Assuming you're here because you have a passion, a liking, or at least a passing interest, in MARMITE. This site is all about the most complete book ever compiled about the iconic British savoury spread, that has a vast following around the world. It's THE MISH-MASH DICTIONARY OF MARMITE: an anecdotal A-Z of Tar-in-a-Jar. All manner of details and information - as in: where to buy it, who wrote it, did the illustrations; links to the media attention it has attracted, on both sides of the Atlantic - are all on the site. Also, by just putting 'Marmite Maggie' into any search engine, all manner of on-line references will be found. Mish-Mash is designed to be - like the black-magic stuff itself - dipped into. If you buy the book (£10 or $15) and enjoy it, I'd be enormously grateful if you would spread the word, write a review......and buy another copy as a gift!

Comments from a Number 1 Fan

Fellow-Brit Corrine Bayraktaroglu is a numero uno fan. An artist of amazing talent and diversity she has built a shrine to Marmite (yes, she loves it!) which now hangs in the dining-room of her home in Ohio. She recently left comments on the site.... which I'm drawing attention to because a year after getting the book she reveals she still dips into it!


One of the world's top food-bloggers, Elaine Lemm, has given Mish-Mash a rave review!

"Any Marmite lover will adore this book.... A great book, I love that it is on my shelf, and like the jar of Marmite, what fun to dip into from time to time...." she writes on (the global blog site operated by the New York Times)

The great praise comes in Elaine's top ten pick of the Best British Cookbooks of 2010. Now, Mish-Mash is not really a cook-book - but, on this occasion, I'm more than happy to have it included in that hugely competitive category!  She also says there is no entry for 'Z' - which there is. But not going to worry about that either!

To see the full piece, and the other books earmarked by Elaine go to:

BTW: this is the third mention Elaine has given Mish-Mash. See the first two below. I think she likes it!


The massive theft of Marmite and Marmite items just shows the mania that is raging over the mighty-M! But stocks of the book are not effected. Because Mish-Mash is not a Unilever sanctioned product (long story) it was not among the stolen! Just can't believe how I was ahead of the black-magic-spread game and now, hopefully, catching the Marmite wave....


If you're wondering: is this book for me?.... read the latest review. It's by British writer Elaine Findlay, who is a prominent contributor to the esteemed international Suite 101 site. When you read it, you will realise why I am more than delighted. Elaine really got it! As I am sure you will. Remember: if you don't get it (the book that is) you won't get it, either! To read the review go to:,0
And if you want to discover more about the book and me, Elaine has done a follow-up. Go to:

Tasty Words from Top Food Blogger

Elaine Lemm is a top food blogger..... she is a major contributor to (which is part of the New York Times). Her speciality is British and Irish food....and her writings can be found at:   Elaine has discovered Mish-Mash and happily worked it into two articles about the constant battle between the mighty-Marmite and venerable-Vegemite....


I'm delighted to report that Mish-Mash has achieved several high best-seller rankings on Amazon-UK. It's currently listed as:

#5 in Books > Languages > By Language > Other European Languages > Celtic Languages > Dictionaries
#9 in Books > Food & Drink > Reference & Gastronomy > Encyclopaedias & Dictionaries
#11 in Books > Food & Drink > National & International Cookery > British

Now I don't frankly understand the various 'categories' -  but what the heck, the stats look great!  And, as we authors who break out into a joyous sweat over every sale know, the way in which these sales are computed is a delicate, sensitive process. The rankings can change by the hour! But have to point out that if  sales via The Book Depository were added to Amazon's, the rankings would be higher.  As book-lovers, everywhere, are discovering, the BD is a terrific on-line book selling company - thanks to its policy of world-wide free delivery!


Here are extracts from reviews, posted on book-selling sites, blogs etc...
* The dictionary is full of amazing facts, tidbits, folklore

* This is a fun book assuming you have any interest in Marmite...   Hall is a good writer and the alphabetized 'mish-mash' works better than I would have imagined....

* The sun may have dimmed a bit on the once mighty British Empire, but its legacy lives on in weird and wonderful ways. One of the most widespread is the iconic spread of gooey black concentrated yeast extract known as "Marmite.".....  a delightfully funny book about this little wonder..... filled with wonderful historical stories and bizarre lore, it is a great read....

* I purchased it for a friend spending Christmas with us....he is from Australia...and knows how I do not appreciate his local spread, we had a good laugh with this fun book

* Now I know what I would do with Marmite: use it for fish bait and to murder garden slugs. Maggie Hall's book consistently rewards the reader with tasty tidbits. I can't wait for the movie version!

* ... full of fascinating and fun facts. It's a surprising blend of product info, history, recipes, cartoons and reasons for brand loyalty or loathing. What a grand tour of the British psyche and sense of humor...
... even for those  (like me) who can't stomach the stuff, this book is a treat.... delightfully written and cleverly illustrated...
* say it is crammed with information would be an understatement! There is just so much in here, from the factual  to the farcical ... you can pick this book up and start anywhere from A to Z to find out something you didn't know... I have a new respect for that jar in my kitchen cupboard!
* ... like it or lump it, my lot will be getting a copy of this gem of a book in their stockings this yuletide...
*  It's the perfect gift for Christmas, but it is also an ideal book for dipping into, at any time...  buyers, or recipients, will keep it beside their bed, or in the bathroom, maybe for ever...

Great Facebook "Plug"

Delighted to report got a great "plug" on the official Marmite Facebook site.  I have to be super-extra careful about posting anything that mentions the book..... hey, that's OK, the site is managed by Unilever (who declined to help me in compiling it). So I've got a kick out of the posting by Londoner Susanna Chenery who reported:  Just got Maggie Hall's Book Mish-Mash and I love it!   Thanks, Susanna.....

Fun Review

Bit late in posting this fun review.... it was done by blogger SmittenByBritain... aka Melissa, an American in love with all things British. She concludes her piece by saying: One thing’s for sure, after reading The Mish-Mash Dictionary of Marmite, there’s no denying this is one amazing condiment.  For sure, there is no denying that! To read it in its entirety go to:


Had a great experience this summer because of Mish-Mash. I was invited to talk at a Literary Luncheon. It was staged in Gomersal - at the stupendous Gomersal Park Hotel - right in the heart of the lesser-known Bronte country, in Yorkshire. The hotel, set in beautiful country-side grounds, is just a 10 minute drive from my home-town of Cleckheaton. The event was billed as my journey from Cleck to Capitol HIll - and how I came to delve into into the tasty/disgusting world of the mighty-M. There were 60 or so guests.... some of whom I didn't know!  As I told them, the book and I were extremely flattered to be put into the 'literary' category.


For those of you wondering, 'why should I buy a copy?' of The Mish-Mash Dictionary of Marmite, this is what one happy reader posted on the book's Face-Book site....."Interesting , amusing, enlightening, Delighted to have a copy...." Hooray! Exactly what I was aiming for.


Mish-Mash is number one in 'dictionaries' on Amazon UK. Hard to believe that it's a better seller than the Consise Oxford, Webster's and all that lot!

But as I said before (see previous posting) these ratings are fickle. It could be toppled within the hour. But for the moment Mish-Mash and MARMITE rule the dictionary world! A huge thanks to those of you who have sent it soaring.


The book has been acknowledged, yet again, by NPR (that's America's National Public Radio - equivalent to BBC Radio-4). This time it got a mention in an essay - 'In Defense of Marmite' - penned by the highly-talented food writer Michele Kayal. It's a delightfully written piece, that will warm the cockles of all Marmite lovers' hearts. Mish-Mash comes into play right at the end, in the recipe section, when Michele talks about Marmite's umami-factor. As an example of its high-rating when it comes to the fifth-taste, she tells how to prepare the classic Japanese dish Chazuke - with a Brit-twist.

photo by Michele Kayal for NPR

To read what Michele has described as her 'ode' to the black-magic, go to:  and to discover Michele's lively and entertaining take on food: What did NPR do earlier? See below and also in 2009 archive.


This is the photo NPR  took for their website 'broadcast' of the programme they did on the book. They came, to my home on Capitol Hill, for a mighty-M breakfast: apart from toast, bagels, crackers & you-know-what, there were marinated M-sausages; egg-salad impregnated with the stuff; Marm-A-Lite (M and marmalade); even a cake made with Marm-A-Lite and iced with a mix of Cheddar cheese, the black-magic and butter. Much more of a brunch than a breakfast! To 'hear' the broadcast, go to:


How about this for success! The book is now listed, by Amazon UK, on three of its 'best-seller' lists. It's listed fourth in dictionaries; fourth in food & drink encyclopaedias & dictionaries; 14th in books about British food. Of course, it is well known that these listings change by the hour. But at the moment Mish-Mash is riding high. As am I! If you want to see what all the hype is about go to:

MORE ABOUT........

......the book for all tastes! No matter where you stand on the big Marmite ‘love-hate’ debate, you will find something in THE MISH-MASH DICTIONARY OF MARMITE to your liking.

As the title indicates, it reveals a mish-mash of information - from serious to silly, with lots of tasty nuggets in between - about the iconic British spread. From its beginnings as yeast-waste from the brewing industry to its use today in the finest restaurants, this book reveals the grip Marmite has on palates - and minds.

The tales it tells amount to a social-history, covering over 100 years. It’s crammed with insights into: how it all began, old-time recipes, new culinary tips, its place in medicine, its role in education and wars, its uses apart from eating it, and much more. All of which add up to an amazing feat for a humble food product.

But above all it’s a fun-packed read about the zany world occupied by Marmite. The ‘lovers’ will love it. But they’ll also hate it! Because of all the ammunition the ‘loathers’ will find, within its pages, to hurl at them. Even those who have no interest in Marmite, know nothing about it, will find something to grab them - and be converted. Either one way or the other!

A quick glance through the ‘ingredients’ - partially listed on the back-cover - shows how the book exposes the wild side of Marmite. In an A-Z format, it reveals the amazing Marmite-link between scores of diverse subjects. No other book reveals the impact - often extraordinary and frequently laughable - of this kitchen cupboard staple on the world.

It is the perfect gift book, for all occasions. It's an easy and 'tasty' way out of the dilemma that goes: what shall I get them?

Great take on the Book!

Journalist Karan Moses Robinson has written a great review of the book. It has some very funny observations. All the more so, because she is not to the taste born. Read it at:

The Sincerest Form of Flattery....

So Uniliver, who wouldn't sanction the book, have 'nicked' the 'tar' reference!

In its latest promotion, for Marmite, it talks about 'Tarmite' - the product it threatens to market if the 'haters' win the Marmite general-election. The 'election' is Unilever's latest Marmite campaign. It's a take-off of the looming political battle, for Number 10, in Britain. Frankly, I think it's far too twee, contrived, over-the-top. Marmite can stand on its own. It doesn't need these constant promotions - it's the third this year - which are slanted towards the daft, reverse-thinking, etc. To see what I am going on about go to:


That well known Washington Post Wag, John Kelly, is at it again! He ended a recent column with another attack on the mighty-M. It read......


My former colleague Elizabeth Terry made me aware of a disturbing development on the yeast extract front: The makers of Marmite, the disgusting English condiment, have come out with a new, super-concentrated version. Called Marmite XO -- for "extra old" -- it is aged four times as long as normal Marmite and is said to be four times as strong. The name and classy label allegedly call to mind a fine port wine, though I'm sure the taste calls to mind the Odor Eaters of a grave-digging dipsomaniac. If ever there was a time to slap a trade tariff on a foreign product, it's now.

But on the basis that no publicity is bad publicity, have to thank John. Just wish I'd been around, when it was published. Instead I was sunning myself and suffering Marmite withdrawal in Honduras (see previous posting). Pity, because we could have had another lively exchange, and could probably have slipped-in a 'plug' for the book. But battle will re-commence the next time I come back from Britain. I will bring back a jar of XO and challenge him to a taste-test. Though the only way I know I'll get so much as a smear past his Marmite-bad-talking lips is to weigh him down with a container load of XO. But I will watch-out Washington Post Wag! 


Delighted! The Daily Mail (a leading British national newspaper for our non-Brit friends) has a great feature on Marmite XO, the new extra strong Marmite. Writer David Leafe, good man, ordered the book before making contact. What a rare breed of journo is he! The book gets a decent mention....and it was clear he 'lifted' quite a bit of stuff from it and the sub, edititing his piece, 'nicked' the secondary title of the book for the headline. Withouth getting too big-headed about all this, feel this has sanctioned Mish-Mash as the publication to consult when information about Marmite is needed. And, husband Gary - the number one hater in the world of M - is also pretty made up.With his first whiff of Marmite, 30 years ago, he christened it: 'Tar-in-a-Jar'! 

But apart from all that David has written one of those articles that will go into the annals of Marmite writings. He did some terrific research - even going (lucky chap) to the factory for a full briefing on the process.  Made a very informative and fun  read. Go to:


Should have posted this ages ago!  It's a fun story in the Bucks Free Press - based on the book. 


Amazon US is offering a package-deal on three Marmite items. Delighted to discover that the book is one of them. Twiglets is another - which, of course, anyone who reads the ingredients on packages, or has read the book cover-to-over, knows that contrary to popular believe Marmite is not used in the manufacture of Twiglets. The Marmitey taste comes from a generic yeast-extract. But who cares? They're one of the world's irresistible snacks! The third item is a Paddington Bear promotion - a jar of M in a suitcase and a tiny PB. The link between Marmite and one of the all-time favourite story book character is now so old hat I'm amazed there are any of these promotional items still left! The book has the back-story to the uneasy relationship between these two iconic British 'things'. See the Amazon deal at:


So hung up on enjoying myself on Utila I never made it clear why I have no opinion on the XO Marmite.....

Easy to work out, of course. The commerative jar (see two entries ago) was awarded after I left for it's going to be a while before I taste the new M-sensation. Not because I'm going to 'go native' on Utila (though would be easy to do) but because the XO is languishing in Yorkshire (didn't, couldn't expect Unilever to send it to DC). So I will not get my greedy, make that needy (see last entry), mitts on it until I pitch up again on my real native soil!  Which could be quite some time. Though that wait could be shortened, if any family/friends from 'Jolly Olde' turn up this Spring....better get the invitations to visit out!


After spending a year with my head in a Marmite jar I decided I needed not only a break but a way of jump-starting my travel-writing 'career' again.  So, just after New Year, husband Gary (he came up with 'Tar-in-a-Jar') and I headed off to Honduras. Well, more precisely, the little island of Utila. In a bid to keep our luggage down, the Marmite was left behind. Stupidly thought that because of the British influence on Utila - English is the first language - a dusty jar of the mighty-M might be found lurking on the odd bodega shelf. Wrong! And cannot believe how much I miss it. At first I wasn't bothered. Hey, I told myself, I've eaten enough Marmite lately to keep me going for a while. But every time I pick-up warm bagels from the bakery (which is just about every morning) I yearn to smother them in the stuff. As for eating bananas here - the country which gave the world that gem of a 'fruit' - I find it ridiculous that I left home without it! What, you've never tried lacing a mashed-up banana with Marmite? A favourite treat - only equalled by peanut-butter and M. But totally surpassed by mixing all three together and adding apple sauce. I think I need to get home.....


The book has pulled-off a major triumph! A new Marmite is scheduled to hit the market later this year. It's going to be extra-strong. It will sell under the name Marmite XO - which stands for Extra Old. In a bid to promote the newcomer Unilever (manufacturers of M) held a competition via its Facebook page. It invited Marmite fans to prove their passion by taking the challenge to be dubbed a Marmarati. Entries were then voted on. Only 200 - of the 694 entries - would make the cut. And Mish-Mash did it! A sweet victory that I am savouring because...well see the penultimate sentence.

My entry - among the hundreds of very stylized, complicated and fanciful offerings - was very simple. It was a photo of the front cover along with one paragraph that said:  Anyone who spends nine months with their head in a Marmite jar to write a book about the black-magic deserves the honour of being declared numero uno Marmarati!

An e-mail told me that a 'hand-crafted, commemerative' jar  of the 'prototype' new-taste Marmite is on its way to me. The package will also contain 'instructions' for the next step in the fight for the Marmarati crown. I'm sure Mish-Mash has gone as far as it's going in this particular arena....but, what an honour to get this far. Particularly as it was produced without the 'blessing' of Unilever.  But will keep you posted.

The Sheffield Tel - Tells All, Twice!

The good old Sheffield Telegraph (where I once nearly got a job but flunked the final interview because the editor didn't like the fact I hesitated when asked what book I was currently reading!) finally came through. Nice piece about the book - but primarily about Dave Jeffery, illustrator extraordinaire, whom is orginally from the great steel city. Read it here:  And then several days later its sister paper The Star happily got in on the act: