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A Medal And Marmite For Team Kiwi

Peter Macdiarmid
Getty Images

Here's a curious little bit of news from the BBC:

"New Zealand competitors who win medals at the London Olympics have been offered an unusual reward — food parcels containing jars of Marmite."

"The spread has been in short supply since March, after the manufacturer was forced to close its only factory because of earthquake damage."

So, a New Zealand super market chain decided that instead of selling the precious few jars they had left, they would give them to winning Olympians.

"To come to London and prove to the world that they are the best in their discipline is no mean feat," Steve Anderson of Foodstuffs New Zealand, told the BBC. "And we thought that a few home comforts after all their hard work wouldn't go astray."

Marmite, which is made from the yeast extract left behind from brewing beer, originated in Britain. It's a love it or hate thing. And in New Zealand, as All Things Considered reported in March, a special recipe of marmite took hold and the one factory that produced it is still closed after damage from the 2011 earthquake.

It got so rough for the country that Marmite's producer gave kiwis tips on how to make it last longer. Warm toast is good, because it makes the Marmite softer, so you can spread it thinner, for example.

If this post making you want some Marmite with your Olympic viewing, there's a Kitchen Window piece that includes a few recipes, including one for "Marmite Cheddar Crackers."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.