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 …


75 thoughts on “MIGHTY MARMITE

    • Serves 4 (children)

      350-380g dried spaghetti
      50g unsalted butter
      1 tsp Marmite
      freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving

      Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the Marmite and 1 tablespoon of the pasta water. Mix thoroughly to dissolve, then pour over the drained spaghetti. Serve with plenty of grated parmesan cheese.

  1. Couldn’t live without Marmite. Have to import it from UK as soooo expensive here!

    The French HATE it.

  2. I grew up with tea, and have changed to coffee.
    I grew up with Marmite and have changed to Bovril.
    What does that say about me, I wonder?

    It would be interesting to know where the name ‘Marmite’ originated…

  3. I have developed the breakfast habit of Marmite / Bovorol sami’s and coffee. I love the taste of that with the coffee. However, what I find with Marmite is that it is almost toffee-like in texture and difficult to spread. That is one of the main reasons why I think I prefer Bovorol. Yes, the taste is slightly different, but that doesn’t matter if one tears the bread and one doesn’t. I wonder if I warm the Marmite slightly in the microwave, whether it will soften some so that it becomes more ‘spread-able’. What do you think?

    I was quite delighted to see this post because Marmite and Bovorol has been on my mind every morning for weeks now 😉

  4. A marmite is a French stock pot or cooking pot—like the one pictured on the front of the jar and shaped somewhat like the jar itself. The name of the French pot is pronounced “mar-MEET.” The product name may have been derived from a famous French soup, petite marmite.


  5. As you are probably aware, Americans don’t generally eat or are even aware of Marmite – or Vegemit or Cenovis – no not well traveled, just read cookbooks; however, it is sold here in specialty shops and in our Lebanese-American household as a child we had it. Our Polish doctor recommended it because I was too skinny (can’t say that anymore!) and anemic! It just occured to me looking at the vid that it wiould be a healthy lower-fat spread to use (vegan too, I think) in place of mayo. Hummmm, I never had it on anything but toast before. Must try. New taste treats. Thanks for bringing it up. Always game … Yum!

  6. Definitely part of my childhood, but third on my list of favourites behind Bovril, and (absolute winner) Armours Beef Extract. The latter tasted like chops smell but never quite live up to. Pity that Argentinian brand hasn’t been available for many decades. Even Harrods couldn’t find it.
    Marmite featured in a song my mother used to sing to my ‘brother’, a Persian cat. ‘… from Benoni-o; he loves his meat, Marmite’s a treat, but not polony-o!’

  7. Never had Marmite or Vegamite or Bovril. Only peanut butter . . . and marshmallow fluff.

    And marmalade on toast.

    Loved the ads that Tilly posted. 😀

  8. Marmite rules! Bovril is nice, too. Does anyone remember Fray Bentos (I think that’s how you spell it) It’s in my vault of childhood memories as well but I haven’t seen it for ages!

  9. I HATED marmite growing up- was just too strong. But Bovril was a different story. At least i could stand a spreading of it.
    The best was toast with grilled cheese, and then once you take off the grill- you spread bovril all over the cheese. That is delicious.

  10. I have never heard of Marmite — that it’s made of yeast is kind of disconcerting — can’t imagine the taste. Though I love homemade bread, so if it tastes anything like that, then maybe I’d like it. . . The Thai chili beef looks fantastic — love spicy food. Can’t wait to see your plum hair!

  11. Bit late on this one..I first heard about Marmite on a podcast by (get this) a Danish priest (he was hilarious). I did find at local grocer, but have yet to try….if the only Cin loves it, I shall give it a go~

  12. I had a boss who used to say – watch out when a woman does something drastic to her hair – she’s about to make a life-changing decision! Anything you want to tell us, Cin 😉

  13. My teenage daughter announced yesterday that when she eventually goes to university she will live on Marmite on toast. Had time to read your post but not all the comments so sorry if someone has mentioned Ms Marmite lover. Worth looking up on the English Can Cook http://marmitelover.blogspot.com/

  14. Pingback: CLICQUOT-TY CLICK AND JACARANDAS « The only Cin

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