Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Marmite Marmite Marmite

(Ok, here goes my first proper blog post. I don't know if I'll be able to do this very regularly, and it may take a while for me to get into the swing, but here goes a little one:)

Famously, you either love it or you hate it. (Though I’ve now found that there’s A Third Way, vis., you’ve never heard of it.) It’s a sticky, salty, brown substance in a jar that you spread on toast. (That's warmed up bread). It’s also famously (ok, not that famously in some benighted regions) quintessentially English. I like it, not that that proves anything, and as I live a long way from The Muvverland I have amassed a collection of it to give me solace at breakfast-time. Not only this, in my more manic and desperate moments of homesickness, I’ve found my mind fixated on the stuff - frankly, to the exclusion of much else that might actually rescue me from this madness. Anyway, I hereby invent a new parlour game for all Englishmen living abroad; it’s called “Marmite News”. Basically, all you have to do is to think of articles, features, stories, etc, that could fill a weekly publication (yes, weekly) devoted entirely to Marmite. You don’t have to actually like the stuff; all you have to do is humour me and help me get through a few more days here. I’m going to kick off with some headlines:

Would you still like it if your country had a proper gastronomic tradition? Yes.
The 1957 revision of the Marmite label: was it really all bad?
People who don't eat Marmite die, eventually.

And here are some clues for the Marmite News crossword:

1 across: Brown, sticky, salty stuff that you buy in a jar and spread on toast, but not Bovril (7).
2 across: Sticky and yeasty – sailor, I’m confused within me! (7).
1 down: Mother’s worth a try, we hear (7).
2 down: Rim team (anag.) (7).


M C Ward said...

I knew you had it in you. And I'm the first to comment - quite a day!

I personally can't stand the stuff, not that I've ever tried it.

The crossword's going to take me a while, but I'll get back to you.

Mrs Pouncer said...

Hograve on Thames

Hi Mr Dilo, Fenella Rampound here and as you can see I am staying at the Pouncers place as their house guest for Royal Ascot but not going to races today because of weather mainly because my hat is made up of over 67,000 feathers of an African bird (can't remember what sort. One that can't run very fast I think or without wings) and I can't get it wet. Anyhoo Mrs Pouncer asked me to keep her readers up to date with stuff (there are only 4 of you I think) and comment on their pages etc while she's at races and I will start with you because your blog seems a bit dull being all about Marmite which reminds me of Pandy Harfe-Coque's blog about bathmats which lasted about 2 minutes. Also the crossword is a bit tough for the average reader and it's like you're showing off or something. I think 1 across is "Tarbuck" and the anagram is "Tammier" (definition "to be more like Tammy") but Wulfric says only ugly women do crosswords so I won't try anymore. Anyhoo if you want to know more about me or what's happening to the aged Pouncers you will have to read Mrs Pouncer's Counsel which I shall be writing for the duration of the meet. Love love and love Nella Rampound x

Gadjo Dilo said...

Thanks, MC, quite a day indeed! Like with art, you don't have to enjoy it you just have to know it what it means.

Ms Rampound, delightful to hear from you, but I do recommend that you take off to the meet forthwith - all the decent young blades will be bonking away in the bushes with their first cousins by sunset and you really don't want to miss out. Please give my regards to Mrs Pouncer and the other gels!

No Good Boyo said...

Arianrhod is already a Marmite addict. She scorns sugary confections for the yeasty goodness we all adore. Mrs Boyo thinks it tastes like old trees, and she ought to know.

Gadjo Dilo said...

She's a fine lass, Boyo, and the Marmite won't do her any harm. I'm hoping to write posts of more interest and lasting benefit to mankind - when the muse is upon me - but I thought I'd start off with a fairly uncontroversial one so as to get my foot in the door.

Mrs Boyo is right about the old trees. I don't say this because I know it's made of old trees, but because I know that Mrs Boyo is right. Cheers!

Mrs Boyo said...

Wise words, Gadjo.

And I'm a Nietzschean heroine, by the way.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Oh, what a faux pas, you have me again. Those descriptions are still work in progress; I'm not entirely happy with "heroine" - true though it be - and was looking for something in German and with less suggestion of mortality about it. So, if you know the mot juste, as you surely will, please furnish me with your own epithet!

Gorilla Bananas said...

Good heavens, you have a blog! "Marmite" is a brand name. Is it really any better than the supermarket brands? Or crushed black ants marinated in soya sauce?

Gadjo Dilo said...

Hurray, Bananas is here as well!! You are most graciously welcomed. Does it matter that Marmite is a brand name? Have I got to say Yeast Extract?

You'll have to argue with Mrs Boyo about its ingredients. (Yeah, right, if you're crazy). I'm simply going to say "you're both right" and then go on holiday: to a beach in Italy, if anybody's interested, with my wife and 10 of her single female friends. It sounds like a week of almost unbearable temptation, for them at least, and maybe I'll try to think of something mildly amusing to say about it when I get back. Happy holidays to everybody!

Gyppo Byard said...

There's something about crossing salt water that makes those of us born in blighty start craving the stuff. "Anything you'd like us to bring out?" people write to you before setting off to see you in your jungle longhouse"Yes - marmite!" you reply enthusiastically, presumably in the hope that if your British passport is stolen you can still prove your credentials to the British Ambassador by eating it without throwing up. My 9-year old daughter's favourite sandwich filling is 'marmite and cream cheese', though she also ticks the 'overseas Indonesian' box by putting weapons-grade chilli sauce on her food.

You could also add the article "A French chef writes: 'Zis is food? Pah!'"

Gadjo Dilo said...

Ha! Yes indeed, the French will never understand - and we'll never want them to. Welcome to you as well, your royal Gypponess. I am feeling chipper today. Your daughter sounds like an excellent person.

By the way, can you can me any of those clove-flavoured kretek cigarettes? I used to smoke them, and enjoy them, but I suspect that they got made illegal in Europe by EU trade resolution paragraph 1. Though, if you do personally import them, I imagine that your supply quickly gets snapped up by Boyo!

Gyppo Byard said...

I do indeed have a supply of kretek 'for personal use', and can get more. Rumour has it that they are indeed technically illegal under EU law on the grounds that the cloves count as an additive to the tobacco, but that nobody ever enforces that particular law. And yes, Boyo is a regular customer. If you send me a private e-mail with your address I'll pop a pack in the post for you. Do you prefer Djarum brand or Sampoerna? If it's all one, I'd recommend Djarum on the grounds of greater weight per gasper.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Thanks a lot. I like the slightly conical and seeemingly hand-made ones. Not sure what they're called. Sadly, they'd probably get impounded on the Hungarian border though.