Maggie Hall’s Mish-Mash Marmite: A-Z of Tar-in-a-Jar is released today (May 18) by BeWrite Books. And if you’re one of those rare folks who've never even tasted Marmite, you can win a specially minted collectors’ ‘royal’ jar in the fun BB contest below.
But for the initiated, whether your mouth waters at the very thought of a Marmite treat or you hold your nose in disgust at the subject ‘matter’, we have good reason for this uniquely courageous publishing eccentricity. You see ...
From New Zealand’s Waikikamoocow to Yum Yum, Tennessee (yes, these places actually exist), there’s little as iconically English as the humble Marmite jar.
But as in the case of other gourmet specialties like haggis, stewed sheep’s eyeballs and grits, the planet’s seven billion souls are sure to be immediately and clearly divided in their taste … in Marmite’s case statistics gathered over its 110 years of existence suggest exactly 50-50, with 3.5 billion lovers and 3.5 billion loathers.
So it takes an intrepid – if none too impartial – globe-trotting reporter of decades’ experience like Maggie Hall to stick her nose into that pot of thick black goo and spell out Marmite from A-Z. Her book is a mish-mash of facts for lovers and loathers alike.
It’s jam-packed with gems of information from vital scientific research proving amazing health properties in the product – a simple yeast extract made from brewery waste that could improve or even save countless lives – to hilarious trivia about the Marmite shrine she discovered in Antarctica, NASA’s admission that Marmite has been squirreled aboard its spacecraft at least twice, that it’s a Hollywood set painters’ trade secret for lending an antique brush-stroke to scenes in historical movies, that the British royal family fiercely guards its Marmite recipes … and even how it’s ingeniously used behind drawn bedroom curtains to spice up love lives.
Whether you find the black stuff a delicious treat or gag at the very thought of the world famous tar-in-a-jar, Maggie’s illustrated encyclopedia is perfect to dip into for bite-sized chunks of the utterly fascinating and the downright whacky world of Marmite. Use her findings as justification of your addiction ... or as a weapon against the Marmite goo-rmets.
Marmite lovers’ reactions to this book …
Black magic personified! A-Z author and journalist Maggie Hall
I have a new respect for that jar in my kitchen cupboard. R. Oldroyd. Amazon
Marmite haters’ reactions to this book ...
Like Marmite, Maggie is English. Unlike Marmite, I like Maggie. Imagine putting hundreds of anchovies in a blender, adding salt and axle grease, pureeing, pouring the contents on an asphalt roofing shingle, baking under a hot sun for several weeks, then scraping off a black, gooey precipitate and eating it. That is Marmite … My toast carefully Marmited, I took a bite and immediately felt as if I’d been hit in the face by an ocean wave, a wave befouled by oil from a sinking tanker, oil that had caused a die-off of marine birds and invertebrates, creatures whose decomposing bodies were adding to the general funkiness of the wave that had found its way inside my mouth. John Kelly. Washington Post.
(His lengthy review, praising the book but bad-mouthing Marmite, resulted in such an avalanche of passionate letters from Washington Post readers in both love-it and loathe-it camps that his prestigious newspaper had to open a special column for them. Kelly was so battered that he was forced to write a follow-up article to claim he was only joking.)
A pot pourri of weird and wonderful tales about Marmite’s history, its influence on some of the key events of our times and the antics of some of the lovers (and haters) of the spread ... best digested in book form. Tim Fletcher. Burton Mail
|Author Maggie Hall|
A retired Fleet Street reporter – who started life in Cleckheaton, Yorkshire but ended up in the heady New York bureau of one of the world’s biggest newspaper groups – she now divides her time between Washington DC, Whitby in Yorkshire and traveling as a writer and researcher. So none of what she discovered on this voyage around the world of Marmite should have surprised her.
But it did. And it will surprise you, too!
A free 35-page browsing brochure for Mish-Mash Marmite: A-Z of Tar-in-a-Jar is HERE.
The book’s available in all digital editions from all online ebook stores for reading on all electronic platforms. Digital editions are also available from the BeWrite Books BOOKSTORE. Paperback edition by Revel Barker Publishing is also available from online stores.
So, never tasted the stuff? Interested? Here goes … the wittiest email messages to BEWRITE BOOKS, comments to this blog or to BeWrite Books’ FACEBOOK EVENTS PAGE – for or against Marmite – will get a free ebook edition in the format of choice. The outright winner can look forward to a package in the post containing a jar of Ma’Mite, a swanky new collectors’ edition produced by Marmite to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II this year. (HRH gets a commemorative jar, too, but one can expect that direct from Marmite and not from BeWrite Books, unless one cares to join the fun.)
The runner-up (to risk the ire of our [so-far] friends Down Under, who go out to bat for it at every opportunity) will get the consolation prize of a jar of Australian Vegemite … the real thing’s pale pretender. But for once, all hate mail is welcome, as long as it’s good for a laugh.
For those interested in the detail – Mish-Mash Marmite: A-Z of Tar in a Jar. Author: Maggie Hall. Illustrator: Dave Jeffrey. Cover art: Tony Szmuk. Editor: Neil Marr. Text design and technical preparation: Tony Szmuk. Digital distribution: BeWrite Books Digital Distribution Division. RBP paperback distribution: Ingram.
Happy weekend and bon appetit, folks. Neil, Tony, Hugh and Sam at BeWrite Books