Marmite, To Love or Not to Love?

No matter how many times I try to discover what Marmite is made from, I always come away with the vague sensation that whatever it is, it can’t be edible. Even the advertising slogan for Marmite is “Love it or hate it.” As if that, somehow, is meant to boost sales. Wikipedia tells me that Marmite is made from yeast extract somehow derived from brewing beer. From all sides, this “spread” looks like molasses mixed with tar with a hint of superglue. And yet, the Marmite website freely shares a recipe for a Marmite and cheese sandwich. Why do people punish themselves so?

image courtesy Malcom Farmer via Wikimedia Commons

Of course, I must admit I have not so much as smelled Marmite. I saw a tiny jar of it in my grocery store (all the way out here in Hawaii), but the close to $15 price tag turned my hesitancy into repulsion. Why pay three mocha lattes’ worth of hard-earned money for two ounces of “nutritious” sludge? Yet my ignorance of the true taste of Marmite, which some people seem to hoard and treasure with inexplicable passion, makes me reserve the right to further judgment in future. Dear Marmite, I will one day taste you in reality and expose your deficiencies and disgusting deceits to the world.

Here is one American’s (elmify on Youtube) reaction to Marmite:



Filed under Food

13 responses to “Marmite, To Love or Not to Love?

  1. suki

    Marmite is fab on hot toasted bread with butter..
    Cheese triange & marmite sandwich
    and lush stirred into boiled spaghetti with a little butter.
    Veggiemite is a much stronger taste again.
    Love the marmite face – ha!

  2. Hmm I wonder how she would react to a jar of Poi?

  3. suki

    Marmite goes great with spaghetti – check out Nigella Lawsons recipe.

    375g dried spaghetti
    50g unsalted butter
    1 teaspoon Marmite or more, to taste
    freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve
    Serves: 4 -6
    Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water, according to the packet instructions.
    When the pasta is almost cooked, melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the Marmite and 1 tablespoon of the pasta water, mixing thoroughly to dissolve. Reserve 1/2 a cup of pasta water; then drain the pasta and pour the Marmite/Vegemite mixture over the drained spaghetti, adding a little reserved pasta water to amalgamate if required. Serve with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese.
    For vegetarians replace the Parmesan cheese with a vegetarian alternative.

    Totally yummy!
    Bovril is a very tasty hot drink, fab on a cold winters night in front of the fire.
    When I was a child (in the 70’s) we would always have a hot cup of bovril after visiting the swimming bath’s.

  4. Jarl

    Marmite and cheese sandwiches are excellent. Very basically it’s made from vegetables and beer! I sometimes eat it just on a teaspoon but only a small amount as its very rich.

  5. Marmite is a strong tasting spread- and we’re usually fed it as small children, so I often think we’re raised to like it. My parents love Marmite, so they fed it to me on toast soldiers before I could even speak! That’s my theory. If your parents don’t eat Marmite, it’s likely to you won’t like it either.
    The advertising might interest you. See, as British, we have all sorts of silly rules- and our humour is based upon us following these rules, most of our comedians and TV programmes are a play on this British ‘code of conduct’ that shouldn’t be broken. We have a modesty rule- you’ll notice that we rarely boast- it’s just not done in England. And to make life more difficult, we compete with each other to be the most modest- and that’s how we boast- we do it backwards. (see how silly it is to be British yet?) . So, when we advertise, we can’t just say ‘This is great!’ as British people will either, a) laugh hysterically and expect a joke, or b) blush and feel uncomfortable. So when we advertise, we have to be very clever to hit a sweet spot- adverts in England are all either cinematic and sincerely spoken/ casual & offhand like an afterthought, or like a movie, or funny & backwards. A great book to read is ‘Watching the English’ by Kate Fox- everyone British loves it for being so hilariously accurate! It has gems like explaining British sarcasm; “A British person is joking 50% of the time.” That’s why we laugh at American adverts, if it’s too serious too long, we expect a punchline. I lauhed my way through the end of Moulin Rouge, because I expected a punchline, and laughed in anticipation of it. Sorry for the long reply!! Your blog is great :)

    • Thanks for your comments, Klara! I just had to google toast soldiers… they appear to be toast cut into strips? Thaks for the explanation of English humour – I love it! I will have to pick up Watching the English sometime – sounds like a good read!

  6. johnphil

    You use a lot of butter and a tiny amount of marmite because it is so salty. But once it is mixed in with the melted butter it is basically just like using slightly salted butter. Not as bad as it first seems to foreigners.

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