No faithful reader I am not talking of the run on toilet paper that began the lockdown in March of this year, or the sudden dearth of flour on the shelves in April, or even the gaping maws where boxes of pasta once proudly stood in May. I speak of the absence in our markets, since June, of …. Marmite!
There is not a single gram of Marmite to be had here on the Island. And according to news reports not so much as an ounce of the unappetizing, brown, gooey extract of yeast is to be found in grocery stores in much of the known world.
The fallout from COVID-19 has spread to the spread, as it where. The manufacturer announced back in late June that they could no longer produced large jars of the
disgusting controversial sticky paste.
“Why?” you ask.
Well in the late 19th century German scientist Justus von Liebig discovered that brewer’s yeast could be concentrated, bottled and eaten. And thus Marmite was born! It was a good use of a by-product which otherwise would be thrown away. It IS also rich in vitamin B complex and was valued as a healthy supplement in rations during the First Great War.
“Skip the history lesson! What has that to do with the shortage?”
Aren’t you just the impatient one. You may have noticed that in most places bars, pubs, and restaurants were forced to close. As a result there is less of a demand for the nectar of the hop-yards.
“And … ?”
… and with brewers slowing down or stopping production the required by-product, brewer’s yeast, is in short supply. So the manufacturer has cut back on production and only putting out 125g jars. And despite assurances that “most grocery stores will have a supply ….” the pradellas at the altars of Marmite throughout the universe are oft-times bare and bereft.
The descriptive adjectives I have applied to Marmite in previous paragraphs would suggest I am not a fan of the
goop spread. Well spotted faithful reader! I’m not! However over at Glen and Friends there was a great Stew and Stout recipe that I wanted to try this weekend. It includes the addition of two tablespoons of Marmite to give it a punch of umami. Apparently Glen adds it to his shepherd’s pie, meat loaves et al and I thought it would be worth a try. It was not to be – my supermarket Sherpa (Laurent) found that there was none to be had.*
Sidebar: It is interesting to note that on Amazon.ca I could get two 125g jars for only $37.17 or $18.50 each. Strangely on at least two other sites a 125g jar was showing, when available, at $5.36. Supply-demand economics at work?
*By the way the stew turned out excellent even without the Marmite.
The word for November 10th is:
Yeast /yēst/: [noun]
1.1 A microscopic fungus consisting of single oval cells that reproduce by budding, and are capable of converting sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
1.2 A grayish-yellow preparation of yeast obtained chiefly from fermented beer, used as a fermenting agent, to raise bread dough, and as a food supplement.
1.3 Any unicellular fungus that reproduces vegetatively by budding or fission, including forms such as candida that can cause disease.
Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch gist and German Gischt ‘froth, yeast’, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek zein ‘to boil’.