Posted by: Joan Spiller | June 8, 2013

Marmite, cold toast & asthma

When I was a teen, I spent many months in hospital. Either ICU (twice) or just bedridden (and bored!) while the Doctors tried to get a grip on the asthma that plagued me so badly.

Looking back, I suspect it was a blend of things – not the least being ignorance.

Back then asthma was considered psychosomatic. Added to which Mum was anti drugs so would spoon manuka honey into my mouth (to this day I hate honey!) in the vain hope it would make me breathe easier..

As well, the doctors seemed to be only just waking up to the fact it was a deadly, scary and very distressing illness.

When I say I spent months in hospital, I mean in short stints over a year .. I’d be admitted for a few days, loaded with drugs and sent home.. I became known to the doctors and nurses and to this day can still recite my NHI number off the top of my head!

I even recall one time having Mum and Dad race inside in a flap because they’d been out gardening and am ambulance had driven into the property. I had no air to call for help, so had dialled 111 to send help. All very exciting .. or just plain stressful .. for everyone!

But asthma and my childhood is not the purpose of this post really for all it is the trigger 🙂

I don’t usually have white bread in my house (mostly because it has no taste and is just blah as far as breads go!) but I was clearing out my freezers yesterday and found a half a loaf of white toast slice, buried beneath all the other goodies in there so I decided to eat rather than waste it ..

Which is what had me strolling down memory lane as I made my breakfast today!

Back in the “old” days of the 80’s – breakfast was made and served by the nurses in hospitals! Nowadays with single serve everything, and outsourced catering it’s probably impossible to imagine but a trolley of slowly-growing-cold toast would emerge from the kitchenette on each floor at 7am.

Said trolley was also loaded with a large jar of marmite, a large jar of jam and of course: peanut butter and honey. Each with a spoon sticking out the top ..

You would say “I’d like 2 pieces of toast please” as they came to your bedside and they would plop two flaccid and cold pre-buttered bits of toast on a plate and then ask what topping/s you wanted.

Then they’d scoop some out and dollop it onto the plate next to the toast leaving you to “make your own” from here.

View exhibit A:


OK the plates wouldn’t be bone china with gold trim but work with me here! 😉

And so it was that I developed a taste for cold white toast with marmite on it that to this day still makes me go “nom!” when I think about it.

The toast MUST be cold, it must be pre-buttered so the bread is soggy and extra points are added if it’s almost collapsed thru to the plate. And it must be inedible at the crusts! Or else it’s just far too fancy 😉

I learned over the many visits to hospital just how many slices to ask for, because if you had 2 it wasn’t enough – mainly cos you only ate the soggy centre, the crusts were chewy and vile. 3 was perfect. I also remember you had to hide the crusts in the bathroom rubbish bin or the nurses would come back and tell you off!

Ah the good old days .. (ish)

Oh and to anyone who isn’t aware, I managed to kick the asthma in my late 20’s don’t ask me how or why but I no longer get it. All I know is that I am very glad cos man it was a horrible thing to have ..

Exhibit B: My breakfast today!



And to think you lot all reckon I’m a foodie with fancy food tastes .. this shameful secret is now known by all .. doh! 😉


  1. I had a lovely Welsh mother in law who introduced me to Marmite and I still love it! A great source of B vitamin complex, too. Good memories! But not on white, thanks . . . I’ll always be a whole grains lover.


    • Yeah I far prefer wholegrain breads .. but in honour of the hideous hospital meals this had to be done *grin*


      • Better you than me, then . . . 😉 I do know what you mean, though. I eat white bread when at someone’s house where it’s still served, but I don’t buy it. The Marmite, though; no-one I know here (Edmonton, AB, Canada) seems familiar with it. In Victoria, BC, where I lived mamy years, it was easy to find. Lots of ex-pat Brits there . . .


  2. Well done. It’s what you grew up with. Always curious about Marmite. Weird? You are not alone. 🙂 Aloha!


    • Have you not had marmite? I’m assured it tastes ghastly to those not indoctrinated *grin*


    • And Kia Ora (Our Aloha here in NZ!) 🙂 thanks for stopping by ..


  3. Still learning new things about you. How come I never got any of this when we were there? Made me wonder where the Marmite is we had here?? Must look for it tomorrow and make this dish with whole wheat bread. Would it still be good??


    • hahah James, we had many years to talk about – I had to abridge it 😉

      I am fairly sure you will find the marmite is still edible so long as the lid was on it .. goes hard otherwise..

      I’d make it with cheese and grill it on wheatmeal. Yum!


  4. Lol hilarious (not the asthma bit!) Must say I can admit to enjoying a piece of white toast every now and again, it’s only when we are eating out though as we never have white bread in the house these days 🙂


    • LOL Yeah same here Kimmie .. it’s got very little going for it!!


  5. Aw! I think every fancy food lover has something idiosyncratic that they just love to eat in a particular way! Thank you for sharing yours!


    • Your turn!!! *grins* I know many of my friends think I am a total food-wanker but some of my fave things are simple and weird lol (same can be said for my friends heheh)


      • Tortillas slathered in butter and popped in the microwave. Eaten over the sink. Classy, right? 🙂


      • ROTFLMAO! OMG I am so gonna try them.. I (hangs head in shame but not really cos they’re so good) deep fry mine .. the eating over the sink thing adds to the flavour AND saves dishes, most sensible!!! 😉


      • Oh man. You deep fry them? I’m coming over!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: