In Praise of Lyle’s Golden Syrup

Lyle's Golden Syrup
Britain’s oldest brand and the only product that I can think of that has a quotation from the book of Judges on it. Lyle’s Golden Syrup is also one of my favourite things to eat. I have it on bread, pancakes, in cakes, biscuits and all sorts of other things. Five minutes ago I ate a Lyle’s Golden Syrup flapjack. Last night I made chocolate fudge with it.

Lyle’s Golden Syrup also brings back all sorts of memories from my childhood. I still vividly remember when Geoff Thomas visited my parents while we still lived in the Republic of Ireland and spun us a wonderful yarn about a transmogrifying mouse and his addiction to Lyle’s Golden Syrup. I must have been under ten at the time. Geoff Thomas was a favourite visitor, as he always gave a lot of attention to us when we were children. When he left I sent a card with a picture of a mouse sucking Lyle’s Golden Syrup through a straw. He wrote back with an extremely funny illustrated poem, which I still have somewhere.

In the constant swirl of new and improved products, where historical continuity is so rare, it is wonderful to have a product that does not feel the need to change its recipe, or have a facelift every few years. When choosing syrup there is no choice; it must be Lyle’s every time. The wealth of choice in the modern supermarket doesn’t always make me feel any better off and it is comforting to know that there are still a few products that we have more than ephemeral connections to. The constant presence of the unchanging Lyle’s Golden Syrup tin in the cupboard in the kitchen and on the table since childhood is reassuring in a world where most products chase off novelty and continually cast off old images like a snake with its skin.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
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5 Responses to In Praise of Lyle’s Golden Syrup

  1. My name is Peter Roberts, and I heartily endorse this post.

  2. Jon says:

    Golden Syrup on toast was much the staple breakfast food in our house. Many people seem amused by such a fact – that syrup should be put on toast – but give it a go… Marvellous

  3. garver says:

    Lyle’s is great stuff. I’ve got a terrific recipe for some kind of Welsh cookie that uses it and no other item is an adequate substitute.

  4. Amanda says:

    Thanks for the article and the new word, Alastair!

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