Treacle

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Treacle in a bowl

Treacle (/ˈtrkəl/)[1] is any uncrystallised syrup made during the refining of sugar.[2][3] The most common forms of treacle are golden syrup, a pale variety, and a darker variety known as black treacle. Black treacle, or molasses, has a distinctively strong, slightly bitter flavour, and a richer colour than golden syrup.[4] Golden syrup treacle is a common sweetener and condiment in British cookery, found in such dishes as treacle tart and treacle sponge pudding.

Etymology[edit]

Historically, the Middle English term treacle was used by herbalists and apothecaries to describe a medicine (also called theriac or theriaca), composed of many ingredients, that was used as an antidote treatment for poisons, snakebites, and various other ailments.[3] Triacle comes from the Old French triacle, in turn from (unattested and reconstructed) Vulgar Latin triacula, which comes from Latin theriaca,[5] the latinisation of the Greek θηριακή (thēriakē), the feminine of θηριακός (thēriakos), "concerning venomous beasts",[6] which comes from θηρίον (thērion), "wild animal, beast".[7][8]

Production[edit]

Treacle is made from the syrup that remains after sugar is refined. Raw sugars are first treated in a process called affination. When dissolved, the resulting liquor contains the minimum of dissolved non-sugars to be removed by treatment with activated carbon or bone char. The dark-coloured washings[clarification needed] are treated separately, without carbon or bone char. They are boiled to grain (i.e. until sugar crystals precipitate out) in a vacuum pan, forming a low-grade massecuite (boiled mass) which is centrifuged, yielding a brown sugar and a liquid by-product—treacle.[9]

In popular culture[edit]

A traditional Cornish fisherman's celebratory drink is "Mahogany", made from two parts local gin—now usually Plymouth Gin—mixed with one part black treacle.[10][11][12]

In chapter 7 of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the Dormouse tells a story of Elsie, Lacie, and Tillie living at the bottom of a well, which confuses Alice, who interrupts to ask what they ate for sustenance. "The Dormouse again took a minute or two to think about it, and then said, 'It was a treacle-well.'" This is an allusion to the so-called "treacle well", the curative St. Margaret's Well at Binsey, Oxfordshire.[13]

In the British comedy Jeeves and Wooster, treacle was used by Bertie Wooster as an adhesive on paper to silently break a window to effect an art heist. The viscous properties of treacle led to comedic results and the utter failure of Wooster's plan.[14]

Some Americans were first introduced to this word in the TV series Doctor Who, when The Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, in the third episode of The Android Invasion. In a reference to both Alice in Wonderland and Three Sisters: Awakening somewhat delirious from neural torture, he says "Once upon a time there were three sisters, and they lived in the bottom of a treacle well. Their names were Olga, Masha and Irina."[15]

History[edit]

UK production is almost exclusively from Tate & Lyle. Black treacle - Fowlers and Blackie's both referred to it as treacle (cf Golden Syrup). Tate & Lyle acquired both companies. Treacle (black) before WW2 could be seen served from a barrel and transferred to the customers' container with a 'stick'.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ "treacle, n.", in the Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ "Treacle Origins and Uses at www.recipes4us.co.uk".
  3. ^ a b Oxford Dictionary ISBN 978-1-85152-101-2
  4. ^ "Definition of TREACLE". www.merriam-webster.com.
  5. ^ theriacus, Charlton T. Lewis, Charles Short, A Latin Dictionary, on Perseus
  6. ^ θηριακός, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  7. ^ θηρίον, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  8. ^ Treacle, on Oxford Dictionaries
  9. ^ Heriot p 392
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-13. Retrieved 2014-12-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Gin Brandy Beer and Treacle". www.theoldfoodie.com.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-12-16. Retrieved 2014-12-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ p14, Oxford in English literature: the making, and undoing, of "the English Athens" (1998), John Dougill, University of Michigan Press, ISBN 0-472-10784-4.
  14. ^ Wodehouse, P.G. (3 May 1992). "Comrade Bingo". Jeeves and Wooster. Series 3. Episode 6. Event occurs at 34:13. ITV.
  15. ^ Recap / Doctor Who S13 E4 "The Android Invasion"

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]