Thursday, 14 February 2008

OK, so I bought into it

And we were going to be so cynical and 21st century about the whole St. Valentine's Day thing. After all, we don't need to swell the profits at Hallmark cards to express our feelings, do we?

But then this came into my life:

A quick note of explanation is probably necessary for Americans and all other forrin-types. Marmite is, by appearance, a by-product from the road-building industry. It's a thick, dark brown, almost black, goo; a yeast extract you could use for waterproofing your coracle, if you were that way inclined. And had a coracle.

It's rich, salty, tangy and hearty. And, to use the vernacular popular in certain places, it totally rocks. Gosh. I'm actually watering at the mouth ever so slightly. As a child it was one of the few things I'd touch, so between the ages of 4 and 12 I consumed enough to float a frigate.

This is a special limited-edition version of Marmite for St. Valentine's Day, with a tiny bit of champagne added to the recipe for no justifiable reason whatsoever. I like it just for that.

I haven't yet opened the jar. As far as Katie is concerned, when I brought this home last night I may as well have smuggled Polonium-210 into the house. She doesn't just dislike Marmite - I think she feels a little uncomfortable at the thought of it being within 50 feet. In fact, I had to distract her with Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and some Gordon Ramsay chocs.

Katie isn't alone in feeling like this. You see, Marmite polarises opinion like nothing else. People do not "like" Marmite. They evangelise about it. Other people do not just feel ambivalent. They strike it out as the food substance of the Devil. The word "Marmite" has now been taken to refer to anything that divides opinion.

I suppose when you think about it I can see the Marmite-haters' point. It doesn't look at all appetising. The smell is overpowering and the taste is all-or-nothing. It's actually quite easy to despise. But despite that, there are some people (me included) who love it with a passion.

Is that the point? Faults aside, can everyone find someone who loves them?

Maybe that's what today is all about.


AndrewE said...

Marmite is truly the nectar of the Gods. My wife is a heathen who can't stand it. But I think I'll keep her. ;)

fatboyfat said...

On the subject of 'nectar of the Gods',I actually referred to Marmite as 'ambrosia' yesterday.

A colleague corrected me, saying, "No, that's the rice pudding."

I worry about my co-workers.

Anonymous said...

Happy VDay, FabBoyFab!

Tom said...

The States get nothing of tht sort of thing. I may have to get the Brit Sisters to bring some back when they visit next.

So the Iraq war would be the same as Marmite?

City Girl said...


I'm so proud of you for saying, "It rocks." :o)

Also, I believe you've just come up Hilary Clinton's new code name.

Marmite. Can the Secret Service borrow that, please?

Le laquet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Le laquet said...

Why is it that there's always a My-mate lover and a hater in the family? I am of course the lover and he who has no clue is currently painting his coracle before heading down the Afon Llwchwr* to oblivion.

*Could be substituted with the name of any Welsh river ;o)

Kate said...

I got this for Valentines Day too!
My other half is anti-Marmite, and I was too until I went to uni, then it became a staple food.
We've got the Guinness version too.

fatboyfat said...

tom: I can't imagine how the already scary US customs officers would react when faced with a jar of Marmite in a British traveller's luggage.

city-girl: Now I just need to get you to say "bostin" a lot and we have perfect synchronicity.

laquet: I'm just happy I got "coracle " and "frigate" into one post. It's all about the sea-going vessels with me.

kate: I got the Guinness one too! It's still in date, as well - you could outlast a nuclear winter with this stuff.

Rebecca said...

Now that you've waxed so rhapsodically over marmite, I'm thinking I need to head down to my imported foods store to see if they have any.


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