Friday, May 29, 2009

A Spot of Bovril

Once upon a time there was a carrot and an onion who were best friends. They lived together in the lefthand bin in my refrigerator (I think I recognize these guys, actually).

The carrot was old enough to know a thing or two but not so old that he had to go in the compost bin. And the onion looked up to the carrot, not just because the carrot was taller. The carrot had seen a thing or two and even claimed to know what was in the Tupperware at the back of the lowest fridge shelf (Note to carrot: please let me in on this).

One day they were sitting on the kitchen table while the fridge was being cleaned out. And while they were waiting around, they met a funny jar of black weird stuff.

"Who are you?" said the onion.

"Me? Good heavens, don't you know? I am a jar of Bovril, my dears. A delicious meat-essence spread much beloved by the English. You may dilute me with water and I become a lovely drink. Or I may be spread upon toast. Among other things."

"You don't say," said the onion, who felt a little green around the gills at the thought of this.

"Oh, ugh," said the carrot, in a cross voice. He was cranky, because he had caught a glimpse of himself in the Bovril jar's glass surface. And just like someone seeing themselves unexpectedly in a mirror, the carrot suddenly felt - well, defensive and insecure. He looked frowsty and hairy - not good for a carrot. Or anyone.

"I make carrots and onions very happy," the Bovril said. "Take a look in my glass side, just there. See? That is how happy you two would be, if you were covered in Bovril."

"Oh - no thanks," said the onion. "I'll just be rolling off the table now, goodbye." For the thought (and smell) of the black tarry spread inside the jar made him afraid. Who would use such a thing? the onion wondered.

It was all quite worrying. He was going to ask the carrot, but the carrot noticed how much better he looked, the longer he stared at the Bovril. The carrot was no longer listening to the onion. The carrot had been hypnotized by the wily jar!

And when it was time to go back into the fridge - the carrot was nowhere to be seen. The onion was afraid, and hid in the corner of the lefthand bin until he was incorporated into some minestrone the following week.

P.S. The carrot was cleaned up and made into delicious muffins, actually. And the Bovril? He went back into his cupboard until the next English person came around looking for things to spread on Rye Crisps or turn into brothy beverages. And it lived happily ever after!

Many many thanks to Heather for the colorful and, may I say, delightfully zippy, ad! I'm feeling much better now.


GoRetroGirl said...

And I thought Spam looked unappetizing! Now, it's hard to tell if the p*ssy looking onion and carrot are seeing a different pair stuck inside the Bovril jar smiling back at them (because they're so youthful looking) or if they're seeing their reflection. Bovril apparently must work like a beauty cream, for veggies.

GoRetroGirl said...

Just clicked on the Wikipedia link - yikes. The stuff looks exactly like black tar. I think I'll stick to my Spam, thank you very much.

GoRetroGirl said...

No retro recipe for this one!

Lidian said...

GoRetroGirl - I think Dorian Gray was on the Bovril Diet, come to think of it. But I agree, there will be no retro recipe to go with this. This is enough! :)

Tori Lennox said...

Those alleged "happy" vegetables should have their own horror movie. They are seriously creepy!

Amy said...

lol that's funny, you should write a book with all your ads...

Phyl said...

Oh my. I had never made the Dorian Gray connection before but you're right! Eeek!

P.L. Frederick said...

Cute and hilarious fairy tale writing. Ground-up Meat Bits would be proud. From the name Bovril, I assume it's made of bovines, and from the color, black, that it's concentrated down like balsamic vinegar. No I will not click to Wikipedia and learn more. Shudder.P.L. Frederick (Small & Big)

Margie and Edna said...

Lidian, you are so wonderfully creative! Posts like this one is what makes visiting your blog such a treat. (Unlike Bovril, which I have to believe is the anti-treat...)

Thanks for giving me a much-needed smile at the end of a day that has me feeling much like that crabby carrot. :)

--Beth (aka "Edna")

Eric said...

So it's kind of like steroids for vegetables? :/
Maybe we can look forward to a tell all book presented on Okra Chickpea?

outofthepinksky said...

My husband loves Bovril - of course, he's English. It was rather cool to be able to see an ad for something he likes that we don't have in the states.

Hairball said...

I think Mr. Carrot and Mr. Onion have been buzzing up some Bovril-tinis in the blender. A heaping scoop of Bovril, some vanilla vodka, a handful of olives for choking hazards, and it's par-tay time in the crisper drawer. Whoot!

That's why they look so happy in the reflection from the Bovril jar. They are seeing themselves through Bovril-tini goggles!!

Alicia aka "Fashiona" said...

Why can't I get past the sounds like some dreadful medication.

Lidian said...

Tori - They are a little bit strange, yes.

Amy - I really do want to do that, actually..Really, really very much! :)

Phyl - It only occurred to me right at the end, in a weird flash.

P.L. - You are right about the name sounding bovine - ugh, that IS off-putting.

Beth - I'm so glad it made you smile! That makes me happy too, and I appreciate it a lot :)

Eric - Perhaps we can! But first the veggies need to write a memoir - A Million Little Peas-es (and Friends)

outofthepinksky - I am also married to a Brit who likes Bovril, but we can get it here in Canada so all's groovy. Same goes for Marmite, which is Bovril's yeasty cousin.

Hairball - You know, I think you're on to something! They do look slightly toasted, come to think of it, lol

Alicia - It does sound medicinal. And I think that the English feel that it is a bracing and health-giving, er, thing.

ceemee said...

I liked the story, and it has a twist to it, too!

Lidian said...

ceemee - Thank you! :)

Mags said...

Marmite is also the vegetarian yeasty cousin of Bovril, and has done some awesome advertising over the years.

Marmite does you GOODcarried unanimously

Bill said...

That onion looks like he has a bad case of diaper rash. Not even Bovril will fix that.

The Exaggerator said...

Is it any wonder that Bovril (which is meat extract) has become a colloquial Australian expression equivalent to "Baloney!"?

(The actual meaning is, as they say here in the Information Stuporbahn, "Not for British School Kids"--"N4BSK," for short.)

feefifoto said...

I love your site. It makes me feel good about being cynical. I'm always happy to see you pop up into my reader. Thanks

Lidian said...

Mags - Thank you, that is brilliant of you! :) And thanks for the fab Cornish pasty ad too...You know, in my first draft of this I had it mixed up with Marmite, which I also find funny (and which we have here for my British spouse)

Bill - Oh, well, not going to go there! I can't imagine how to help him with that.

The Exaggerator - No wonder at all! lol

feefifoto - Thank you, you have no idea how sweet comments like your really make my day :)

Everyone - You ALL make my day, you know! Really and truly. I appreciate you all more than you will ever know.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a good read!

I recently had a craving for Bovril, which I suddenly realised I hadn't had for years despite its seeming omnipresence during my childhood. Now I can enjoy that delicious meaty drink once more! However, it does now occur to me that a spoonful wouldn’t necessarily go amiss in an impromptu onion soup ... it's only beef stock, really.

Also, it might just be me, but I’m pretty sure that onion is actually a small turnip.