Wednesday, September 15, 2010

This morning I woke up early and wandered downstairs to find you in the kitchen as usual. I took you in my hands, ‘Hey you…’ I trailed off gazing with big, love crumb eyes.
 I feel like a teenager with a heart-wrenching case of puppy love. My feelings for you are strong because you are so new to me. My head acknowledges, rationally that I am just experiencing the ‘honeymoon’ phase of our relationship, but my heart, oh my heart spins in circles wanting simply to consume you! I can’t seem to get enough. 

I’ve found the swarthy love I have been searching for ALL MY LIFE. In a grocery store, of all places. Sure, my husband doesn’t like the idea. He says it stinks. My kids, too for that matter. But their reaction is to be expected I guess. They just don’t understand. They have no grasp of depth of my feelings.
Yesterday after breakfast with my amour, I went to kiss my huband goodbye as he dashed out the door to work, only for him to quickly move his face to the side so that my kiss hit his cheek rather than his lips, ‘Eck—you smell of Marmite’ he said with an uncomfortable wince.
 Marmite! Who knew I would come to love a wasted yeast by-product so unconditionally?
 My husband may not have eyes or the palate for Marmite, but he does have more in common with it than he realizes. This fudge-colored smudge of a spread tastes exactly like my husband smelled throughout his college years—the bottom of a warm, drained beer keg the morning after a clamorous fraternity party. Let me emphasize that this is a quality much more becoming of a condiment than a hung-over, unkempt twenty-two year-old in his second senior year at university.
 But Marmite is supposed to taste like fermented, old beer because that’s pretty much what it is. Marmite is made when the good lads at the Marmite factory in Burton-on-Trent in England, trot over to their neighbors, Bass Ale and collect the wasted yeast from the brewery. This is the basis of an unusually nutritious (high in B vitamins and riboflavin), salty and sticky food product. (I say ‘product’ because I’m not sure how I feel about actually referring to Marmite purely as a food)
 I had heard about Marmite and its rather uneven reputation before moving to England. Every British person I’ve known has stood staunchly in one of two camps. Like all things worth having an opinion about, (politics, religion, Pee Wee Herman) when it comes to Marmite, Brits do seem to fall into only two categories—love or hate. I think most people hate it, but those of us who love that sludge of spread, love it deeply and madly. A smear over toast in the morning with the paper-thin piece of mature Welsh cheddar makes my heart sing (and my breath stink—seriously, like feet). Chased by a strong cup of coffee and I am flying solo for the rest of the day. Independence is good.

Maybe my initial attraction to you Marmite was precisely because you are the underdog, because most people not only don’t like you, but actively avoid you. Maybe the first time I brought you home with me, a little bit had to do with wanting to seem like I didn’t care what your reputation was—you were the bad one and I was determined to like you. But now it’s become so much more than that. I don’t like you Marmite, I love you. And I am in this for the long haul. I want to see you every morning at breakfast for the rest of my life. The end. To hell with the naysayers! I’ll stand on my dining room chair loud and proud and shout, ‘I love a yeast by-product scraped from the bottom of a brewer’s ale kettle!’ 

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