Umami [uː mɑː mi], popularly referred to as savoriness, is one of the five basic tastes together with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Umami is a loanword from the Japanese umami (うま味?) meaning “pleasant savory taste”.This particular writing was chosen by Professor Kikunae Ikeda from umai (うまい) “delicious” and mi (味) “taste”. The Chinese characters 旨味 are used for a more general meaning, when a particular food is delicious. (wikipedia)
So the Danes, with little else to worry about, have examined Marmite, found it to contain added vitamins and – thus – banned it. As they say in Copenhagen, hvilket helvedet? That explains why, with the exception of Sidey and a few large dogs, I’ve never met a Dane I could warm to.
For me, Marmite is the quintessential smell of the schoolroom and the aroma of Marmite on toast brings back memories of doing my homework in my bedroom on winter afternoons. Dialogue on Facebook and Twitter yesterday gave evidence that the same was true for hundreds of people in England and South Africa.
I was so upset for the Danish schoolchildren that I went out and got my hair dyed the same colour as Marmite. Well that was my intention, but I chose the wrong shade and it came out plum. This gave my daughter a fright when she got home from school. There was nothing for it really; I had to make her a bowl of Marmite noodles to calm her down, because – as Nigella’s muse, Anna del Conte, puts it – I haven’t as yet found a child who doesn’t like it”.
Come to think of it, umami sounds a lot like ooooh mommy …