Wednesday, 24 June 2009
Marmite Strategies 101
"Next time you spread Marmite your toast, I'm going to need to see a little bit more conviction"
The above quote was said to me during a lesson in Marmite strategies of consumption 101 by a certain Marmite guru named Ben. Several mornings had passed by of me opting to put everything but Marmite on my toast. "Would you like some Marmite?" No, I would not. "Do you even like Marmite?" Um, no, I don't. Usually, when it comes to food, I can get by without the British rolling their eyes at me and thinking "Stupid American", but claiming to not like Marmite is a situation you don't want to be in when there are a bunch of Brit's around who love love love their Marmite. "Try it with meat!" Some stickers say.....yeah, probably not.
I was peer pressured into trying it and I had no valid reason not to eat it. It's vegan, high in B vitamins and is sort-of unassuming in it's brown bottle with yellow stickers. Why not eat it? Well, smell it, that's why. Put your nose to a jar of Marmite and instantly something in your spine will tingle and there may or may not be a certain lurch in your stomach. It's dark and sticky and smells of old yeast and musk. Not impressive.
I've been avoiding Marmite since I moved here. My roommates don't eat it too much and my British friends thus far have not pressured me into eating it. Not liking Marmite is one of those secrets you can hide pretty easily. But when all eyes are on you and you must speak truthfully, it can be a sticky situation for sure. Especially when you are trying to impress people!
So, there happened to be someone at the table who took pity on me (Marmite guru Ben) and was pretty proud to show me his Marmite Strategy. Eager to please, I complied. What's the worst that could happen? And here's how it went down...
1. If opening the jar for the first time, make a wish before opening it. Very important.
2. Lightly butter your toast which should be warm, but not too hot. Either white or brown (yeah, they say 'brown' for wheat. strange) toast is okay.
3. Dip your butter knife into the jar and lift out enough Marmite to cover about a centimeter or two of the end of the knife. It was pointed out to me from another table member, "Remember, you can always add more, but you can't really take it away". No pressure or anything.
*Note- it's ok to not clear all the butter off your knife before inserting it into the Marmite jar. Often remnants of butter are found in the jars and this is not at all considered a taboo. I imagine that toast crumbles are not okay though. Just don't lick the knife or anything.
4. Evenly spread the Marmite on the toast creating a nice marbled effect with the butter. It will be a nice brown and yellow (sort of like the bottle???)
5. Enjoy your by-product of beer brewing on toast just like a true Brit!
I did all of the above with a lot of concentration knowing that I was being closely watched by the other natives at the table. "Don't fuck it up" I kept telling myself. "But be honest, that's all you can do at this point".
My first bite was ambitious and big. A large portion of white toast, butter and Marmite went down the gullet....chew chew chew....hmmm, not bad! Honestly, it just reminded me of soy sauce. (Which is quite similar, actually)
My liking the Marmite took reign in excitement over the table for a few seconds. Whew. Yes! I like Marmite! Watch me take another giant bite! But then, as quoted earlier, to really be convincing of my love for Marmite, I need to learn to spread and smear with more conviction- more authority. It's one thing to say it, it's a completely different thing to show your love. Life lessons in a jar of yeast extract. Who knew?
And of course, it's not just enjoyed on toast with butter (or on meat???) but another favorite way of eating it is with cucumbers. I tried this in the comfort of my own home, alone, and found it really delicious. The salty flavors of the Marmite combined with the cool cucumber was reminiscent of how the flavors of feta and cucumber pair so nicely. Salty, cool, crunchy-a nice combination indeed. Which reminds me, I've also heard it's good with cheese. And of course, Marmite advertises snacks of cheese, cashews and rice cakes flavored with it. I imagine they are pretty amazing.
So when confronted with a jar of Marmite and a bunch of pushy Brits sitting around the table egging you on- don't be scared. Kick ass, smear that shit with confidence and wipe the bread crumbs from the corners of your smile. It's good, dammit, and you don't have to have a silly accent to enjoy it.
Also, I'm sure there are millions of strategies for enjoying Marmite. I've seen it smeared on thick (barf), without butter and on various foods. Everyone will have their way of consuming it (just google it- everyone has their own firm opinions on this matter) but I agree with Ben that this is the best way; for beginners and novices alike. Do you love it or hate it? Let me know!
Posted by sweet-tempered at 22:40
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