The original use of the word marmite was for a French two-handled earthenware or metal cooking pot, used for makings soups and stews. It’s thought that the term was derived from the old French word for ‘hypocrite’ – the idea being that the pot was a hypocrite because it concealed its contents.
Later in Britain the word was used for a proprietary brand of a spread made from yeast extract, a by-product of the beer brewing industry. The paste is dark, sticky, and very salty. It’s often spread on toast but can also be used for various other purposes, eg to add a tasty stock to vegetarian dishes.
The Marmite familiar to many Brits today was originally launched in 1902 and depicts a marmite pot on its label. There have also been many special editions to celebrate various events, eg a special edition called ‘Ma’amite’ was released in April 2012 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
Visit the official Marmite website.