Bovril

From Academic Kids

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Bovril, formerly a beef extract, now is the trademarked name of a thick, salty yeast extract, sold in a distinctive, bulbous jar.

A spoonful of the semi-liquid paste in hot water makes a savoury drink. It can also be used as a flavouring for soups, stews or porridge, or spread on bread, especially toast.

The name, like many late 19th and early 20th century tradenames, comes (partially) from Latin, bos meaning "ox." The vril component of the name comes from Bulwer-Lytton's once-popular 19th century "lost race" novel, The Coming Race, in which a subterranean humanoid race have mental control over, and devastating powers from, an energy fluid named "Vril."

In November 2004 the manufacturers, Unilever, announced that the composition of Bovril was being changed from beef to a yeast extract, both in the hope of allaying fears of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and to make the product suitable for vegetarians. According to Unilever, "in blind taste tests 10% didn't notice any difference in taste, 40% preferred the original and 50% preferred the new product."

It is served at the Groucho Club, and is associated with football culture.

A potential serving suggestion - as seen at football matches- is to shake white pepper and maybe a little cayenne into it before drinking.

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