (I can’t remember now if they were open or unopened), from years ago – particularly the limited edition ones are, apparently, worth money! What a shame I didn’t keep all the jars I have gone through!
So, after three days with no marmite (possibly a record for me), I have finally relented and bought a jar. I am feeling creative so the floor is open to suggestions: Have you ever cooked with marmite? Have you ever baked with marmite? Have you added marmite to dishes in any unusual way? Maybe you are not a lover of marmite (I call these the marmaladi). Whether you are a lover or not, I would love to hear from you.
For now though, my toast has popped up. Time to break the seal and dig right in!