Forget Marmite; Bovril is my family’s chosen British favourite.
As a child Bovril on toast was always present on the breakfast table, the squat brown jar rubbing shoulders with the marmalade, honey and condensed milk (another classic for another piece). Thick sliced white bread, toasted golden, not too dark, spread with ice cold slices of butter and lovingly topped with a thin smear of Bovril. One bite and the butter bore the impression of your front teeth. Ah happy, cholesterol days.
At weekends we often had fried bread spread with Bovril as part of the family tea, and after birthday parties, rather than waste the left over sandwiches they were fried for breakfast often with an extra spreading of Bovril.
I have carried on with the tradition, albeit in a slightly healthier manner. We now use Flora and Ryvita or Crackerbread under our Bovril but it’s still delicious.
We are a foody family and Bovril is not just consumed, it is ‘yummed’ and ‘mmmmmmed’ over, so imagine my indignation when I realised that, during the BSE crisis the makers of Bovril had decided to buckle under public pressure and make it with yeast extract. It just wasn’t the same and I was absolutely delighted to discover that catering sized pots of Bovril were still available in our local Costco using the original and eponymous beef. So now we have buckets of the stuff! Of course it has returned to the original beef now that the fuss has died down but the Whizz-Lil family is in the habit of buying the buckets now.
Horace, now in her twenties, had her first taste of Bovril at a very early age, on toast soldiers and by the age of 18 months had also been exposed to my mother’s high fat influences. One evening while visiting her grandmother, she was introduced to a classic: Ritz crackers spread with Philadelphia cream cheese (full fat of course) and topped with Bovril. She was completely hooked and now, as a student, is still converting her friends to the joys of Bovril. Her own particular favourite is to put it between the toast and the scrambled eggs for breakfast. My Dad likes it on toast with tomatoes. My husband thinks we are all mad!
Do we drink it? Never! Far too healthy.