A Marmartous Festive Dish!

Here is a festive dish with a twist! Caviar Pie, minus the caviar (or lump-fish as most of us use) with a good dollop of you know what to replace it. Sounds like it wouldn't work. But it does. As my good friends Karl and Carrol Kindel proved, when it was a star on the buffet table at their annual Egg-Nog gathering, on Capitol Hill, Washington DC.  And the amazing  thing was the number of guests who said: 'This is great what is in it exactly?' Then when told gasped: 'Oh, that awful British stuff! But this was so good!'

This is the recipe the Kindels used to provide that umami - or 'wow' - factor: mash six hard-boiled egg and half a yellow onion, finely chopped, into quarter of a pound of softened butter; press, about an inch thick, into the dish you want to serve the 'pie' in; refrigerate until hardened; put a layer of Marmite on top; then cover with yoghurt and sour cream mixed. Voila - dip in with a cracker or spoon onto a crudite.


I hope the luck of the Irish transfers to sales of the book in Ireland. If it doesn't it will not be the fault of the award-winning NewsTalk radio station. One of its top hosts, Sean Moncreiff, did a 15 minute interview with me for his afternoon show, December 14th. We had a few laughs - hard not to when the subject if Marmite - especially when a listener revealed that his favourite way of eating it was on a dry Weetabix. Even to me that sounds pretty gross! All the fault of the Weetabix, of course....


Pete Myers is engrossed in the book - but then he's probably reading the entry about himself!
New Yorkers - and visitors to the Big Apple - can now get their hands on the book easily.  Head to the Village:  to Myers' of Keswick, the greatest pork-pie shop in the USA. Almost, the world - heck, make it the world! The Myers - Pete and daughter Jennifer - have made Mish-Mash an integeral part of their Christmas window display. To get your hands on a copy, plus some of the best Cumberland sausages this side of the Lake District, go to: 634 Hudson Street (between Horatio and Jane Streets).


And, How About This!

The 'plugs' just keep getting better and better....how about this one? The New Yorker!! I know it's only online, but  it is still the New Yorker.....and to be included in such illustrious company: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2009/12/in-the-news-death-of-the-fat-novel-marmite-memories.html 


There have been many highlights associated with the debut of Mish-Mash. And the latest was when NPR (for Brit readers, that's National Public Radio: ie America's answer to Radio 4) came a calling. Guy Raz, anchor of the weekend edition of the award-winning news magazine All Things Considered,  spotted John Kelly's piece in the Washington Post - and jumped right on the 'phone to invite himself for breakfast! He brought with him producer Travis Larchuck. No prizes for guessing what was served.

Guy, who studied at Cambridge and has served as NPR's London bureau chief, is no stranger to Marmite. In fact I would go as far as saying he loves it as much as I do. Travis on the other hand arrived at my home, on Capitol Hill, a total novice in all matters relating to Marmite. Including eating it. He left with an avowed hatred, that I fear he will never lose. To listen to the marmitey breakfast carry-on go to: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121135861

Such Fun With The Washington Post

What a 'war' John Kelly ignited with his column (see A Post About The Post). His weekly online 'chat' with readers - where usually things of DC importance and world renown are aired and discussed - was virtually 100% Marmite.  Better make that yeast-extract, as quite a few Vegemite fans got involved in the affray. And, you know what, I'm going to take that back, about the forum not about the 'important' and 'renowned' - Marmite is both of those! If you want to know what you missed go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2009/11/25/DI2009112502982.html

A Signature Marmite Moment

Having a coffee outside Marvelous Market  (7th Street, SE, Washington DC - where the book is on sale) I saw a couple approaching. They paused close to the table I was at with my blog-meister and 'agent-supremo' Stephanie Cavanaugh - and I just knew. 'Marmite?' I said. 'Yes', they said....and so began a delightful Marmite moment. Bill and Angelika Pollack had journeyed all the way from McLean, Virginia (well, it seems a long treck for us Capitol Hillites) to buy the book. They had called MM earlier in the week, after the syndicated Washington Post columnist John Kelly fired his opening salvo in the Massacre of Marmite, to reserve a copy. To catch-up on that see blog: Another War For Washington.

I was so happy that I just happened to be there when they turned up - so I could sign it for them. Mish-Mash is going to their daughter-in-law Kerry (who is not only British but from Yorkshire, as I am). She and their son Michael live in Germany. Angelika, who is German born, and Bill, who's a New Yorker, read John's wonderful take on Marmite, and the book, and it struck an immediate chord. Hard for it not to: Kerry, is so devoted to the stuff, she brought a jar with her when she and Michael visited for Thanksgiving. Just hope she enjoys dipping into the book as much she loves dipping into the Marmite jar!


Poor, beleagured Washington, DC - it has another war to cope with! Over Marmite!

John Kelly (see: Post About The Post) has really put a M-splattered, extremely sharp, wounding knife into the hands of the faithful. His first column (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/29/AR2009112902361.html) triggered such an avalanche of protests and complaints, he was obliged to do a follow-up column (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/02/AR2009120203660.html)

When I decided to write a book about Marmite I had an instinct that it would strike a chord. But I had absolutely no idea that people feel so passionately about the stuff. And have to say, that after all this time with my head in a Marmite-jar, I still don't get it. Just amazed how people can get stirred and shaken by the mere mention of it. In this case the reaction to John Kelly's column was nothing short of  a true testament of devotion to the black magic. Talk about people coming out of the woodwork to defend their must-have-spread.

The next round in this battle was fought the following day. John bravely 'chatted' - in an online forum - to those who had massacred him for massacring Marmite. He invited me to join him. It would have been cowardly of me to decline. Though have to admit I was somewhat nervous. But it wasn't so much an  an onslaught of little squat brown jars, with sunny yellow lids drawn - as good natured banter, that really pin-pointedt, love it or hate it, Marmite is fun to mess with! To read what went down in this spirited, fast-moving exchange to to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2009/11/25/DI2009112502982.html

But that was not the end of it. The same day the Marmite issue amazingly spilled over into the Letters to the Editor of the Washington Post. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/opinions/feedback/Archive_1.html)  How wonderful that in these days of gloom and woe (between the real wars, the economy and health-care) this august publication has such a good persepective on the whacky world we live in.


Mish-Mash reveals that one of the best uses for an empty M-jar is to use it as a seedling pot. The dark-brown glass protects the roots from exposure to light, which does them no good at all.  And a Marmite jar certainly has a much better look than a black plastic carton. And to encourage everyone to use them this way, my good pal Stephanie Cavanaugh has posted on her blog (http://whoneedsflowers.blogspot.com/) the image shown here. You could buy Marmite just for this use alone!

Mr Marmite Loves the Book

The book records the valiant work Seamus Waldron has done to keep the love alive. He is Mr Marmite, the webmeister of the Black Magic. Seamus operates the famed: http://www.ilovemarmite.com/  To stay objective (how hard is that!) he also runs, well let's say 'owns': http://www.ihatemarmite.com/  The way he founded the site makes for very interesting reading. It was all to do with his time working in the States, when friends and colleagues were totally dumfounded about the Brits' worship of the stuff. Seamus is a good man. Not only because of his devotion to getting the M-message out there but because he has not taken offence that in the book I really mished and mashed his name. For some inexplicable reason (about from stupidity) I call him Sean. But despsite that SEAMUS has posted a great piece about the book and a wonderful audio/film 'review' on Amazon.  Here is an extract from the I Love Marmite site that pretty much sums the whole thing up:

"The book is almost a social history, covering more than 100 years of the life of Marmite. The Mish-mash Dictionary covers Marmites place in medicine, its role in education, wars, its many unlikely uses (apart from eating it), and more."

Anyone who comes in contact with Seamus over his mighty-M doings quickly realise that he does not dance around the subject. Not that he can't 'dance'. He is not only a good dancer, he is a meister in that too. Modern jive is his thing. In fact, let me not 'dance' around: he is so good he owns three dance-schools, two in London and one in Quainton, Bucks. Not only owns - but teaches. So if you would love to learn the Marmite-Jive....go to: http://www.jivenation.co.uk/