• 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.

Gold: Always Believe In Your Soul

I loved Gold Bars, back when I was still wearing sparkly aquamarine batwing jumpers from C&A and listening to The Housemartins (circa 1985, roughly). They were the Caramac of the biscuit world*: creamy, caramelly chocolate without, in the symbolic bullion shape with the world “GOLD” stamped on the top, in case you were in any doubt, then a perfectly crisp and plain biscuit within. Do not, however, call this outer coating white chocolate: it has its own distinct personality which has been compared to solid custard.

At the time the political significance of the Gold Bar wasn’t considered – it was a post-tea treat to be enjoyed while sitting on the brown velour sofa watching the terrifying Chocky (anyone remember that?). But, with the benefit of hindsight, it is my thesis that the McVities Gold Bar is the emodiment of 1980s Thatcherism. Think about it: one is being asked to consume gold.

I haven’t eaten a Gold Bar since circa 1990 and I don’t intend to. It’s not just the jarring undertones of consumerism gone mad that it imparts, it’s the fear that it won’t live up to my memories. I tried a Wagon Wheel recently and the scales fell from my eyes: the giant, delicious biscuit of my youth had been transformed into a sickly circle of hell. So I’ll stick with my happy thoughts of gnawing off the outside of a Gold Bar then nibbling on its innards. Heaven.

*Don’t start arguing about whether it is or isn’t a biscuit. It clearly is, along with Penguins and Clubs. See this discussion for more confirmation

Jane Perrone

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6 Responses

  1. Fabulous basis for a thesis, very inventive and obviously something of sociological significance. Unfortunately the biscuit in question completely eludes me, I suppose I was 6 at the time you were talking about but surely that isn’t a good enough reason. Did my parents not educate me fully on the wide array of biscuit-y choice out there? Or did they simply hate Maggie and everything she stood for, I fear I shall never know.

  2. Ahh, the 80s. My most hated of decades.
    I only barely remember the Gold Bar. I thought I recalled how we used to rub the top of the unwrapped biscuit to make the word GOLD show through the foil. I imagined our laughter as we showed off our “real” gold bars to our friends and family.
    Then I suspected that I might have been thinking about Club biscuits and, in fact, have never had a Gold Bar.
    Then I got sad and went away to eat dry crackers which, owing to an unfortunate oversight on my part, is all I have in.
    Bother.

  3. Oh dear, Mr Uku, that is sad.

    I found Gold biscuits this afternoon when I went out to get a little something for lunch. They look and sound very unappealing. I did not part with my £1.85, I got Rockys instead, the caramel ones for 68p. Happy me.

  4. Now i finally understand why we never had such things in our house and i only caught glimpses by peering enviously into other people’s lunchboxes while chewing on my wholemeal bread and hummus sandwiches. It was a political statement.
    I feel quite proud of my mum!

  5. This one passed me by, though I do remember Caramac.
    What on earth were they made of?

  6. Caramac ingredients: tree sap and icing sugar. Enjoy!

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