Monday, November 5, 2007

"Gunpowder treason? Maybe it's something you eat, like treacle toffee."

It's Guy Fawkes Day. I've never lived in Britain, but I grew up reading British children's literature, so I'm no stranger to the holiday. In fact, there's a story about Guy Fawkes Day in one of my favorite series, the Sam Pig collection by Allison Utterly.

Sam Pig lives in a cottage in the woods with his brothers and sisters and their guardian, Brock the Badger. The stories read like The Wind in the Willows with more whimsy. They were great reading for a young glutton (most British children's books are, curiously enough) because the characters are always eating the most exotic and delectable-sounding things.*

In the story about Guy Fawkes Day (it's in the book "Sam Pig and Sally," if anyone's curious), Sam Pig and his family build a bonfire, set off fireworks, and make treacle toffee. I have a fascination for burnt sugar in all its forms, and I always thought that treacle toffee must be particularly sticky and delicious.

I think it's something about the alliteration and the e's. Go ahead, try saying it. "Treacle toffee." It even sounds sticky.

I briefly considered making treacle toffee, but it appears that getting hold of treacle on short notice might be difficult in this country. The food dictionary informs me that treacle is a by-product of the sugar refining process, the sibling of golden syrup (used in golden syrup dumplings and Anzac biscuits, both much-loved favorites of Australian cuisine) and a cousin to molasses. Though a quick search on Google tells me that indeed, molasses may be substituted if treacle is not available, "molasses toffee" just doesn't have the same ring.

Treacle toffee might be better left to my imagination. I think that as far as Guy Fawkes celebrations go, I'll just re-read my Sam Pig books instead.

*I am not alone in this opinion. See this post at A Finger in Every Pie.


Solomon said...

It might be best left at that. I recall a comment from somewhere or other to the effect that the commenter's enjoyment of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" was much diminished after actually tasting turkish delight and discovering that it is, in fact, not really anything to write home about.

Nathaniel said...

I've seen golden syrup on sale here too, so if you want to try that might be closer.

adele said...

Hmm, maybe. But that's good to know if I give in and bake Anzac biscuits in April.