Would the real Marmite please stand up?

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Virgil Evetts
Consider this a little post script, if you will to my rather well trodden entry a few posting back on Marmite Vs Vegemite. As I mentioned in the course of the feedback, I happen to own a marmite- the French cooking vessel that, through rather murky means, gave its name to the better of the two great yeast spreads [yes I’m being biased but this is my posting, so shut up]. And here it is: [pictured].
I bought my marmite at a school jumble sale several years ago, and used it to cook a few soupy, stewy things and to roast [very successfully I might add] a chicken or two. And it does a very good job, acting in many way like a deep and capacious tagine.- I rather suspect this resemblance is more than coincidental as the Moorish influence pops up in architecture, food, and cultural traditions throughout Southern Europe.
Trouble with the marmite [pronounced marr-meet in France] is that it’s big, awkwardly shaped and a total arse to clean. It was rather quickly banished to the ‘seemed like a good idea at the time’ section of my garage, a veritable elephants’ graveyard of kitchen follies. My very fetching ceramic tagine on the other hand does just as good a job in the oven [if not better] and can be thrown in the dish washer afterwards.
The superior spread, by the way was so named because it tastes [theoretically] like the sort of slow cooked reduction attainable from such a vessel and is also a nod to the fact that Marmite was originally pushed as a vegetarian alternative to Bovril, which is little more than super-concentrated boiled cow.
Finally -and most endearing I think- the name marmite is thought to come from an old French colloquialism for cat or ‘meow’. I prefer to think that this is a reference to the whistling sound omitted from the marmites vented lid during cooking, not as some have concluded that it was originally the preferred vessel for cooking cats.

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2 thoughts on “Would the real Marmite please stand up?

  1. I’m not quite ready to part with it just yet, but will probably post it on Trademe when I do-I’ll be sure to let you know!

  2. Now that is one beautiful piece of artwork, Virgil. What is the wire frame around it supposed to do? Does it perhaps hang over an open fire in some way? I reckon if it’s languishing in the back of your garage you should put it up for auction here. I’ll start the bidding with $10. :D