• 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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Biscotti con Molti Grassi

“Any cakes, biscuits, muffins or pastries to go with your latte madam?”

“Pardon? Oh uh not sure, no I won’t thank you.”

That’s my usual response to the deluge of choice offered to me at 8 o’clock in the morning as grab my morning pick up.

The problem is I look at them and there is not one biscuit that looks like or even reminds me of a biscuit. The Italian ones are thin, break to easily and have no dunking capability whatsoever. They do not even do justice to the coffee, why is that? Why have we become reliant on these thin excuses for a biscuit to give us that sugary taste to take away the bitterness of the coffee, surely coffee is about caffeine and bitterness?

As I sit here writing, the biscuits are kept in glass jars, the shortbreads are wrapped and the biscotti are calling out trying to tempt me with the dream that I am in Italy outside a small cafe looking sultry and sexy whilst eating and sipping my espresso. Whilst in reality I am spilling crumbs down my top and eating the lip gloss that has transfered itself to my biscuit.

When I was at University I gained much pleasure from dunking two Rich Tea biscuits into my coffee. The joy and satisfaction when exact perfect dunking time was achieved and the warmth and softness of the biscuits reaching my lips. My boyfriend at the time just used to stare and shake his head in amusement, or was it bewilderment I never worked it out.

I hope one day that these Italian biscuits, which are inferior in every way, will be replaced by a plate of Rich Tea, so that when I am asked the predictable question in the coffee shop, I will be able to say “Two Rich Tea please I want to dunk them into my latte!

Michelle Wheeler


7 Responses

  1. 2 rich tea buttered together was always a treat in my house growing up. They still give comfort and are the first thing (after plain sponge) that I crave after a tummy bug. Does anyone remember the Thick Rich Tea? Are they still about? I had them when I caught the flu and it nearly turned into pnuemonia – the bigger the illness, the bigger the treat eh?
    I totally agree about the uselessness of these silly ultra thin Italian ‘biscuits’ you get with your coffee in posh cafes. What a waste; I generally give mine to the dog.

  2. In my experience it is best not to even consider eating anything while attempting to look sexy and/or sultry.
    In particular steer clear of Cappuccino (moustache danger), chorizo (too suggestive:also cucumber,unless sliced), over ripe fruit and rollmop herrings.

  3. A slight name change – perhaps to “RiccoTi” and I can see no reason why they shouldn’t sit along side the biscotti, torchetti or ameretti.

  4. Isnt this one of those tricks our continental friends dream up to separate them with their sultry cool continentality and us with our coarse lardy-cake-loving ways? To overcome this we simply MUST pretend biscotti arent stale baguette slices, and feign elegance and detached nonchalance. Perhaps we should stuff tyhem in in one go to avoid crummage? I feel i can speak with some authority on this matter as i have an italian surname. However, those that know me and my rough devon ways may be able to form a fairly solid opposing view in a matter of seconds.

  5. oh hell, i tried to ignore this but i cant. Rich Tea and coffee? what on earth do you think you’re playing at? They arent called Rich Coffee. A duo of Nice biscuits, a magnum of Malted Milks perhaps, a brace of Boasters even, but Rich Tea? What has the world come to.

  6. A slight digression , but above here (between the important stuff and the responses) is a link which I couldn’t help but notice
    “Half of Brits injured by biscuits”…. a cautionary tale which one should not make light of. Perhaps biscuits should carry an “elf &safety” warning

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