• 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.

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Can’t Catch Me

I make my own gingerbread men at Christmas, as well as gingerbread stars, trees and angels. I am known for my gingerbread; I made 100s of gingerbread hearts for the tea and coffee time after my wedding service, they all went and there were only 60 guests. Gingerbread biscuits and I have a lovely relationship, my secret recipe has never failed me and although our oven has been broken for 2 years (blush) I know it would still be stellar if I used it again.

Why is it called Ginger BREAD. I know it isn’t bread, it’s a darn biscuit that even goes soft over time (but still delightfully edible), not stale like a cake, or rock hard like a baguette. I write this for some release, I require reassurance, advice, guidance. I am I wrong – Gingerbiscuit men? Gingerbread men biscuits?

Plus is it evil that I refuse to share my recipe, even with a young mother whose child will only keep quiet in Tesco if he has one in his hand/mouth?

Plus my gingerbread men when crushed brutally make a fabulous base layer for a cheesecake. This brings up a frightening philosophical question : Biscuits can be used to make cakes, why can’t cakes be used to make biscuits???



21 Responses

  1. Why Carrie, surely you can reveal your secrets here? You are amongst friends after all and no-one else need ever know 😉

  2. Ah. I see an opportunity here.
    Stale cakes could be repackaged (when hard) and sold again as biscuits.
    We would then have a whole new genre for people to dip in their tea or give up because they were fattening or to pass around the office. It involves recycling (good and in step with the zeitgeist) and very few extra food miles.
    For example:
    Dundee Crisp
    Mr Kiplings Bakewell Dodgers
    Battenburg Hobnobs
    Victoria Sponge Crunch (except that we may already have that one in Sponge Fingers)
    This is my marketing gift to you, the good people of Britain.

  3. For once, let me shed a little light rather than my usual stirring up of already cloudy waters. I think the term ‘gingerbread’ came about as a bastardisation of the Latin for members of the ginger family ‘ zingiber’, or/as well as the ancient French ‘gingebras’.

    However, i’d hate for this to stop a decent squabble about whether it should even vaguely be considered as a possible bread. Please delete if you fear this maybe so.

  4. Isn’t the interweb a marvellous thing.

    Without it who’d have known that “Bread” isn’t in fact “Bread”. It is, at least in a ginger context, the French or middle-English “Brat” which was a preserved ginger paste.

    Time-wasted reading these blogs isn’t time wasted at all and is providing a timely and much needed educational boost.

  5. I see Mr.D beat me to it with his version of the derivation of the “gingerbread” word. Now all we need is another implausible, Frank Muirish, version of the truth and an episiode of “Call my Bluff” is on the cards.

  6. Another derivative is from Ghingherabradh.
    It is a Farsi word meaning “small spicy fellow”. Originally it referred to boys who sold twists of shredded ginger on street corners.

  7. So there you have it

    1.a bastardisation of the Latin for members of the ginger family ‘ zingiber’

    2. a preserved ginger paste.

    3.a Farsi word meaning “small spicy fellow”.

    Carrie – the choice is yours.- “Call My Bluff”

  8. 4. Tis named after the strawberry blonde cousin of writer Berthold Brecht

  9. I’d never thought about sticking some ginger down my bra. Could get a bit tingly!

  10. oh so much wonderous input – I’m all confuddled. Will have to study the fine research achieved and then comment more coherantly. Migraine today 😦

  11. Also a migraine sufferer…but luckily doesnt seem connected to the common chocolate trigger. Does migraine affect your biscuit selection I wonder? Perhaps you naturally favour a chocolate finger (*makes Kenneth Williams noise/face*) but have to make do with a Fox’s Butter Crinkle Crunch in defernece to the migraine potential?

    This has the makings of a post/scientific enquiry all of its own – ailments and their impact on biscuit selection. In the interests of scientific progress, perhaps anyone whose biscuit selection is compromised by mallardy would be kind enough to let me know (dockyveg@gmail.com) and i’ll attempt to piece together a scientific paper for publication here. Or failing that a dossier. Or perhaps a leaflet. And if all else fails a coupon.

  12. You know I wasn’t able to have chocolate all day yesterday – not a good position for me to be in. Worse still, my migraines give me terrible nausea, so hardly any food at all including biscuits! I shall write to you once this migraine is gone for good, then we can see what tasty morsel I hanker for first. I believe this does require further research, you are a selfless man, giving your time over to such vital studies.

  13. I sacrifice myself for the good of advancing our species, and world peace.

    Interestingly you have brought a second angle to the research – i was intending to concentrate on biscuits that one has to dodge to avoid kicking off a bout of said mallardy, but you raise the ‘interesting’ prospect of a parallel study – biscuits avoided when under the weather.

    *dons cape, retires to the dungeon lab*

  14. Mark D.
    Having been accused of being a pedant more times than I care to mention, I should know better but what in God’s name is “mallardy” .
    Is it perhaps an ailment of the feet (webbed) or Parker’s address to Lady Penelope – I feel we need to know.

  15. I agree with Simon, what is ‘mallardy’, I was afriad to ask, thinking it was a highly technical and scientific term and thus I would show my complete lack of a good education.

    By the way, my nausea is better today and I choose a raisin and oat cookie (the darn cafe didn’t do biscuits in the proper sense). I feel that that was a healthy choice what with the fibre and fruit. Still not ready for chocolate though 😦

    Ideally I would have had a gingerbread man now that my knowledge is so great and I could have been the heart of the coffee break. Especially if I spoke LOUD enough over the music.

    I am drinking peppermint tea (for the tummy) I therefore bring up another question – what is the best drink to have with your biscuit? More research Mark!

  16. The above is all very good and educational, but what about shortbread? neither a bread nor a small, spicy fellow. Most definitely a biscuit.
    i think Mark might mean ‘malady’.

  17. Why Lia, why…I am only coming to terms with the quandry that is gingerbread men when you raise the very important point about shortbread! Another fine mess you got us into! x

  18. P.S. I notice no one has called me a bad name for not giving my recipe out to the young mother. Is it okay to keep these private thing to one’s self? Or do you all secretely love to torture people?

    I think I shall memorise it and take it to the grave, hahahahahahahahahahaha (little crazy laugh)

  19. oooh *double-handedly raises handbag to chin*, you lot of pedants (Lia delightfully excepted). Malady indeed – Ive a duck fetish. Especially when it comes to jokes: Son: dad, there’s a man at the door with a bill. Dad: Dont be silly son, it must be a duck with a hat on.

    I’m here all week. Try the veal.

  20. Best duck joke ever…
    How do you turn a duck into a soul singer?
    Put it in the oven until its Bill Withers.

    Laugh? I nearly split my truss.

  21. By ‘best’ you mean ‘third best’ surely.

    A duck walks into a pharmacy, and asks for lipsalve. The cashier says, “Cash or check?” and the duck says, “Just put it on my bill.”

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