This blog post is about Marmite. I apologise if it makes you hungry, nauseous, or confused.

Your mate. Marmite.

My partner enjoys Marmite. This isn’t a surprise: I’ve known it for years. Some weekend mornings I’ve seen her enthusiastically scoff down some Marmite on toast, and I’ve known times that she’s been feeling run-down and hungry and the prospect of a bit of Marmite is exactly what she needs to get her motor running again. She doesn’t eat it all the time, but she likes to keep a jar around in anticipation: Marmite lasts pretty much forever, so there’s no hurry.

It’s only since living with her, though, that I’ve seen so much of the strange sticky substance as I have. That’s not her doing, I’ll stress: she’s always respectful of the fact that I seem to just be one of those people who’s just never going to be a Marmite-eater, and she doesn’t surprise me with Marmite-infused foodstuffs. In exchange, I try not to complain whenever I can smell that the jar is open.

Her husband enjoys Marmite too. Sometimes she makes Marmite whirls, pastry spirals with a sharp taste of Marmite, and I think she does so mostly because she knows that he enjoys them so much. I honestly don’t know how often he eats the stuff other than when she serves it: occasionally, I guess.

Marmite whirls. You love them, or you hate them, or you go round and round and round them like an escaped rollercoaster.

I’ve only recently kept Marmite in my cupboard: it’s a new addition to my food supply. Are my partner and husband responsible for this? No… well, only insofar as that they once reminded me that they keep Marmite in the house: “We keep our Marmite in this cupboard,” they said, and that was that. (sometimes they disagree on which shelf the Marmite belongs on, but more often than not they’re in agreement)

But now there’s Marmite in my cupboard. I’m not sure why I keep it there. I still don’t really like Marmite, although I think that with experience I’ve learned to appreciate what others see in its flavour, even if it doesn’t sit comfortably in me.

I look at the jar of Marmite in my cupboard. “Why are you there?” I ask it, “What am I supposed to do with you?” It doesn’t answer. It is, of course, only Marmite. I realise that I’m standing alone in the kitchen, talking to my shelf, and I feel a little stupid. But it’s a puzzle that I can’t solve: how did the Marmite even get into my cupboard? I certainly didn’t buy it. Did it… put itself there?

Time for some buttered toast.

This blog post is not about Marmite. My apology still stands.

14 replies to Marmite

  1. > I honestly don’t know how often he eats the stuff other than when she serves it: occasionally, I guess.

    Uh, yeah, I suppose. I do quite like the fanciness of actual Marmite whirls, especially for special occasions, like birthday parties and whatnot (although a Marmite and brie sandwich is almost always too fancy for my tastes).

    Mainly I appreciate knowing I could eat Marmite if I really needed to, even if I don’t make time to actually dig the bread out*. I don’t make a habit of having it habitually, and occasionally I think perhaps I prefer Gentleman’s Relish but it’s good to know where to find it nonetheless.

    ‘s clever, that is.

    *Although I get proper fed up when people try and tell me it’s bad for me, and I shouldn’t have any. Because fuck those guys trying to tell me what to eat.

  2. Okay. I think I get this post, and JTA’s comment appears to confirm my suspicions. If you’re saying what I think you’re saying then it’s quite a surprise.

    • Yes; I would imagine it is. Why would somebody who neither liked more saw the point in Marmite, who only ever came into contact with it in the cupboards of other people (and then, sometimes, mocked them for their taste in spread, if they were foolish enough to try to justify it by pointing out how nutritious or tasty it is, to them), suddenly find himself in possession of a jar of his own?

      It turns out that liking Marmite is not a prerequisite to owning it.

      • That makes sense. I’d be very interested to hear how you came by it. It doesn’t strike me as the sort of thing you pick up by mistake when, for example, shopping for peanut butter. ;)

        But then what would I know? I’ve not tried it for a long time…

        • I looked in my cupboard, and there it was. It’s been there for many months, now, and I’ve no idea what to do with it.

          I still don’t like the taste or smell of it. And I certainly don’t follow the recipe books that people have written about it. But somehow, bam, it’s appeared there in my cupboard, without rational explanation.

          Peanut butter? Ick! You disgusting heathen. If peanut butter was meant to be eaten, they wouldn’t make it out of peanuts. =o)

          • I think we’ve reached the point where the Marmite analogy is obscuring a more involved discussion. :)

            I’ll be very interested to hear more about what ‘owning Marmite’ feels like to you when you’re ready. And what the nature of the Marmite in your cupboard is.

            I assume you only own the pure form of Marmite, and are not currently getting involved in the wider industry which surrounds (some would say taints) an otherwise quite palatable product.

            PS – Peanut butter is the one true spread.

  3. I took a tour of the United Kingdom over the Christmas period, and was offered no fewer than five different beds to sleep in. Here’s a little about each of them:
    Robin’s Bed
    The first bed belonged to Robin, (Ruth‘s little brother) at their mother’s house. Robin wasn’t with us for the entire period that Ruth, JTA and I spent visiting Ruth’s mother, so I was able to annex his bed for much of the time.
    Robin, his boss, and his boss’s dog turned up in a rental van: “The only vehicle they could get hold of at short notice on Christmas Eve.”
    While at first it appeared to be just a regular single bed, closer investigation revealed that the entire headboard was hinged, with radial bolts to hold it upright during normal use. Opening these bolts allowed the headboard to tilt forward and lie down on the bed. I have no idea what purpose this mechanism was supposed to serve, but it was very useful for getting my hand down the back to plug my mobile phone charger in to the otherwise-inaccessible sockets behind.
    Owen’s Folding Mattress
    While Robin and his boss were around, though, I was relegated to the living room floor, and given a folding mattress that Owen (Ruth’s older brother) used to keep in his van as a crash-space. Unfolded and then wrapped in a blanket and sheet for comfort, it didn’t look like much except a quick way to consume floor space.
    But damned if it wasn’t the most comfortable thing I slept on all week. I’d jarred my back in some awkward way (probably lugging my enormous suitcase and a stack of presents around the country!), and a low, firm mattress on a hard floor turns out to have been exactly what it needed to speed my recovery.

    If this kind of futon looks familiar, then like me you probably used to volunteer somewhere that owned one. This one’s a single, which is significantly less-awkward to fold and unfold.
    My Mother’s Futon
    My next overnight stop was in Preston, visiting my family. My mother keeps a futon in her study, a room barely bigger than the bed when fully deployed, which made getting into and out of the room more than a little challenging, but only marginally less-difficult than re-folding it back into a chair every time.
    The futon itself was comfortable enough, but the room was extremely nippy. After a particular cold snap one day, I began taking not one but two hot water bottles to bed, and running an electric heater for an hour or so beforehand. I suppose the main problem was the tiny 4.5-tog “summer” duvet I was using, which I’m sure would have delightful if I were in, say, Egypt. Still: I got to rediscover quite how delightfully opulent it is to get into a bed that’s been freshly warmed by a pair of hot water bottles, which was nice (albeit also necessary).
    My Dad’s Bed
    When he left Preston to go and finish his final few days with Go North East, he offered me the use of his bed, which – given the temperatures on my mother’s futon – I should have taken.
    But I didn’t, so this bed is the bed that wasn’t. Five just seemed like a better number than four for the article title. And no, “five beds” isn’t a metaphor for something (which I feel the need to say after some of the feedback I got to my apparently-too-mysterious earlier post, “Marmite“).
    The beds might be cold, but this photo shows a few dozen great things about Christmas at my mother’s. When drinking, stop before you get as far back as the cooking oil.
    Liz & Simon’s Massage Mattress
    I saw the New Year in at Liz and Simon‘s house in Macclesfield, where I was given the choice between the couch and a “massage mattress”. Naturally, I opted for the latter – one doesn’t turn down a strange-looking, vibrating sleeping partner without good cause!
    Unfortunately, I never got to try it out! After a copious quantity of alcohol and a handful of other substances, my one-day-only roommate Alex collapsed onto the sofa and fell asleep within seconds. Not wanting to wake him, I left the mattress off and just, y’know, slept on it (how old-fashioned). It was still a great night’s rest after a fantastic party, though.
    So there we are – a round-up review of my sleeping arrangements. Apparently I’m in a slightly off-the-wall blogging mood so far this year. Because sleeping on-the-wall… would be weird.

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