• The Tenuous Purpose

    This Blog is built - not, as some might expect, on a flimsy whim but on a strong and single minded principle.

    That principle concerns Biscuits and their position in the world.

    We are really very keen on biscuits.
    As are many of you out there.
    We think.

    We wish to create an archive of Arrowroot, a backlog of Bourbons and a catalogue of Chocolate Fingers. Anybody can contribute an entry - or dispute somebody else's - provided they are not dull.
    Even Americans who perhaps don't really have the heritage of biscuitry that we are fortunate to have here.

    Or maybe they do and we are unaware of the full glory of the cookie.

    We realise that this whole subject is admirably and concisely dealt with by that excellent and unbeatable website A Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down. Our feeble efforts will be as the kicking of a gadfly in the face of their wisdom and experience but we hope that we may have a small contribution to make.

  • Biscuit Encounters on Twitter

  • The Synod of Biscuitry

    James Alexander-Sinclair of Blackpitts
    Gardener, Blogger, Journalist, Lecturer etc, etc. Much of his life is spent loafing around other people’s gardens issuing directives and generally cluttering up the place. However, like the great Mr Kipling, he does (occasionally) make exceptionally good gardens. (Although even Mr Kipling messed up a bit with the Carrot and Walnut Mini Classics.)

    Mark Diacono of Otter Farm
    He does sterling work growing many inappropriate plants in Devon. He dedicates a great deal of time and effort nurturing a plethora of plants that are (mostly) totally unsuited to our climate. His is a life of such extreme eccentric dedication that to start a Blog about Biscuits seems perfectly normal. He treads gently in the footsteps of people like the great William Buckland,a professor of Geology who claimed that he could tell location by tasting the local topsoil.

The Mighty Jaffa Cake

It is an unusual day when I do not eat a packet of Jaffa Cakes.

Not the proprietary McVities brand but Tescos. We have done a great deal of research into this. McVities are too pliant. Sainsbury’s too chewy. Marks and Spencers are just ridiculous: they’re rectangular for goodness sake.

Tescos are pretty perfect. Spongy. Orangey. Chocolatey. Not too sickly.

This is important because a day old Jaffa Cake is a sorry thing. It is like the latter days of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Corrupt and fading.

And a bit stale.

James A-S.

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17 Responses

  1. I’ve never really got on with Jaffa Cakes. I realise this leaves me in a very lonely group of people, but it also makes me a little nervous. I’ve nearly always come round to the things I dont like. Van Morrison is a case in point. At 16 it seemed impossible that anyone could think Van was THE Morrison rather than Jim. Then I heard Into The Mystic and the world turned. Then even his shit albums sounded good. I maybe a low sugar moment away from Jaffa obsession.

  2. How do you eat yours?

    I nibble off the spongy bit first. Then all the chocolate. And then let the orangey bit melt in my mouth.

    Very slowly.

  3. This simply can not go uncommented upon. May dear James, a Jaffa Cake is as stated, a CAKE. This issue has even gone to court – biscuits are taxed, cakes are not, as biscuits are considered a luxury (which they are). My friend, if we are to embark on a blog about biscuits, we must write about biscuits. I am aware that said Jaffa Cakes are found in the biscuit isle but, no! they are not biscuits. The irony is profound, I know.

    P.S. I too much prefer the Tesco own brand – yummmmy xx

  4. My dearest husband has told me that further evidence may be necessary. Therefore…..in court it was proven that biscuits go soft over time, cakes go stale and crumbly. Thus giving us the legal difference.

  5. Carrie,unwittingly perhaps, you have created an oasis in my mind, a place where life is utterly perfect, a place where aqua green waters lap at the silver sands and a small fire cooks freshly caught fish, a place known as the Biscuit Isle. I want to live there. Now.

  6. No, no I dream of this place as well. I like to pretend it exists whenever I am in the supermarket. The biscuits all arranged before me transport me to that fabulous oasis too, far from the crying children, the trolley to the back of the leg and people in general.

    By the way, Jaffas are still CAKES!

  7. I have just had an even more wonderful idea – all biscuits are free range in Biscuit Isle. A happier biscuit makes for a happier biscuit eating experience all round. Just think of the joy to see biscuits of all creeds and colours leaping like new born lambs in the Isle. Go on drift out into this zen like place and calm your mind for a moment. Free range biscuits.

  8. A Jaffa Cake is not a cake.
    I don’t care what the High Courts or the House of Lords or even the Supreme Court of Bloody Lothlorien says: it is a biscuit.
    The evidence is as follows (and here i reproduce a comment I made on the excellent Otter Farm Blog).
    The Difference between A Chocolate Bar, A Cake and A Biscuit
    These are the definitive, simple, undebatable facts.

    It is easily possible to eat an entire chocolate bar (assuming standard size, not gargantuan airport Toblerones).

    One needs to be quite hungry to eat an entire packet of biscuits (except Jaffa Cakes – see footnote 1)

    It is well nigh impossible to eat a whole cake (except mini rolls – see footnote 2)

    I think that will stand up in court. (See Footnote 3).

    Footnote 1: Jaffa Cakes need to be eaten by the packetful as they do not last until the next day. In this they are like oysters but without the aphrodisiac qualities.

    Footnote 2: Obviously miniature versions of anything (mini rolls, cupcakes or individually wrapped slices of cherry fruit cake) do not count.

    Footnote 3: Very greedy/hungry people are excluded from this convention as they cannot be trusted to share with everybody else.

    So let there be no more talk of Jaffa Cakes not being biscuits.

  9. http://www.unitedbiscuits.com/our-brands.php?rnd=BMZk%2BFMIraw8Vs6VCg0xRWFnUUoqiuyWQ2OkFp7ULQZfV0x1V%2BHrL%2BHNe9wpr8CD

    Above is the offical Jaffa Cake page on United Biscuits website. Below a place where you may fit in perfectly James.

    http://www.ilovejaffacakes.com/

    I feel happy to leave the argument and declare that they are just plain delectable and that is all that truly matters. A vitural handshake is extended. x

    (But they are cakes.)

  10. Strawberry Jaffa Cakes??
    Now that really is an abomination.

    They are not cakes; nobody every had a Jaffa Cake to celebrate their birthday/wedding/christening/leaving a job etc, etc
    Unless they were very mean.
    Or found a really big one somewhere.

  11. So really, it’s not how big it is, it’s what you do with it that counts?!!

    Personally I have had Jaffa Cake cheesecake, what do you think of that? Not a whole one, a large slice and I believe it was in a resturant for someone’s birthday…. ponder on J.

    Strawberry Jaffa Cakes however I must agree are WRONG, I refuse to acknowledge their existence. x

  12. Jaffa cakes are evil and must be punished. And they’re cakes. Honestly, can you imagine dunking a Jaffa cake? The mass would slide off the weird sponge cup and gracelessly slump to the bottom of the mug.

  13. Just discovered my eldest likes jaffa biscuits. Never before in his 18 years has he expressed this opinion. At last I can buy the without fear of having to eat the whole packet

  14. oh oh, James out numbered, I believe we on ‘Encounters With Remarkable Biscuits’ are of the opinion that cake = cake my friend x

  15. I have enjoyed this blog.
    I particularly appreciated your likening of the Jaffa cake to the waning of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Quite so.
    The initial creamed mint savour of the early stages of a Viscount often puts me in mind of the Siege of Arras, 1654, for reasons I do not have leisure to go into, while the decorous disarray of a recently dunked ginger cream irresistibly conjures visions of the fall of Constantinople.

    Contrarily, whenever the Treaty of Versailles is mentioned I develop an instant craving for several jammy dodgers, though as far as I know they have no formal connections with Alsace-Lorraine.

    I am sure I am not alone in these convictions and congratulate you for creating a ‘forum’ in which they might be discussed.

  16. Thank you JimmyDodger
    Interesting that you should mention the Siege of Arras.
    You will remember that in one of the scenes in Cyrano de Bergerac, Roxanne tries to persuade Christian to eat.
    After he refuses bread, chicken and Burgundy she finally offers him “a biscuit dipped in Muscatel”
    Cyrano, you will also remember, was present at the Siege of Arras.
    Biscuits are everywhere.

  17. Apropos cake=cake. If this logic is adopted as true, then most Geordies eat cake instead of sandwiches of doorstop proportions.

    I am of course referring to this toweringly important regional delicacy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stottie_cake

    I rest my case m’lud.

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