Wednesday, January 19, 2011

icon of Englishness

I really should have taken this into class today, when we were discussing Icons of Englishness.   Yes, it's just what you fear that it might be - a bar of Marmite flavored chocolate.   Marmite - for those of you who may not be familiar with it - is a peculiarly English substance, made of whatever yeasty substance is left from brewing beer, and a whole lot of salt.   When I went, once, into a huge bat-cave in Bali, I knew exactly what simile to employ for bat shit.   You spread Marmite on bread, or toast, or make it into sandwiches with cheese.   But putting it into chocolate?   

This was, of course, a Christmas present from my father.   But I can't quite bring myself to try it.   There are some very discouraging on-line reviews, and these made me look at the ingredients - what's truly peculiar is that the bar contains not just the promised, or threatened, Marmite, but onion powder, garlic powder, and celery.   Putting chocolate together with celery seems very peculiar indeed.

We didn't actually have any food in class today, though there was one teabag - of British Breakfast Tea, rightly introduced as a blend of all kinds of colonial relations - a teacup, and a Paddington Bear book, which was the item that really got me thinking - since Morgan, introducing it, spoke about it as a kind of allegory of Becoming English - even if the bear was from Darkest Peru, rather than Jamaica or Bombay, he certainly does learn how to assimilate along some very orthodox middle class lines ... I'm not sure how to analyse, though, his jar of marmalade ...

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