Friday the 14th of February is Valentine’s Day and the shops are doing a roaring trade in sweet offerings for loved ones. Ads everywhere are encouraging shoppers to prove their love for the opposite sex by buying cards, stuffed toys and hundreds of mostly heart-shaped sweet temptations.
Our early ancestors regarded sweet foods, such as the odd well-ripened fruit or honeycomb which they extracted with great effort and pain from swarms of angry bees, as a gift of the gods. Sweet food was so scarce that it was afforded a special place in the diet and immediately became associated with special occasions and affection. After all a cave-dwelling woman would know how much her hunter husband loved her when he returned with multiple bee stings triumphantly bearing the golden harvest. So for millennia sweet foods were very rare and associated with a reward for really hard, dangerous work!