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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