Locutionary Confectionary

At the 2007 retreat, the Bugle staff decided to become your best-in-class source for information about the Irish and British sugar- and syrup-oriented products. The BB Procurement Department obtained the first sample for 2008: Fry’s Turkish Delight.

The wrapper for Fry’s Turkish Delight presents itself as a typical, old-fashioned British candy bar. The wrapping promises the intensely sugary quality that seems to hold an extraordinary appeal for Angles and Saxons (and the Irish too). The motto, “Full of Eastern Promise,” is odd. Does Fry make good on the promise? Is it appropriate to talk about “Eastern” (presumably as opposed to “Western”) flavours in the 21st century? Fry may be a bit of an orientalist.

Inside the wrapper lies a medium-brown chocolate rectangle that tastes like ordinary chocolate. It’s a little too big to eat in one bite. Biting off half the bar leaves its gooey innards exposed, frysturkishdelight.jpgwith teeth marks slowly melting back into the mass. The chocolate skin is barely a millimeter thick.

The innards are the Turkish Delight from which the delicacy derives its name. It is a block of goo that resembles plastic explosive more than food. It appears that the Ottoman Turks generated a gelatenous substance of supersaturated sucrose, perhaps by following ancient Greek methods re-discovered during the Islamic Renaissance. The strangely solid, yet sticky result could be delicious, or it could be a derivative of napalm. [The author's implicature, which advances a harmful stereotype, should not be taken as an endorsement of the historically suspect idea of a clash of civilizations, nor does the Bakker Bugle endorse the suggestions herein. -- Editor]

So I had taken my first bite of Turkish Delight. After my fight-or-flight instinct subsided, I paused to consider the remaining part of the treat. The delicate supporting structure of chocolate was ruined, and the lightest pressure of my fingers — just enough to keep the candy from slipping to the floor — was smashing the Delight into an amorphous wad. My brain protests, but I have no choice. I must eat the remainder or be condemned to hours alternating between washing with caustic soaps, and walking around, fingers akimbo, as if I received a fresh manicure of some misbegotten nail-polish glacĂ©.

With the second and final bite, I discovered that this goodie has a flavor as well as a texture. It resembles, slightly, the generic fruit flavor one finds in American hard candies. The wrapper told me that Turkish Delight consists of sugar, gelatin and rose water. There was something natural about the taste, unlike the supposedly “fruit-flavored” Now-and-Later. But I don’t know how a rose tastes. The purply gel in my mouth didn’t taste like fruit, and it didn’t smell like a grandmother’s perfume, so “rose water” didn’t help me much. I’ll assume that this confection’s origins are botanical, even if a process rendered it into something that cannot be one of God’s own creations.

After two bites, I found the solid-gel texture intriguing, and the taste was compelling. Now I want more. I can’t recommend it to you, and I can’t say that it tastes good. But I find myself thinking about the Eastern Promise several times an hour. Fry, you are a cruel candy-pusher, but you are also the exotic Mata Hari of the bonbon-industrial complex!

5 Comments to “Locutionary Confectionary”

  1. Katherine said...
    18 January 2008

    I always thought Turkish Delight was something C.S. Lewis just made up to make Edmund sound like an ass.

  2. Jaime B said...
    18 January 2008

    Wow – me too! I was having a “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” flashback to 3rd grade when I heard that story for the first time and Turkish Delight made an impression on me. Of course, in that case, I do believe ol’ Mr. Lewis was provoking a “clash of civilizations”. See his novel “The Horse and His Boy” as a case in point.

  3. Dave said...
    19 January 2008

    Yeah, it doesn’t sound like something that would be worth selling out Mr. Toppins (or your brothers and sisters) for.

    Bring us more of this, Will. This was good stuff. So, what we’ve learned about Ireland so far from your blog is that the Irish have been repressed by the British, the weather is terrible, and their candy resembles a gelatanious mass that has no taste…. No wonder my ancesters got on that boat….

  4. Keely said...
    21 January 2008

    I think this could be a good project for the staff, learning how to make Turkish Delight. I see this as your door to millions upon your return to the U.S. Although, I too am perplexed by the rose water. I hope this is before it turns brown.
    http://www.englishteastore.com/history-turkish-delight.html

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