You either love it, or hate it. There's no in between. Marmite is definitely an acquired taste. Growing up in a typical American household with a British mother, the two of us were the only ones that ate it. Most Americans take one whiff of the stuff and want to gag.
Marmite is a staple in most British households. I can't imagine not having a jar of it in my pantry. It really isn't that difficult to find. Many of my local big chain grocery stores carry it, either in the import aisle, or the aisle where you find yeast. What is Marmite? It's a black, thick, not really eye appealing yeast extract spread that's 100% vegetarian (per the label, but is actually vegan by all accounts) and rich in B vitamins. I'm sure there are many uses for it, such as in stews, but I have always had it simply spread thinly on a piece of hot, buttered toast.
The key word there is thinly. You do not want to spread it like jam. Trust me. That may be the first mistake Americans make. For this reason, a jar of Marmite can last an awfully long time. Way past the 'Best Before' date. Marmite never really spoils. It just may get a bit thicker. My last jar which I just emptied had a use by date of 2009. Oh, well. Opening my brand new jar a few weeks ago was exciting. Not Christmas morning exciting, but still exciting. Ah, this was exactly what I need for a quick pick me up.
Marmite is the perfect cure-all when you're under the weather. I'm around children all day who don't always remember to cough into their elbows. When I have the flu nothing but one thing appeals to me. Nothing... nothing is more soothing than a cup of steaming hot tea and a hot, buttered piece of toast spread thinly with Marmite. Check our their Facebook page and you'll see I'm not their only fan by a long shot!
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.