Monday, September 07, 2009


Gluten Free Blog
Wiki on Marmite

Marmite is a comfort food. As a baby in England, I was colicky and fractious and had definite digestive issues. The doctor eventually threw up his hands and told my mother, "Try feeding her anything in your pantry. Something's bound to work." Such was the degree of pediatric expertise in 1949. My parents took that literally. A lot of what I was fed, back then, would qualify as child abuse, nowadays.

Marmite is in a class of its own. It is basically fermented yeast extract, taking the form of a dark brown goo. You actually start to digest it before you even swallow it, making it one of the most easily digestible foods available. The flavour is very strong, and not everyone is going to enjoy slathering it on toast, which is my preferred form of ingestion. You can sneak teaspoonfuls into stews, soups, gravies, and anything else you serve that is brown (with the possible exception of coffee). It is sold in small jars at World Market, though I can't find it on their website. also carries it, as does Friar Tuck's Pantry in downtown Round Rock.

I find it tasty. A lot of people don't. Still, whether you like it or not, it is very Good For You, and well worth the effort. It can be compared to Bovril (beef extract) or Miso (soy extract).

When I was little, children were expected to eat what was put in front of them, and, if they didn't like it hot, they could eat it cold. The fact of the matter was that children were routinely made to sit at the table until they had eaten everything on their plate, no matter how gross. Pigs' feet. Boiled asparagus. Rice pudding. Vegetable marrow. Beef fat. Tripe. Salt pork. Leeks. Most foods were seasonal, so we only had salads in summer. All other vegetables were boiled until grey. It was sad, really, what my mother could do to food.

Marmite on toast was an absolute joy! Still is!


  1. GAH! That tradition. My grandparents had it. And my grandfather was an abusive man and had my mother cowed. To this day I cannot even LOOK at corned beef.

    I had a will for sure. My grandfather made me sit for HOURS staring at the plate of meat that I couldnt even swallow. I gagged it back up (why couldnt they see I tried I wonder?) So I sat.

    The next morning I got up after being FINALLY put to bed without eating any of it to see that masochist making corned beef hash. All I could imagine was having to sit all day and night at that table.

    So I did what any rational 6 year old would. I hid in the closet (why that was better than the table I do not recall).

    I only came out when the police arrived and I heard my mother crying. When dear grandfather ordered her to beat me in front of the cops they advised her to take my brother and I out for lunch without the grandparents.

    Lovely story eh?

  2. I've never heard of marmite. Is it sweet, nutty, salty? What does it taste like?

  3. Melissa, they never would have acknowledged it was abuse. How could they? What their parents did to, THAT was abuse!

    Allison, the stuff tastes salty and sort of "beefy."

  4. The British are not known for their gourmet cooking.

  5. It's a canard. You never had one of my mother's Cornish Pasties!

  6. Aaah, Marmite! I grew up on it too (smeared on rusks for teething, and as a toast or sandwich spread). I always have a jar in the cupboard, mostly for toast these days, but also for the occasional Marmite and lettuce sandwich or hot drink (mixed with water). I prefer Marmite but I'm a bit of a Vegemite fan too.

  7. Ronni, I've just had such a larf reading you mad (both meanings ta) blog! Was Googling good friend Debsi's restaurant (friar tucks) for comments, I'm just 'Nosey of Nottinghamshire' sitting here in Blighty watching in wonderment as her life goes on in Texas. Found her on your page under Marmite. Wierd. Do you go? Do you buy your Marmite there? Do you like what's she's done? Or should I not ask so many questions incase I incite a rant?! Ta-raaa Duck !

  8. Well, Nosey in Nottingham, you are welcome to come and read any time. When my son was home from college over the summer, I took him to Friar Tuck's, and the place was hopping! We had to wait while they cleared us off a table! I was so pleased to see the place full. He ordered soup, being a bit leery of English food, and I went straight for the sausage roll. When the food came, he pronounced his soup delicious, but was casting a covetous eye on my sausage roll, so I got him one, too, and he polished it off.

    The business is doing very well, in spite of the economy, and Mrs Stevens is wonderful.

    I usually buy my Marmite at World Market, because it's cheaper, but I do go for Deborah's cheese scones...