With all of the conveniences available to us in our modern world, it’s easy to take things for granted. And, while we try our best to be mindful and give a ‘silent thank-you’ every time we flick a light switch or turn on our A/Cs in the summertime, there is one thing that we tend to take for granted—maple syrup!

Sure, it’s not exactly the thing that we are planning on singing the praises of at our next Thanksgiving dinner, but the sticky sweetener actually has a pretty incredible history. For instance, did you know that before this magical syrup was mass-produced, it actually had to be stored in bulky five pound containers? Not exactly a convenient ingredient!

As expected, no one would be able to successfully pour the gooey stuff without the addition of a handle on the said container. It’s an enlightening fact that brings us to the whole point of this sugary post—why do some of these modern bottles have handles, while others don’t?

The quality is in the handles

If you’re a French toast or pancake aficionado, then you are probably already well aware of the notion that not all syrups are created equal. As a matter of fact, there’s a BIG difference between the plastic bottle variety and the real deal. Cheaper syrups are basically comprised of added sweeteners like corn syrup—not exactly high-brow stuff!

close-up of waffles and syrupTech Insider
Take a quick look in your fridge—does your syrup bottle have handles on it? If it doesn’t, then don’t fret, because it means that you are in good company, as about 70% of Americans actually prefer the plastic bottles.

Now, if you are a purist, then we bet you wouldn’t be seen buying a bottle that doesn’t read ‘100% pure maple syrup’. Along with the fancy label, the glass container probably has at least one teeny-tiny handle.

Believe it or not, these little handles actually have quite the name attached to them—skeuomorphs. No, the word’s not a German insult, even though it does sound a bit like one!

As it turns out, ‘skeuomorph’ comes from Greek origins and is used to describe, not only maple syrup bottles, but also the handles on various types of prehistoric pottery.

Now, we know what you’re thinking—these tiny handles don’t really do a whole lot. In fact, we do our best to avoid these guys at all costs, as even the largest ones tend to be more of a hindrance than a help!

Well, interestingly enough, that’s kind of the point. Adding a small handle has become a sort of symbolic short-hand for ‘Don’t get this confused with the fake stuff’! To put it simply, the grips are kind of like tonsils—you don’t really NEED them.

Bet you didn’t know that your maple syrup is so complex, huh? To learn even more about this sweet tradition, as well as more interesting ‘bonus’ examples of skeuomorphs, be sure to click on the video below. Great—now we’re craving waffles!

What do you think of this interesting nugget of syrup history? What is your favorite brand of syrup? Do you ever use it as an unexpected ingredient in any of your favorite recipes? Tell us all about your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below!