Friday, November 23, 2007

something died in my mouth

Does anyone remember the episode of Friends where Monica is up for a job as a sales rep for a candy company and she is supposed to tout their brand new product - Mocklate? (Just like chocolate, but not). She's practicing her sales pitch on Phoebe, encouraging her to try it.


Phoebe gamely takes a bite of the Mocklate, and after about thirty seconds of scripted television sight gags all focused on her horrified face, utters these words...


This is what Evil tastes like.


I didn't before, but now I know exactly what she means. When I was home I noticed that my mother had a jar of Marmite in her pantry. I asked about it and she said that she had bought it to try it and see what all the fuss was about. I'd never tasted it myself, but was aware that this is something people tend to be passionate about. Love it or Hate it is one of the company mottoes. All over the Blogosphere you run into Marmite proponents and detractors, and they all seem equally likely to tell you how strongly they feel - one way or the other.



Except for the fact that I don't like meat I'm a pretty adventurous eater. There is no food so spicy that I will not try it. I'll eat okra in any way, shape or form. Stinky cheeses don't slow me down a bit. Caviar, anchovies, sushi and sashimi? Adore them all. (I do like fish. A lot). Sweet (Japanese) egg dishes, spicy (Mexican) chocolate cakes, sour (Thai) soups - bring them on. I'm open minded. I'll try almost anything once.




Besides, I'm crazy about all my British and Aussie friends, and this is a beloved national product, right? Don't I sometimes in my fantasies see myself living quite happily in one of these lands saying things like this in an airy voice


Well, of course it was a mistake of nature that I wasn't born here in the first place. I was meant to be (fill in the nationality). See? I just fit right in.



Or not. Blindly trusting my Marmite happy blog buddies (you know who you are), I stuck a spoon in the jar and had a lick. And promptly prayed for death in every language I've ever heard spoken. (And some I haven't). Oh, my sweet merciful lord. It's actually worse than Mocklate. Because evil would be preferable to the taste and (help me) the feel of this in my mouth.


Surely someone will tell me if this is really true, but I read that this stuff is the yeast extract goo that is left at the bottom of beer barrels after the beer has fermented, the brown slime that is deposited by the brewing process. It can't possibly be right, because even that description sounds better than it tastes. I could have soaked my tongue in ammonia and scoured my taste buds with brillo pads and still not been able to remove the residue from my mouth. My mother watched me in sympathy. She had had exactly the same reaction. (And yet she let me put it in my mouth. Note to self: Buy better Mother's Day gift this year).


So. So...


You tell me. What am I missing?

31 comments:

ped crossing said...

Thank you for the warning. I had never heard of this and now I know to run. I am not an adventurous eater anyway. And I am really picky about texture.

I hope all the yummy Thanksgiving foods replaced the taste and feel.

Kimberly said...

Gah! I don't know why, but I can almost feel it in my mouth. Super, super picky eater here. Heck, I don't even eat mayo because the taste is too strong. Many, many thanks for the warning.

Corey~living and loving said...

I've heard of it....but won't be trying it....EVER!

Willowtree said...

A bit over dramatic don't you think? But very funny, in a tongue in cheek way, nonetheless (as this comment is intended to be)

What are you missing? I would say three things, a)tact, b)a mature reaction and c)any clue on how to eat it properly.

It is unfathomable to me that someone who professes to not only like, but adore, caviar (liquid salt), anchovies (salt paste) and sushi (nasal cauterization, I assume you don't scrape the wasabi off) can have such a reaction to a simple salty yeast extract, that spread thinly on toast (rather than eaten by the spoonful) is quite palatable.

And yes, it is made from the residue of the brewer's yeast used in the fermentation process, although it's not brown slime as you suggest but rather a pale yellow compacted powder, once the liquid has been extracted (I used to work in a brewery).

ciara said...

marmite's that stuff they used to pave roads with better known as TAR lol it doesn't even LOOK appetizing...glad marmy never sent that to me lol

Mya said...

Hee heee. It's Mya here, one of your Marmite troughing blog buddies! I'm with Willowtree on this - if you stick a spoonful of the stuff in your mouth, I'm not surprised you nearly puked. It's delicious stuff - I've just eaten it for breakfast on toast (spread thinly) - and now I'm well set up for the day.It's true, you either love it or hate it - and you, obviously hate it. We'll have to agree to differ again - let's say Marmite to you is a bit like Hugh Grant to me!

Mya x

Altaglow said...

having given it a try I don't think you can spread marmite thin enough for me. But, as always, different strokes for different folks........

Flowerpot said...

I love it but no way would I eat a spoonful of it! I like it on toast when I eat an egg. Or spread on top of scrambled eggs. As you cn see, I like it with eggs....

belle said...

Marmite? Ooooh it's ambrosia to the gods. I lurve it :o) But everyone's right, it should be spread thinly. It takes years of practise to work up to spooning it from the jar. But I am heartened by the news it's available in the US, I won't have to carry a handbag sized jar next time I visit ;o)

Kate said...

It's true, your mistake was to eat it with a spoon - a thin scraping on a slice of toast is quite sufficient. Having said that, it has been scientifically proven that how it tastes varies from person to person (something to do with taste buds and chemicals, not sure what) so you may be one of those who will always find the taste unpleasant. Apparently, the same is true of sprouts.

PixelPi said...

I didn't do the spoon test, just the tiniest bit on my finger test, and my gag reflex engaged immediately. I'm thinking it might be useful in ERs to determine gag reflex in the trauma bay.

The only good thing about the Marmite test is that it doesn't kill you.

However, I also won't eat any fish or seafood products OR with meat, so it really is a personal thing.

Potty Mummy said...

Ok RC, you're right and you're wrong. You really really really ate it in wrong way - everyone else is correct in the thinly spread on toast method, but... I'm about as English as you get and frankly, I think it's disgusting. I would stick with beans on toast if you want to be an anglophile...

laurie said...

i always thought it was suspicious that nobody could really explain precisely what marmite is.

i've asked on many blogs, including Mr. Willowtree's, and i get these vague "it's a yeast product" type airy answers that leave many questions.

and the fact that everyone is insisting the comments here, no, no, RC, you should only eat a thin scraping! is suspicious as well.

who eats thin scrapings on toast? nobody. butter? thick. peanut butter? thick. jam? thick.

but if even marmite lovers can only tolerate a "thin scraping," that tells you something. it tells you that it doesn't taste very good. otherwise, they'd heap it on.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I've never tried it. It always looks completely disgusting to me.

Crystal xx

Jo Beaufoix said...

Hee hee, Willowtree, Mya, Bee, flowerpot and Kate are so right with the thin scraping on toast. My litte brother grew up on marmite soldiers.
But I erm, havenever had it in my cupboard since I left home at 18, so, I must be a freak as I neither love nor hate it.
I would gag at a spoon full of it though.
Bleurghhhhh

Akelamalu said...

You don't eat it by the spoonful, a thin scraping on toast is all you need and it is delicious! Use half a teaspoon when you're making gravy too its bootiful!!!!

laurie said...

i repeat: ANY FOOD WHERE EVERYONE WARNS YOU TO EAT ONLY A 'THIN SCRAPING' IS NOT GOOD FOOD!!!!!

IF IT WERE GOOD FOOD, YOU'D LAVISH IT ON!!!!

THIS IS NOT A DRILL.... THIS IS AN EMERGENCY! GET RID OF THE DAMN STUFF! IT'S POISON!

laurie said...

(obviously i am quite bored at work today.)

Amy said...

Well, I prefer Vegemite, but I think Marmite is a little more mellow. It's nothing I would choose to eat unless I were starving, however. It's like soy sauce paste. Gack.

Diana said...

Hm. Seems like the ante has been upped. Will you go back and try it as recommended: spread thinly on toast for breakfast or have you been scarred for life?

Me? I've never encountered the stuff and would have dove in with a spoon, just like you did.

Kaycie said...

RC, never try it again. I have had it spread thinly on toast. It did indeed taste as if something had died in my mouth. Ugh.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I'm a little late responding here since a)I'm doing a TG dinner and b)the fact that willowtree called me on both my tact and my mature reaction has had me on the floor in a fit of ironic giggles. Oh, my.If you cook Marmite in a kettle does it turn the pot black??

I do have to clarify this, though. I did NOT eat a spoonful. I stuck the spoon in the jar and had a (mercifully) small lick. Even I wouldn't blindly pop a whole spoonful of something that looked like that in my mouth.

I know that I'd heard about the thin scraping thing on toast a bunch, but at the time I figured I'd just check out a small amount.

And laurie? You're killing me. Howling out loud killing me. If we were on a desert island together at least we wouldn't be fighting over the marmite.

It will not cross my lips again in any way, shape or form. Not even if you put a thin scraping on Hugh Grant.

Hang on a sec...

laurie said...

a thin scraping on hugh grant?
put up yer dukes, RC. we will definitely be fighting over that!

Dumdad said...

The Marmite debate continues.

I ADORE the stuff and regularly eat Marmite sandwiches; Marmite on toast is an utter delight and delicacy.

My French wife, who eats brains and tongues and snails and other interesting things, says just the smell of Marmite makes her want to throw up; my son feels the same way.

But, glory be to god, my daughter, born and raised in Paris adores the stuff, bless her, and has from an early age. She takes Marmite sandwiches on school outings but, strangely, her pals never want to share snacks with her.

On one occasion, I picked her up from school and she rummaged in her pocket and gave me half a Marmite sandwich that she saved specially for me. It had been languishing in her coat all day and was a little frayed at the edges. It was so sweet of her that I ate it. And it still tasted good.

I'm a Marmite hard case.

Dumdad said...

P.S.

Vegemite is the Australian Marmite but is not as good in my opinion. But I'll eat it if there's no Marmite available.

ped crossing said...

I have to agree with Laurie. I can't stop laughing. Step away from the Marmite!

Beckie said...

Now I want to taste it.

Iota said...

Oh dear oh dear oh dear. You don't spoon it into your mouth. As you discovered. You spread it on toast, very very very thinly. Very thinly. Then it is lovely. Honest. Worth a second try. Trust me.

Iota said...

Or you can dissolve a small teaspoon in a mug of boiling water, and (trying not to scald your tongue) sip it as a drink. Like a sort of broth alternative, (but you'd probably prefer the broth).

What about Bovril? No-one's mentioned Bovril yet.

Willowtree said...

Iota - You're kidding aren't you? These heathens don't appreciate a yeast extract, who do you think they would react to a beef extract!?

Laurie - Wasabi makes sushi great, but you wouldn't want to put that on too thick either.

MarmiteToasty said...

Im a little late but HOW BLOODY DARE YOU SLAG OFF MARMITE lol...... I love it with a passion and when visiting the states in the summer I had to take me own supply over, cos I cant start the day without me marmite on toast and me cuppa tea :)

x