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: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

Read Next

After Savile, we must devote our energies to stopping the child abuse taking place now

Mary Dejevsky
A ‘hugely irritated’ Sir Malcolm Rifkind on his way home from Parliament on Monday  

Before rushing to criticise Malcolm Rifkind, do you know how much being an MP can cost?

Isabel Hardman
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower