My Mate, Marmite!

Love it or loathe it . . .

Part 1 of 2

In 1902 Marmite was introduced to the British public. A black, savoury spread it was promoted as being as nutritious as it was tasty. It could be spread on hot, buttered toast, in sandwiches or used as a cooking ingredient. (This booklet is undated but I take it to be from somewhere around the mid-fifties by its condition.)

Relishes have been a part of British cooking since being brought along by the invading Roman Armies as a ‘taste of home’ They were used principally as a seasoning in soups and stews or as a condiment with fish and meat.

The flavours would be highly concentrated and tangy, along the lines of a smooth, sour-sweet pickle and served to make bland foods more palatable.

Marmite is made from spent brewer’s yeast that has been made into a concentrated food source.

Created by the German scientist Liebig, as a substitute for meat extract it is actually 100% vegetarian and virtually fat-free.

The Marmite Food Company came into being in 1902 and a small factory was opened in Burton-on-Trent to begin production.

It took a number of years to perfect the recipe and to persuade the British public to accept it and it’s distinctive taste but it was a gradual adoption.

Following the discovery of vitamins in 1912, yeast was found to be a great source of five important ‘B’ vitamins and a rich source of folic acid and niacin. It also has its share of thiamine and riboflavin.

As a result of all this, Marmite gained a major boost in credibility.

This was enhanced when it was included in soldiers’ ration packs during the 1st World War. It later became a dietary supplement in prisoner-of-war camps during the 2nd World War and was sent to British peacekeeping forces in Kosovo to boost morale in the late nineties.

To be continued . . .

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