Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lyle's Lion

Yesterday I looked at the tin of Lyle's Golden Syrup that Alexis had bought for breakfast porridge sweetening, and I noticed that the lion on it is dead. I thought: When did that happen? - I'm SURE that lion was well last time I'd seen it. Sort of standing on a hill with his chest out proudly and mane blowing in the wind. Not limp and covered in flies, in any case.
"Maybe it's an anniversary tin," he said.
We considered this for a while.
"Hang on, it says something... Out of the Strong came forth Sweetness. - Ooooh it's from the BIBLE! Someone dreams that or something, and it's not flies, it's bees, they build a hive in a dead lion, and it means... that out of strength comes sweetness... yes! - That must have been on the tins all along!"
"Yes that lion was always dead!"
We considered this for a while.
I sort of remembered noticing the dead lion before. Standing in a supermarket in England seven years ago or so, and trying to work out what foods to buy because everything looked weird and alien, I'd just arrived from Germany some time ago and was determined to not import German food like a wuss, and I looked at that tin and wondered what it was good for, and I noticed the dead lion and suddenly felt very small and lonely and frightened. So back then I bought it and kept it in the cupboard until I next moved house, and I forgot about the lion again, and just left it behind for someone who would know what to do with golden syrup, because I didn't.
"Why would ANYONE think that's good to print on syrup?"
"I think it's good."
"Yah, you would."

I went to bed thinking about that, and this morning I went to Lyle's website and checked their FAQ section. And indeed, some way down they have a little section explaining the biblical reference (Judges 14:14), and ending: However, no-one knows why Abram chose the wording 'Out of the strong came forth sweetness'. Was he referring to the tin holding the syrup - or the company producing it?

They don't really know either.

I also, by the way, found out what the bit about "partially inverted syrup" is about. Underneath the lion.
In case you ever wondered about how sugar could be inverted:
The word invert comes from the way that sugar syrups rotate plane polarized light. A sucrose or glucose solution rotates light to the right, a fructose syrup rotates it strongly to the left. An equimolar solution of fructose and glucose inverts the rotation of light by rotating it to the left more than the sucrose syrup did to the right.
So that means if your sugar syrup rotates the light to the left it's a whole lot sweeter... I think.

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