Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Insanity, I Tell You

This time of year, I need to be consuming the produce that is bouncing out of the backyard. Squash, eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers. Not to mention all the fruit we collected and sorta semi preserved but still needs to be eaten, pronto.
But. Do you ever look at Tastespotting? I know. You do. All the time.
Oh, those gorgeous photos, better than any I could take. And those wondrous dishes from all over the world, some deeply complicated and some as simple as a plate of flavored noodles. They have nothing to do with my backyard problem. But they are beautifully seductive.
Yeah, I crumpled. I weakened. I jumped so far off the eat-local chart they should put me in permanent detention.
See, it was this picture of pretty brown spaghetti. The pasta was tinted by whatever concoction it had been stirred with. And the concoction was... butter and Bovril.
Help. I have only recently become enamored of Marmite. Before that, I had tasted a bit of Vegemite from a tiny gift jar, a joke present from my brother-in-law after his trip to Australia. (I think I was the only recipient of his gag gifts who actually wanted to eat it.) Now, at the risk of offending my friend who turned me on to Marmite, I have fallen under the spell of Bovril. It's — different. A little meaty. Smooth and mellow.
We almost didn't buy the Bovril for this dish, thinking Marmite would do the job, but our local store carries it, and, and, and... Whew.
OK. The "recipe" (you know I don't follow recipes) came from the charming ChickyEgg, a resident of Malaysia whose English is so CUTE. She totally talked me into trying it, grammatical innovations and all.
So, yeah, when you're using Bovril for the first time, you should probably follow the rules. I totally agree with ChickyEgg that one teaspoon of Bovril per serving is just right.
I also agree that the minced parsley topping is inevitable. I thought it was just for looks, but munching the taste of umami with sprightly crunches of chlorophyll was heaven. I woke up the next morning wanting more.
Yes, I loved it.
Loved it.


Alecto said...

Yeah, you are for sure going to sit in the corner for that one but I'll go sit there with you. And then we can get back to the rest of the garden produce.

cookiecrumb said...

Alecto: Come on over. We can put on our dunce caps, and I will make you a bowl of this comfort.
Does it help to to know that for lunch today we ate zucchini soup?
Ah, who cares.

kudzu said...

Ahhh, ChickyEgg!! Be sure to get in touch with her to ask her what her blog name means over there. I had a romp with trying to locate the definition and found her blog because of her -- well, you can figure it out.

Noodles sound lovely, Bovril and all.

Sam said...

There are Bovril people. There are Marmite people. And then there is you.

In my household Bovril was synonymous with bad gravy, so iyt didn't stand too much of a chance with me.

I'll stick with my marmite. Maybe I should lend you my marmite recipe book?

PS - I don't have time for photos - I hardly have time to type it up or even add links.

peter said...

Good God. My Dad is English, so I'm badly biased against all brewing-and-slaughterhouse residue pastes from the getgo. Seriously? Ack.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: Fill me in. Man, you are so well-versed in all the wide-roaming bloggers.

Sam: Thanks for understanding that I have no inherent cultural understanding (or bias) about these yeasty goops.
I am sorry you are so busy. You've done a stellar job with your local eating diary.
Carry on!

Peter: Seriously? If your dad is English, why are you biased against these residue pastes?
Well, I guess that would be like assuming all Americans like French's yellow mustard, so I might understand.
(But... mmm. The Bovril, not the French's.)

namastenancy said...

I tell ya', ya' just can't trust them Marin types. Turn my back on you and you're using Bovril? Next think you know, you'll be adding peacock feathers to your salad of imported lettuce and drinking European wine.
Bad Cookie.

Sam said...

PS - my mum loves Bovril I think?

The Spiteful Chef said...

Chris used to say things were savory if they tasted good. Even if they were sweet. I corrected him months ago, at which point he spitefully started calling everything "savory." Then the Kikkoman Umami commercials came out and he got really excited and started saying everything was umami. Just this weekend I got out of the shower and he told me I looked umami.

Brittany said...

Looks beautiful enough to please the assholes at tastespotting (did I say that? Sorry. They have rejected all of my last entries. I can't help but feel shunned).

Seriously though, I really need to try this. I have only tried Marmite. A Brit friend turned me on to it, he is always eating it on toast. I'm sure I'd love Bovril. Especially with the carb-y goodness of a pile of spagetti.

Anna Haight said...

Well, it's my opinion that before all this too-easy non-local stuff, we all got excited about a little occasional taste of somewhere exotic to spice life up. I'm all for it. Things like Borvil are great, it's things like fresh tomatoes from China or some other far away place when they grow in your backyard or your neighbors that really is the issue. Stepping off my soapbox and looking up this interesting recipe...

cook eat FRET said...

i want some but it's an unlikely find here.
i love vegemite. i lived in australia for 5 years...

i love that bowl of pasta. i'd eat that and be very happy. is it buttered up?

Choosy Beggar Tina said...

There is no shame in Bovril. When I was a penniless student (as opposed to a penniless adult) I would often have Po Man's Consomme....Bovril in boiling water. When I need comfort food I still like a big steaming mug of that.

Sam said...

I like a mug of hot marmite too. We used to drink it when we were pulling all-nighters at work in the late 80s. And I still drink it now from time to time.

Zoomie said...

I had never Tastespotting before - I'm always the last to know - but I will now! Thanks for the link.

kudzu said...

Cookie: I was searching for the recipe for an obscure Southeast Asian pastry called "chicky biscuit" -- made from, among other things, candied winter melon, garlic, and fermented bean sauce --and it was esp. elusive. I was googling combos of terms when I hit upon Chicky Egg's blog. PS There is no chicken in chicky biscuits. They were called that because they are small and round -- maybe.

cookiecrumb said...

Nancy: We ate it in our hot tub.

Sam: I actually am a gravy goddess. I make gravy so good that I have been asked to make it at other peoples' homes when I visit for dinner. I have never used Bovril (or Kitchen Magic... whatever it's called). I will make gravy even Fred would love. You on?

Spitey: Ohgod. I bet you do look umami out of the shower. How cute. Geez. I'm embarrassing myself. What a homo.

Brittany: I quit even trying to submit photos. I got a couple in a long time ago, but now they hate me so I quit. Wahhh. You are not alone.
Try the Bovril! Yay.

Anna: I LOVE how you are exploring your new knowlege of local. Go, girl. And, yes, you have to cheat now and then.

Claudia: It is SO buttered up. I'm surprised you can't get Bovril in Nashville. Not!! Hah.
Wow, five years in Australia? My dream getaway.

Tina: I'm very intrigued by the idea of a cup of beef tea. Thanks for the recommendation.

Sam: You too. Marmite tea. :)

Zoomie: Come, Grasshopper. We will show you the way.

Kudzu: Too funny. What must it be like to eat at your house?

Greg said...

Bovril...that's a new one on me. I like Advil so maybe ;)

kudzu said...

Well, you wouldn't be eating any chicky biscuits, Dearie. All of that effort was intellectual curiosity of the kitchen variety! You would probably be bored with my daily fixings.

Dagny said...

Zoomie wasn't the last one; she was next to last.

And I think the stuff you're thinking of is Kitchen Bouquet. An aunt of mine, whose taste I have always questioned, uses that stuff for her gravy. Ick!

Oh, and for the longest time growing up, I was unaware that there were any other mustards besides French's yellow -- says the woman who know keeps at least five different mustards on hand.

I'm going to have to give this bovril some thought. Hmmm. Maybe I'll try it when you have the gastropods. ;-)

Catherine said...

stunning picture!

As bovril has beef so we're a marmite family. And I like the word marmite so much better than the word bovril.

kudzu said...

Re: all this meaty-boosting stuff -- in Italy even the best cooks (inc. Signora Hazan) slip bouillon cubes into sauces and other dishes. This is considered not only okay but actually beneficial. Any takers?

Passionate Eater said...

Keep on the "eating local" trail Cookie, don't let Tastespotting tempt you otherwise! Well, unless it has a really irresistible picture of food that you absolutely must have. :)

cookiecrumb said...

Greg: LOL! Best line of the day.

Dagny: Bingo! Yes, Kitchen Bouquet.
So, are you daring me to try snails in exchange for you trying Bovril? That might happen. ;)

Catherine: Well, you're a vegetarian, so obvy. It turns out the name "Bovril" comes from "bo" (cow) and "vril," which (quote from Wikipedia here) comes from Bulwer-Lytton's once-popular 1870 "lost race" novel, The Coming Race (also reprinted as Vril: The Power of the Coming Race), in which a subterranean humanoid race have mental control over, and devastating powers from, an energy fluid named "Vril."

Kudzu: I had a friend who was a Pillsbury Bake Off champion (if those are credentials at all), who always tossed a bouillon cube into her bechamel sauce. It's a bit salty, but I see the appeal.

PE: I jumped back onto the local train. Yesterday we had local artichokes with a dipping sauce that included diced tomatoes from our garden. :)

Lannae said...

Oh, I am not sure to thank you, or blame you for all the time I am going to be flipping through the gorgeous photos at tastespotting. For now, thanks, what a neato site. At 3 am while I am still flipping through with another work day looming... that maybe a different story.

Heather said...

IS it called Bovril (and tastes meaty) because it's made of bovine?

Me? I'm a Better Than Bouillon girl. Chicken and beef are both fine flavors.

cookiecrumb said...

Lannae: Go To Bed!!

Heather: Yes, totally bo-vrine. Eek.
I am all fired up to look into Better Than Bouillon. Thanks!