Three Ingredients Serial – 7: Burner, E. Coli, Marmite

Episode 7 cat-n-tombstone

I hope I haven’t kept you waiting too long for the next installment of the Three Ingredients SerialThe “ingredients” for Episode 7 are from Spock’s Sister.  She’s an extraordinary mix of creative and scientific knowledge — so these ingredients are far from ordinary!  Working them into our culinary mystery was great fun.

However, I hope she’ll forgive me for tampering with her ingredients.  She sent “microscope,” and I failed to find a way to make it food-related (but at least I added it to the mix last time in Episode-6).  Since I used one ingredient early, I’m throwing in an additional “science-food” related ingredient with Bunsen burner — letting “burner” be one of the ingredients I used for this episode, in place of microscope.

Remember, the food-related ingredients you send to me inspire each part of the story.  You’re welcome to leave your own three ingredients in a comment.

7.  Burner, E. Coli, Marmite

Doc Vale’s jalopy puttered outside Granny Fanny’s cottage.  I ran out to the car to save him the trouble of1927cadillac2-m ad coming to the door.  (Besides, Granny was chasing Cracker the parrot with her broom again.  Last time I saw the bird, Cracker was flying through the kitchen with a pair of Granny’s undies in her beak.  I took the excuse to beat a hasty retreat!)  Anyhow, the doc’s wife, Veronica had invited me to spend the day and offered to teach me about some of the scientific things she used in her work.  Their place was just west of Savannah.  They had built an animal hospital next to their home, as well as a facility for horses and other large animals.

“I hope I didn’t put you out of your way, Doc,” I told the veterinarian, feeling a twinge of guilt at being chauffeured.

“Not at all Paisley,” he began and I drew breath to beg him to call me Pip.  But I let it go.  I hated to correct anybody who was that nice.  Vincent Vale seemed to have a very… proper manner about him and tended to address everyone by their given name, rather than any nickname.

“Actually, Mrs. Peabody’s cottage was right on my way home.  I’ve just come from a meeting with Detective Daniels.  He received permission for Veronica to do an autopsy on the unfortunate man who died at the Bijou theatre,” Doc Vale informed me.

I knew Veronica would be delighted to put her medical research skills to work on the mystery of how the man died, so I was pleased for her.  Then another idea struck me — an unpleasant one.  “Applesauce!” I exclaimed in horror. “She doesn’t mean for me to help her with that does she?  I was excited to learn about the kind of work she did in 1920s PhotoPlayLondon, but I don’t think I could watch anybody dissect a dead person!”

The doc chuckled.  “Relax Paisley,” he said reassuringly.  “They won’t bring the body until later today.  There will be plenty of time for Veronica to show you her lab.  You certainly would not be expected to observe the autopsy, unless you just wanted to do so.  Veronica said you could come again whenever you want, since this came up unexpectedly and might cut your visit short.

When we walked into the kitchen I could smell tea brewing, but I didn’t see a teakettle.  Vincent smiled and shook his head.  “She’s brewing tea in her laboratory again.  She’d have a fit if anyone else did that.  I’ll make a little snack for us.  Have you ever tasted marmite?” he asked picking up a jar containing something dark.  When I looked at the jar skeptically he said, “Folks either love marmite or they hate it, so don’t feel like you have to eat it. Veronica got a taste for it1920s Marmite ad when she lived in London, and I guess you could say she infected me with it too.  I’ll fix some for all of us and bring it back in a jiffy.  Veronica’s back there,” he said motioning to a door.

I walked into the large pristine room Veronica used as a laboratory and found her using a blue flame to heat a glass container. After greeting me warmly she explained laughing.  “Oh, when I was young I had these specially made on a whim,” she said indicating the odd container and cups.  “I thought it would be fun to use the Bunsen burner to make tea!  After all these years I still get a kick out of it.”

Lucy 3 funny facesHer husband came in with toast spread with that dark… whatever it was.  Horse feathers! I was expecting it to be some kind of jam, but it was salty.  I nearly dropped my plate and it took all my self-control not to spit it out.  I made an awful face despite myself, but Veronica just laughed.  With encouragement from both the Vales, I tried a little more, and it seemed to grow on me.

It seemed like I hadn’t been there any time at all when Detective Daniels arrived with two other men rolling a gurney.  Holy Hannah, they had brought the corpse.  I don’t know why I reacted at all, because I realized they were coming.  But knowing what was about to happen gave me the heebie jeebies.

I watched in surprise as the Daniels deputized Veronica Vale.  The copper told me that he wanted to make sure whatever Veronica discovered would be admissible in court.  “Ah-ha,” I thought.  I just knew the detective had been keeping something from me about the dead man.  He must have a pretty strong hunch of one kind or another.

As I looked on in fascination, Veronica pulled the cover back from the body.  She pinched his skin then looked at the underside of his eyelids, poked, sniffed and examined the body before she ever moved to pick up a surgical instrument.1920a TB ad

She looked up at the detective.  “It may or may not have been what killed him,” she said with a concerned expression.  “But I expect we will find that this poor man suffered from severe effects of E. coli.  Did you bring his shoes, as I asked?”

Detective Daniels nodded and removed the shoes from a sack.  Some of the cilantro still clung to the soles.  Veronica picked up a shoe and looked closely at the sole, and then sniffed of it.  “That’s cow manure.  I hope we don’t have an E. coli contaminated dairy farm somewhere.”

Daniels groaned.  He started writing in the tiny notebook he carried.  Ripping out two sheets, he turned to the men who had brought the gurney.  “Head out to these addresses and see if you find any sick people or animals.  I’ve got a hunch Doctor Vale is right,” he told them.  “This could be serious.”


Okay… I know this is not marmite — but reading about that “love it or hate it” spread made me think of the Lucy skit and I couldn’t resist.  Enjoy!

Video:  Vitameatavegamin

Spaghetti with Marmite

Recipe Credit:


12 oz spaghetti

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon Marmite   (or more to taste)

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese   (to serve)


1.  Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water, according to the packet instructions.

2.  When the pasta is almost cooked, melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the Marmite and 1 tablespoon of the pasta water, mixing thoroughly to dissolve.  Reserve ½ cup of pasta water; then drain the pasta and pour the Marmite/Vegemite mixture over the drained spaghetti, adding a little reserved pasta water to amalgamate if required. Serve with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese.

For vegetarians replace the Parmesan cheese with a vegetarian alternative.


Oh what the heck… Here’s a bonus video.

Video: How to Light a Bunsen Burner

Thanks for visiting.


Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

18 thoughts on “Three Ingredients Serial – 7: Burner, E. Coli, Marmite

    1. LOL. Thanks Debby! I think when I was writing these serials, that sometimes “things” or “ingredients” were meant to stump me. But it was all in good fun, and I usually had more fun with the intended stumpers than anything else.
      Thanks for reading these episodes.
      WordPress went wonky with my category buttons recently. They’re giving random results and the search utility suddenly became useless too. But if you’re trying to get to the next episode, use the arrow at the end of the post. There won’t be many posts between this and the next episode. Google search does pretty well too.
      I’m late getting dressed for work now. Mega hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Ack. I’m curious but not enough. By accident I noticed jars of Marmite in my grocery store Thank goodness I don’t eat toast.
    I feel I’ve missed something. Love this episode but wonder why I don’t know about previous ones. Always, always love LUCY. I remember this show about the commercial. A wonderful talent. ❤ ❤ 🙂


    1. Hi Tess. Thanks for dropping by. LOL, you missed something BUT it was before we knew each other. So you didn’t actually miss a thing. 😀 Even more confused now? 😉
      I’ve started re-posting this serial on Via that I’ve sent it to Facebook. Sally saw it and started doing some reblogs of it. (I didn’t know her when I was doing this serial either.)
      I was sending folks to the category button on the right of the page, but yesterday I noticed that WordPress was giving random results for both the category and the searches.
      However, I did “homepages” for the old serials, where all the episodes are combined in one big page. However those don’t include the blogger features.
      Mega hugs. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sally and thanks for reblogging! You know… I never did get around to trying marmite, even after all the fun discussions that post created. But then, it’s not so easy to get it here. Have a terrific Tuesday, my friend. Mega hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. As always, David, you are a delight.
      Tee-hee! Battle Love-It-or-Hate-It is on! As I’ve never tried marmite, I should be an objective judge of the contest. Although after the “gustin” description, maybe I want to stay “objective” and leave marmite alone. LOL.

      Episode 8 will be more appetizing, I promise!

      I’m so happy that you commented. Have a great rest of the week,


  2. So happy that Marmite features in this episode since I am a HUGE marmite fan!

    Incidentally, my sister told me about Nigella’s marmite spaghetti recipe a while back and I have been wanting to try it ever since. Have resisted so far given my low carb diet. But your latest episode has tempted me ;-).


    1. Thanks for commenting, Ishita. It sounds like Spock’s Sister has a big hit with the marmite ingredient. 🙂

      If you try the marmite spaghetti recipe, I hope you’ll come back and let us know what you thought of it, and what alterations you made.
      Bon appétit! 🙂


  3. I actually have seventeen Facebook friends who have Liked the Marmite page. A yeast extract. I wonder if it can be used to make beer. Goodness, I like the way your brought in e-coli. (Into the post, of course.) 🙂


  4. Excellent story! Yay for marmite, your research was very good. It is very much a love or hate thing.
    I have to admit that when I was a PhD student we used to have cocktails on a Friday afternoon. We had a fun science session – we did things like make volcanoes and small explosions and afterwards we had cocktails and curry or chilli. We didn’t mix cocktails in the lab (because that would be stupid and dangerous) but we did drink them from sterile plastic test tubes in the office next door.

    One time we were having our curry and cocktails when the director of the institute appeared. We were worried that we were all going to be fired but we invited him to join us and he did. He said that people rarely invite the director to join in the fun and he thoroughly enjoyed himself.

    Think of the episode of The Big Bang Theory where they were heating pot noodles with lasers – .it was along similar lines except biology tends to be more “squishy” and nobody would take their pot noodle anywhere near their laboratory. You definitely have to have the food after the silly games!


    1. Now Penny, THAT was a great story! I could just imagine all of you with the “tube” cocktails. What a fun memory to hold onto.
      I’m delighted that you enjoyed the episode — and that you took time to comment.

      I guess I’d better go out somewhere and find some marmite — so that my research is complete. 🙂


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