Andrew Martin: Am I odd? I only quite like Marmite

Related Topics

Mr Jim Keary, manager of a 24-hour garage in Kingsthorpe, Northamptonshire has stopped selling Marmite after his entire stock was repeatedly pinched. "What's the point of selling something if every time you stock it, it gets stolen?" he asked. On one occasion, the thief left two jars behind but came back for them the next night. In all, he has cleared out Mr Keary's entire stock of Marmite four times in a month. The thief appears on CCTV images. He is a thin, bald man who presumably now suffers from whatever is the opposite of a vitamin B deficiency.

I think he might also be intelligent, since in my experience it is intelligent people who develop food addictions. The cleverest boy in my son's class at school apparently eats little else but Cheestrings. As a young man, I was fascinated and appalled to discover that the editor of the magazine I worked for (now a leading columnist) ate a Toffee Crisp after lunch every day. Indeed she was eating a Toffee Crisp when she called me in and warned me that unless I bucked my ideas up she would be forced to fire me – an occasion so traumatic that I myself have avoided Toffee Crisps ever since. Rather – and I can't resist mentioning in this context that I am the holder of an upper second class degree in history – I eat about three Daim bars a week. Daim bars are flat bits of chocolate-coated butterscotch, usually broken. Would I go so far as to steal a shop's entire stock four times in a month? Probably not, especially now that I've revealed in print my partiality for them, but I do judge the quality of a newsagents on whether or not they stock them. I once mentioned this to a publisher of my acquaintance who admitted that he constantly eats a certain kind of tinned cherry pie filling. "There's just something about it..." he said.

I think the word he was looking for was "sugar". Food addictions are associated with sugar and salt tastes and Marmite is the most famously more-ish of the foods in the latter category. As we are all now becoming rather tired of hearing "You either love it or you hate it"... which makes me some sort of freak because I quite like Marmite.

My own salty preference is for crisps, and my favourite type is the northern brand, Seabrook, especially the tomato flavour. As a boy, I would regularly walk from the housing estate on which I lived to the one shop – an off licence in Tanner's Row in central York – that I knew sold them. There I would buy two packets: one to be eaten on the way home, the other while reading a Sherlock Holmes story. On entering the shop, the owner would always give me a complicit smile, which I resented. I was embarrassed about my addiction, and would try to finesse it by first purchasing, say, two ounces of sherbert strawberries (to which I was also addicted, but not to the same extent), and then musing aloud: "And I may as well have a bag of crisps as well... The, er, tomato flavour, I think."

My fascination with these crisps was morbid. They were bright red, and looked radioactive – there was something wrong with them. The pastry of a Fray Bentos steak and kidney pie (which I would request as my last meal were I ever to be executed) is similarly mesmerising, in that it has the precise texture of cardboard in the rain. I tell my wife that her liking for peanut butter and jam is also a perversion, and she replies that she is Canadian by birth and that everyone in Canada has that for breakfast. It's not the conclusive refutation that she seems to think.

Ghoul Britannia by Andrew Martin is published by Short Books

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an intermediate help de...

Recruitment Genius: CNC Turner

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This long established manufactu...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executives - OTE £25,000

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A young, vibrant and growing co...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Caitlyn Jenner's first shoot is a victory - but is this really best version of femininity we can aspire to?

Sirena Bergman
The sun balances next to St Albans Church in Earsdon, North Tyneside.  

The world’s nations have one last chance to slow climate change

Michael McCarthy
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral