Darn it, an unwelcome surprise these days is to know a massive tasty food secret has gone public. That usually means a price uptick, and, perish the thought, even a shortage if demand becomes too great.
Heaven help us purists, who love a small dab of it spread over meltingly hot butter on our breakfast toast. Looks like the precious flavouring is becoming a ‘must have’ in kitchens around the world.
Famous chefs are using our beloved Marmite to add a secret, indefinable flavour to their dishes. Is it a coincidence that many of them who use it in their phenomenal food creations also possess Michelin stars? The stars are awarded very sparingly to only the very best of chefs, anywhere in the world.
What is it?
I have vivid memories of lining up with the other kids at recess in elementary school. There were two long tables set up under a shelter from the hot Zululand sun in South Africa. A couple of women would hand us each a piece of bread with a butter/marmite mix on it.
You couldn’t really tell from looking at it there was anything mixed into the butter, but when you tasted, there was this hit of salty deliciousness. It was by far our favorite spread, outdoing the scraping of jam and peanut butter offered on alternate days.
Marmite has always been a staple in my home and still is. I feel joy every time I see those little jars in our local supermarket stores. Sometimes there are bigger ones too, until word gets out to the South Africans, Brits and New Zealanders, who rush to buy them.
Marmite hoarders are the worst. They are so passionate about the stuff, they'll even risk criminal actions and accept the consequences.
People say it’s too high in salt, but actually it’s so concentrated it is always eaten very sparingly. I’ve heard it’s an acquired taste, but every kid I knew at the time acquired it with ease and relish!
The Mightiness of Marmite
- Marmite has history. It was part of every soldier’s ration during World War 1 to keep them healthy.
- Some more nutritional facts. Marmite will help your body by providing it with the following recommended daily allowances:
- Marmite contains a few simple ingredients: yeast extract, salt, vegetable extract, spices, and vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B9, B12). Marmite is gluten free, high in vitamins, vegetarian and low in calories, providing nearly 50% of the recommended daily allowance for folic acid per serving.
- B3 - 36%. Folic acid- 50%, Thiamin - 17%. ( this one protects your nervous system).This is an inexpensive way to get some if your daily vitamins. Reducing your stress and anxiety levels could be as simple as choosing the right spread for your morning toast. (Australians usually swear by Vegemite, a similar substance, and which has also similar health benefits.)
How to eat - the Marmite rules
- Brexit campaigners gave EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier a hamper of British products during a meeting at the European Commission in Brussels. Among the products was - you guessed it - Marmite! Also, Unilever, the manufacturer, protested that Brexit would have a negative effect on their business, and even threatened to move their headquarters to Amsterdam.
- In October this year there was worrying news that stocks of Marmite were running low at Tesco, a supermarket in England, after they refused Unilever’s demands to raise prices in the aftermath of the Brexit vote and fall in the pound. People started hoarding Marmite.
- Tesco removed a number of popular products from its website including Marmite, Bovril and PG Tips from its online store following the price row.
- For a day, the nation feared Marmite and Ben and Jerry's ice cream would disappear from shops but the two sides came to an agreement, although details of the deal were not revealed.
- You usually find it in the spice section of your supermarket, but unless you had childhood eating interactions with it, you’d probably ignore it and move on. This, despite its bold, somewhat tacky label challenging you to pick it up and try it.
Love it or hate it? Share your feelings!
In saying that, just never ever have Marmite and Vegemite on the same table. Brits, Aussies and South Africans will argue vociferously on the merits of their favourites. No one ever wins. In fact this article was inspired from arguing with my Aussie friend, Kay Jaeck, who will never give an inch on this topic.
Want to offer your opinion? Love it or hate it? Feel free to write a comment down here!