• 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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Different Koek *

For decades the British have succeeded in raising the collective continental eyebrow for at least a fraction of an inch or so with their obsession of all things biscuit-y. It is only thanks to this formidable blog, recently set up by yours and mine favourite hat stand, that all has been revealed concerning this thus far inexplicable fascination for the humble biscuit.

Allegedly it’s not so much a complete British immersion in the nice cuppa with a biscuit thingy, but rather a case of not knowing your koekie from your biscuit, or cracker as the case may be. Many Brits apparently call all things crumbly and yummy a biscuit. Poor deluded things!

A case in point is our dear Sock, who is under the erroneous impression that a TUC is a biscuit. Of course not, it’s a cracker, the clue is in its name: The Ultimate Cracker.  Some nasty fiend must have been pulling the wool over our award winning Sock’s eyes and led her up the garden path in a most despicable way.

Such a shame that so many Brits are labouring under the delusion that koekies and/or crackers are biscuits. This blog has flushed out several of these rabid biccy-istas who sadly mistake koekies such a Jammie Dodgers for biccies. It’s frightfully embarrassing and of a cringe-worthiness to the power of cheese to witness their huge lack of understanding, but that’s unfortunately the way the koekie crumbles.

In The Netherlands people are schooled from a very early age in the immensely important subject of koekie, cracker and biscuit lore. Imbibed with mother’s milk comes that superior and vast knowledge that helps us to instantly identify what’s what. No Dutch person will ever mistake a koekje for a biscuit or a biscuit for a cracker. And frankly, non-Dutch can learn this difficult skill too if they are prepared to work hard, very hard.

As a warm-hearted and kindly person in possession of a huge brain and also being of the Dutch persuasion yours truly is frightfully suitable, not to mention hugely qualified, to teach those ignoramuses who cannot tell their biscuits from their koekjes, a vast amount of KBC knowledge.

So sit up straight and pay attention, and yes that goes for you in the back too!

First up the difference between a biscuit and a cracker: all things that look biscuit-y but are savoury are crackers. Sorted in one fell swoop!

Distinguishing between a biscuit and a koekie is slightly more complicated but if you will apply yourself diligently, it won’t be impossible to reach breathtakingly ethereal heights in koekie wisdom and you will be able to crank up your inner smugness level a few notches at the same time as well.

The first step in determining whether it’s a koekje or a biscuit:  a koekje is served with a cup of coffee, a biscuit is served with a cuppa tea. The second and final step consists of one burning question: is it dunkable? Biccies are and koekjes are not. Here endeth the lesson.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen

* The correct spelling of the word cookie is koek, koekje or koekie as it is a Dutch word that has been frightfully mangled in the past by those who surely must have failed even the simplest of spelling bees.


8 Responses

  1. Interesting – in an English way.

  2. All that koekje stuff…no wonder we decided to call them Biscuits.

  3. uuummm, my tiny brain is struggling with the biscuit = dunking, cookie = no dunking. I could have sworn I’d dunked a cookie before. I’m off for a lie down. You Dutch are a cut above!

  4. What about those digestives you get in cracker assortments with your Christmas cheeseboard? They’re sweet, but you put cheese on them so, they’re a cracker?
    Ooop, no, bugger, my brain’s on the floor again.

  5. Always wisdom from the netherlands…never nonsense. Excelling at darts and biscuitry, who could ask for more?

  6. We mustn’t forget that they also created Dutch Ovens.

  7. Thanks for clearing up the mystery, YE. Do you have any explanation for the name biscuit to refer to a fluffy baked good in the Colonies? Is it the Dutch influence versus the English? Were the French involved? Please help to clafify, oh huge brained one.

  8. In my former colony a scone is a scone is a scone, not a biscuit. There’s no accounting for those on the far end of the Atlantic.

    Also, having endured years of compulsory lessons on Afrikaans, which is old-fashioned Dutch gone native, I can say that koek, as I know it, is cake. A Victoria sponge, glorious thing of heaven, is a koek. Koekie or koekje are diminutives of koek.

    You could also say, Ek sal koek bring (I’ll bring cake) as kind of collective reference to the kinds of things one would contribute to a church bunfight.

    In other contexts, koek is slang for what my mother would call a front bottom.

    I thought I’d make some butter biscuits last night but because I was too lazy to go upstairs and find a recipe, I made one up. Adding too much flour and extra baking powder resulted in boring cookies – no crunch – that needed jazzing up with some icing.

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