In spending an inordinate and quite unjustified amount of time thinking about biscuits, alongside, it turns out, much of the garden blogging world lately, I have come to realise two important truths about myself.
First: I am a closet chav. You wouldn’t believe it if you met me as I speak quite posh and use long words from time to time. But the choice of biscuits cannot lie.
Second: a lot of my life has been defined, inexplicably but undeniably, by biscuits.
In explanation of the first: I realise that, try as I might, I do not like rich teas or plain digestives, Bath Olivers, Garibaldis, petit beurres, Choco Leibnitz’s or anything with plain chocolate on it. Or anything thin or excessively crunchy. In fact anything remotely civilised or refined.
I like, in the following order:
1: Milk chocolate digestives
2: Milk chocolate Hobnobs
3: Jammie dodgers
4: Custard creams
5. Oreo cookies
6: Those sandwich biscuits with pale (not too crunchy) ginger biscuits on each side and butter cream middles
7: Smarties cookies
8: Maryland choc chip cookies
9: Wagon wheels (and yes they do count)
10: Penguins (ditto)
Actually I like milk chocolate digestives so much I actually hide them from the kids. And my husband.
You see? Not a gram of sophistication among the lot of them. My name is the Constant Gardener, and I Am A Chav.
Second: biscuit-related memories of my life which bubbled up unsolicited, and rather alarmingly numerous, included the following:
– sitting on the dock in Split, Yugoslavia (as it was then) alongside a large rower with very smelly feet, eating a kilo bag of broken, dry biscuits between us (a Yugoslavian brand of Rich Tea if I’m not mistaken) which was all we could buy with the last £1 we had left on an Interrail trip around Europe as students. I think we’d blown the last of our £50 budget for the month on retsina in some sleazy Greek restaurant the night before. How we made it from Yugoslavia back to London on dry biscuits and no money slips my memory.
– my great-aunt and her High Teas. The great-aunt has long departed us, I’m sorry to say, but her teas live on forever in family legend. I remember a long table with not a scrap of tablecloth visible under toppling towers of cakes and meringues and sandwiches and – most miraculous of all – castles of iced home-made biscuits of perfect sweetness, butteriness and crumbliness.
– realising I’d eaten an entire packet of chocolate hobnobs on the way back from the supermarket while at college (about a half-mile walk). It wouldn’t have been so bad had I not already eaten the first packet before leaving to go shopping.
– finding out my stepdad had hidden a packet of chocolate digestives right at the back of the fridge behind a big plastic box full of liver (to throw me off the scent, you see). The worst thing was I nicked some and then put it back in exactly the same place. We carried on in that way for years: I have never confessed to this day, and I still don’t know if he knew I was taking them. And you know the worst bit? I’m doing the same thing to my own kids now. But I know they’re nicking them.
That’s quite enough of that. I’ve got some choccie digestives calling to me from the fridge and it’s nearly the kids’ bedtime. Over and out.
Sally (The Constant Gardener)