Exercise 3 — A Taste of Yesteryear

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For questions 1-15 read the text about some traditional British staples from the pantry. Use the root of the words given with the relevant number to form a word that fits the space.

The Taste of Yesteryear

We take a trip down memory lane with a nostalgic look at the staples of a British pantry

The .......... (1. endure) popular traditional Sunday roast aside, British cuisine has – to resoundingly good effect – accepted influences from across its one-time Empire, Europe and the rest of the world. But a quick glance inside any self-respecting British pantry or kitchen cupboard still yields much in the way of history and, indeed, nostalgia.

What larder worth its salt does not contain a tin – or its modern-day successor, a squeezy bottle – of Lyle’s Golden Syrup? That green and golden tin, whose lid requires a spoon to winch it off, may appear simply to contain molten sugar, but the sweet stuff has a rich history of its own that dates back to 1881.

That was the year that businessman Abram Lyle founded his sugar .......... (2. refine) on the banks of the Thames, where the river snakes through the east of the capital. There, as part of the sugar cane refining process, he produced what equated to liquid gold, both literally and financially: rich golden syrup that had the grocers of the capital clamouring for a tonne a week of the stuff that its producer affectionately named ’goldie’, delivered in wooden casks.

Today, as you reach for the instantly .......... (3. recognise) tin for a sugar hit, note the logo’s lions and bees from the Old Testament – and the slogan ’Out of the strong came forth sweetness’, an allusion that comes courtesy of Lyle’s deep religious .......... (4. believe).

Golden syrup, as well as having its own historic narrative, has also featured in significant historic events. It accompanied Captain Scott on his ill-starred Antarctic mission in 1910, its tin and contents still intact when his stores were discovered decades later in 1956; and its brief .......... (5. replace) of the metal tin with cardboard during the First World war helped the war effort in its own way, since all of the country’s metal resources were directed to the Front Line.

Thanks to its unrivalled golden .......... (6. good), by 1922, Lyle’s Golden syrup had garnered a much-coveted Royal Warrant, bestowed by the .......... (7. presume) sweet-toothed George V. Subsequently, it has retained the accolade and remained ever more in royal favour.

No British cupboard could reasonably be considered complete without a good supply of tea – and few brands can compete with Twinings for pedigree. Yet, had it not been for a .......... (8. recede) in the 17th century, things might have been very different.

The Twining family hailed from Gloucestershire, where they were employed as weavers and millers. In the last quarter of that century, however economic .......... (9. turn down) led Daniel Twining to exchange the family’s rural .......... (10. exist) for London in 1684. By 1706, Daniel’s son Thomas Twining, having had a taste of business working for the East India Company merchant, had acquired Tom’s Coffee House just off the Strand.

Although the Twinings story began with different form of caffeine, Tom’s began to extend its offering to the ………… (11. new) fashionable – and then very rare – tea, recognising that the drinking of tea was all the rage among the rich. Eventually tea, as .......... (12. oppose) to coffee, became the focus of the business, as Thomas began selling his blends beyond his premises to other coffee houses and the aristocracy.

After Thomas death, he was succeeded first by his son Daniel, and subsequently Daniel’s wife Mary in 1762, who successfully continued her husband’s work exporting Twinings tea to America. But it was perhaps, their son Richard whose legacy is most evident in Britain today.

In 1784, Richard was chairman of the London Tea Dealers at a time when smuggling was endemic. Richard’s great influence and innovation was felt when persuaded Prime Minister William Pitt to bring in the Commutation Act of 1784, which cut tea taxes and thus made what is now seen as this nation’s favourite drink .......... (13. afford) for all.

But what is a cup of tea without an .......... (14. company) biscuit (whether you dunk or not, we’ll leave to your discretion)? Fox’s Biscuits are a quintessentially British brand with a heritage to match. The makers of the famous Rocky, Echo and Crunch Creams spent their nascent days at 17 Whitaker Street, a terrace house in Batley in West Yorkshire in 1853.

The company’s origin was humble, having been founded by one Michael Spedding, whose chief ambition was to produce ’eatables’ to sell at fairs across northern England (it was his daughter’s marriage to Fred Ellis Fox that lend the brand its illustrious name). While Fox’s biscuits are eaten up and down the country in their hundreds of thousands, the company has never forgotten its roots: its bakery remains in Batley all these years later.

Next time you raid the larder – whether it’s for Colman’s Mustard, which was created in Norwich in the 19th century by philanthropist and .......... (15. equal) Jeremiah Colman, who used the proceeds to help his workers, or for Bovril, invented in the 1870s by John Lawson Johnston, and used to feed Napoleon III’s troops in the Franco-Prussian war – take the time to digest its history, as well as the contents of the tin.

Words Rose Bateman
From Britain magazine Sept 2018

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