The Toast Spread of the Underworld

“Bovril 250g” by Whitebox at the English language Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

The Boffin was looking for the Bovril, and I had to tell him it was in the fridge.


His tone possessed that special husbandly annoyance, as if I put his favorite cast iron fry pan in the high cupboard where he would have to move several bits-and-bobs to get to it.  You know…something I did just to spite him.  Or I was possessing that American paranoia that everything was going to spoil the minute the jar opened.

Of course, being us, there is more to it.  You see, Bovril is a beef and yeast extract that is either spread on toast or some other type or bread product or dissolved in a mug of hot water to drink.  By putting it in the fridge, it becomes too thick to spread in a super thin layer for that optimal tastiness.  He would have to wait a bit for it warm up.  On the other hand, we are still experiencing summer temperatures here and can’t keep it anywhere else in the kitchen.  Bovril, being a precious commodity Stateside, has to be preserved as long as possible, and I was looking out for his welfare.  This is purely an British immigrant problem, so I had to remind him of the reality.  Of course, after being married this long, I did not have to go into the full explanation.

Me:  “Well, it says to “Store in a cool, dark place,” and it is still summer.  Unless you can find a place in the kitchen…”

The Boffin (cuts me off):  “My soul.”

Thus, he got the message, and sanity is restored.

10 thoughts on “The Toast Spread of the Underworld

  1. Ha ha ha! I love the exchanges you report between you and the Boffin. They remind me so much of Mr Pict and myself.

    Bovril and I have never been friends. Indeed, my Gran forcing me to drink “beef tea” might be one of the reasons why I was a vegetarian for years and still eat a largely veggie diet and never, ever eat red meat. Bovril, therefore, is not one of the British things I miss or pine for. I don’t do Marmite either. Mr Pict and two of the Pictlings have a Salad Cream addiction, however, so any visitor to our house from British shores has to make up their suitcase weight allowance in Salad Cream. We can buy it here from an Irish store but it is super expensive so we try not to run out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tried it once when I first arrived in England, and I never took to it. Then the CJD crisis hit, and it completely turned me off from trying it again. Maybe I need to open my mind, and give it another go.

      One thing I draw the line over is Heinz Sandwich Spread (known in our house as Vomit in a Jar). I will not try it. I can hardly look at it. I do not understand how anyone thought this was a good idea. The Boffin is in agreement.

      For those who don’t know the Heinz Sandwich Spread…

      You may be able to get the Salad Cream cheaper on Amazon with free shipping from the U.K. You just have to wait a few weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh goodness yes! That sandwich spread is appalling. Not that I have tasted it but just from the look of it. Vomit for sure. What is it about we Brits and putting gross things into jars for sandwiches? Meat paste and fish paste are horrors from my childhood packed lunches. No wonder I was a skinny kid. And then there’s potted head. I think I might have just sicked up a bit in my mouth at the thought of it. Bleurgh!

        Amazon prices for Salad Cream are about the same as we pay locally at the Irish shop. We have not had to resort to it yet since we have had a frequent enough trickle of visitors – and brought a dozen bottles back from the UK this summer – but I am sure Mr Pict will order it should it ever come to it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Potted head=head cheese over here. (Now who thought “head cheese” would be a good name for that?”) My Great Aunt Olga loved the stuff. Being an area with so many Central and Eastern European immigrants, I can get all sorts of different kinds of head cheese at the ethic supermarkets. I take pictures of the signs for my close friends from my hometown. One has to have a strong stomach to shop here.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Ah, yes, head cheese. I do vaguely remember being told that was another term for it. In Scotland we would call it “potted heid”. My Great-Gran used to get entire sheep’s heads posted to her from relatives in Shetland and she would boil it down to get all the “meat” from it in order to make potted heid. I confess I have never tried it so perhaps it is the most delicious thing ever – but I doubt it.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. My Grandfather’s nickname was Bovril, My father’s was Oxo and my brother’s is Marmite. I just love that scraping out of the iconic jar at the end, then pouring boiling water over it to use that last bit to make gravy.


  3. I never even knew there was such a thing as beef tea! I have heard of an alcoholic drink called a Bullshot, that involves beef bullion, though.


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