• 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.

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  • 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.

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TUC In Your Socks

The Sock is not a great biscuit eater being more of a cake or cookie girl.  This is in part due to the knowledge that many years ago some student friends worked in a biscuit factory and told her what went into the mix – and it was a lot worse than the story everybody’s Dad tells them about the black bits in Garibaldi biscuits being, in fact, dead flies.  The Sock was unconvinced of the veracity of these reports until working for a few months in a Public Health department she entertained herself by reading the files of what some poor punters had found in their food.  Put it this way, the aprés-pub curry house nicknamed The Alsatian Grill was a bit to close to the er.. boneo.  (Nevertheless after several pints of scrumpy the chicken and mushroom half and half* tasted good enough for the ill-educated palate of the 1970s.)

The Public Health files were so fascinating that the Sock eventually got the sack, it being the only bit of the job she showed any interest in.  Apart from the jars of cockroaches that the Rat-Catcher (later re-named the Pest Control Officer) used to bring in to the office and a locust found in a tin of pineapple chunks, there were food and restaurant horror stories enough to put Weight Watchers out of business.  One which sticks in the Sock’s psyche detailed the horror of a customer who, whilst masticating on the delights of a T-bone at a local Steakhouse, had kicked off her shoes.  Unfortunately a mouse had crept into one and expired leaving the customer squealing when she realised why she couldn’t jam her toes back into the pointy bit.  There have been times when a meal has been so orgasmically exquisite that the Sock too has kicked off her shoes in ecstasy – but now she always remembers to check for decomposing wildlife before donning them again. The file on the rat in the bread loaf, which didn’t become too apparent until the slices with whiskers and half the head had been eaten, was also memorable.

As usual the Sock has digressed.. where were we.. biscuits!  The Sock is quite addicted to TUC biscuits.  According to Wiki-answers TUC stands for The Ultimate Cracker.  This begs the questions as to whether a cracker is actually a biscuit at all although it is certainly not a cake. The Sock never travels without a pack of TUC biscuits joining the Happypeefrog, sporks and anti-swine-flu wipes that have a permanent place in the glove box.  TUC are a touring holiday must have – despite searching the backwaters of Australia the Sock was unable to find them although interestingly there were a profusion of very good cupcake shops in the most out-of-the-way places.  Europe is better served and TUC are available in paprika flavour or, in Italy, olive flavour – so pretentious!

* half and half refers to half chips and half rice a popular order with late night curries.  When the Sock first moved from the sticks to cosmopolitan Brighton she ordered “half and half” at an Indian restaurant. The waiter said “Oh – you must be from Wales!”

Arabella Sock

15 Responses

  1. Who would have known that half and half was a Welsh thing? Aren’t we great?

    An English friend of mine was amazed that I didn’t order chips with my Chinese meal a little while ago saying: “all Welsh people order chips with their Chinese”. I forgot that we had such rules when ordering food! How dreadfully rude of me!

    Anyway, back to biscuits. TUC doesn’t qualify. Crackers are out there on their own and maybe you should dedicate a blog to them.

    James and Mark I’m still waiting for my invitation to guest post on my Jammie Dodger addiction.

  2. I beg to differ, Ryan.
    Crackers are perfectly acceptable.
    As Commissar I will brook no argument i that direction.
    That is the final word !

  3. Arabella, where do you stand on the Tuc sandwich, with that strange “cheesy” concoction in the middle?

  4. I often wondered, in those days before Google, what TUC stood for. I rather assumed that they were something to do with Trades Unions and that was why we never had them at home.
    I think I got the impression that my mother rather disapproved of them: like the Co-Op.
    And Angel Delight.

  5. I always see crackers as savoury and biscuits as sweet. But if the commissar disagrees then who am I to differ.

    I wouldn’t dunk one in my tea though! 😉

  6. A bit of (super)market research direct from a provincial Tesco. Probably not statisically viable since it was only one store but anyway here we go.

    TUC are located in the aisle marked SAVOURY BISCUITS. Ergo incontravertably a biscuit.

    Jaffa Cakes are located alongside other ‘sweet’ biscuits such as dodgers & digestives. Again a biscuit

    Wagon Wheels are located with general confectionary, bars of chocolate etc. and their place in the genus biscuit must, at least in the Tesco shelf stackers mind, therefore be in doubt.

    p.s. to be sure of my facts, (and I know in hindsight my actions may seem a little odd) I took a few photographs whilst shopping, much to Mrs. S’s chagrin.
    It hadn’t occurred to me that this just isn’t the “done thing”. I can’t remember the last time so much attention had been given to me let alone in a supermarket.

  7. At the risk of sounding mean spirited isn’t it rude to ask for an invitation?

    And whilst I’m being chippy about things – a Jaffa Cake is a cake – the clue is in the name.

    Added to which the Courts have shown this to be the case – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaffa_Cakes

  8. The Courts are terribly, terribly wrong.
    (See Jaffa Cake Theorem under The Mighty Jaffa Cake, subsection: Comments)

  9. I would suspect you are right GM. It is rude to ask for an invitation. Maybe I should rephrase the comment to: I would like to contribute on the subject of Jammie Dodgers? Have I committed another faux pas? lol

    On the subject of Jaffa Cakes I actually dont care for a classification of cake or biscuit I’m just astounded that they contain no orange!! How amazing!


  10. Let’s talk about me…

    I would like to distance myself from the accusation of being Welsh. I merely lived there for my first 18 years but my parents were from Yorkshire making me some sort of curious hybrid who never fitted in anywhere.

    HappyM the TUC with the cheese in are an abomination! If I was stuck in the middle of the outback and that was all there was available I would have to scrape the cheese off with a knife and feed it to a passing wallaby.

    Sainsbury’s also hides the TUC biscuits away from the sweet biscuits but I can never remember where they are. Either that or they keep moving them around to confuse me.

  11. I have just returned from MY tesco extra and TUC crackers were under the sign – Crackers. Different from the Chocolate Biscuits and lastly in the ISLE, Biscuits. We in Northern Ireland do not accept the cracker = biscuit OR the cake=biscuit idea. But as an Northern Irish person I am all about reconcilation and therefore will not mention these terrible, horrendous mistakes again.

  12. TUCs are defintely a savoury biscuit – in this house we eat sweet biscuits pre-watershed and savoury biscuits post watershed. This is not due to any adult content thereof but simply because savoury is a marvellous accompaniment to a chilled glass of something child-numbing of an evening.

    Also, Waitrose put them in the biscuit aisle and I will have NOTHING said against Waitrose. It is my happy place.

  13. We are without Waitrose in our fair land. Pity me.

  14. Garden Monkey,
    The law is an ass! I’m glad the voice of reason prevails when it comes to Jaffa Cakes.
    Following your reasoning what would you make of an oat cake?

  15. In The Netherlands we have the ordinary TUC (salted), with cheese (not to be confused with the TUC cheese sandwich horror), paprika or bacon flavour. Imagine my shock when I found that in Italy they have olive flavour as well. Bummer!

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