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If there’s one single product that has come to represent the distance between British and American cuisine, it’s probably haggis. But if there was a second choice, and it had to be something that could spread on your toast like jelly, that flowed thickly, like syrup, but was savory like cheese, it’s Marmite.
But what if you’re something of an Anglophile, living in a part of the States that doesn’t sell Marmite, and you’ve no idea what it’s like? Short of ordering it from a delicatessen, or setting yourself up with a British pen-pal who can ship some over, what are you supposed to do?
We have an answer: cook your own Marmite.
With that in mind, a recipe has been found, courtesy of the British chef Kerstin Rodgers. Her blog The English Can Cook contains a recipe for making Marmite that, while not quite as nice as the shop-bought variety (she describes it as being “like something German and healthy in a tube”), should give you a flavor of the stuff. And then when you do get your hands on the real thing, it’ll be even better. Or just as bad, or worse, depending on your taste.
So, rather than steal her entire blog post, let’s just start with the ingredients you will need:
- A litre of Brewer’s yeast
- A little sea salt
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 turnip, diced
- 1/2 celery stick, diced
That first item might be a little tricky to get hold of, as you’re basically going to have to ask a brewery (or a friend who does a hello of a lot of beer-making) for their beer scum or top fermentation. It should look like it came from this, if you can get it:
Mmm! Muddy snow!
Then, as Kerstin explains, it’s simply a matter of boiling and boiling and sieving and reducing and reducing, for hours and hours and hours. It should take about ten days, from start to finish. Which might seem a long time to discover if you like something that even the Brits are divided on, but if you do like it, well that’s its own reward.
Next time: Let’s make a spotted dick!
See more posts by Fraser McAlpine
Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.
He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.
Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic