Curious food #3: Abram Lyle & Sons Black Treacle

23 Sep

I was looking at fellow Food Blogger Homemade with Mess’s  post about “Sticky Gingerbread Loaf”. Mmmmm. The best dessert I ever ate was Sticky Date Pudding at the Hotel Macdonald in Edmonton. I’m not kidding. I cried when the Sticky Date Pudding Chef left.  I must try the gingerbread recipe and see if it is a good surrogate.

I noticed that her recipe has black treacle as an ingredient, which reminded me that I have a can of Abram Lyle & Sons Black Treacle in my Cabinet of Food Curiosities. A friend brought it back from England for me.

However, it is rather beyond its best before date of August 2001. In fact, it is oozing out and the lid recommends that it be disposed of on expiry. No, I will not.

The side label further warns about expiry dates and uses phrases such as “must be discarded”, “pressure may have built up”, “possible risk on opening”, and “this can must not be refilled”. Geez, sounds like a Black Treacle bomb to me.

I just don’t see how the Queen could sanction such a dangerous food product.

In fact, it would seem that the danger is even more far-reaching than mere exploding treacle tins. Since my nom de cuisine is Truly Scrumptious, treacle is part of my history. In the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang the dastardly Child Catcher uses the promise of free Treacle Tarts to capture the Potts children. In fact, Treacle Tarts are the exact sweet that is their downfall. You may watch the terrifying treacle tart scene here at 1:20:   

All that aside, Black Treacle was deserving of a place in the Cabinet of Food Curiosities mainly for its very odd label of a dead lion with bees swarming around it, and the slogan “Out of the strong came forth sweetness”.

According to the food blog British Food: A History, “Abram Lyle was a very pious man, and used the story of Samson in the book of Judges in Old Testament as the inspiration for the design. Quite a while before his fateful haircut, Samson got attacked by a lion which, through his power, Samson was able to rip open, killing it. Later he sees that bees have built a hive within its carcass and he takes some honey to his family and friends and they have a feast. He didn’t tell them about the lion and had them guess how he came about all the honey, presenting them with the poser:

And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle. Judges 14:14

Black Treacle sure is one curiously powerful foodstuff.

Posted by Truly Scrumptious


2 Responses to “Curious food #3: Abram Lyle & Sons Black Treacle”

  1. The Erratic Cook September 24, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    I have some golden treacle that Adrian bought for cookies last Christmas. It is in a jar and has no expiry date, it has the same dead lion swarmed by bees on the label. Hmmm makes you wonder if gold is not as potent as black, or what. It will probably make quite the mess in your lovely cabinet if/when it blows! Oh & I look forward to your sticky date pudding post. Hint hint.

  2. swankola September 28, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    Ah, the old testament – such a cut-up.

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