• 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.

Remembrance of Past Biscuits

When I was a kid, a lazy Sunday morning would often begin with the biscuit tin. My brother and I woke up, as kids do, long before my parents wanted to get out of bed. And we were hungry, but obviously not yet at an age when we could get our own breakfast. Or maybe it was a ploy on our behalf – because being hungry on a lazy Sunday morning meant I was sent downstairs for the biscuit tin and we would start the day munching biscuits in bed with mum and dad.

My personal favourite at the time was the Custard Cream, a mainstay of British life in the 70s (and since, for some) that’s two rectangles of biscuit sandwiched together with vanilla cream. Since the cream is the best bit, I would separate the two halves and eat the one with least cream stuck to it first.

Sometimes there would be no Custard Creams but there would be Jammy Dodgers – the original ones with both jam and cream in the middle. The jam glues them together quite firmly, so they had to be eaten in one piece.

If it was a bad week, biscuit-wise, then I might be left with the Bourbons. Cocoa-brown biscuits with chocolatey cream were far from being my favourite, but they did meet the cream filling requirement.

On rare occasions there was a biscuit disaster and we were left with the dregs of the biscuit tin. Nice biscuits, which are fondly remembered in our house for being anything but nice, or Rich Tea biscuits, which are completely useless without a cuppa (and even then are only recommended for Extreme Dunkers, due to their tendency to disintegrate if soaked for a second too long. Clumps of soggy biscuit at the bottom completely ruin a cup of tea).

Quite often my return trip to the kitchen was via the garden, leaving out for the birds the crumbs and the less-than-crunchy remains of anything past its munch-by-date. But the shops didn’t open on Sundays back then, so a biscuit tin refill would have to wait.

Emma Cooper

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6 Responses

  1. “If it was a bad week, biscuit-wise, then I might be left with the Bourbons” !!! Are you serious? Isnt this the definition of childhood heaven? Or am i just scarred by my dads love of the awful Blue Riband?

    • I agree entirely on both counts. The Bourbons would always be the first to go in our house. And what is it with Dads and Blue Riband? You’d think they would just save up for an extra week and buy a pack of bloody Penguins.

      Maybe they just liked singing the Blue Riband blues song. And, as if by magic:

      I thank you.

  2. I agree on the naffness of Nice, I could never understand why they were called so.

    However, I’m with Mark and Mr Uku by admitting to a Bourbon preference. Custard Creams – yuk.

  3. I would always prefer a bourbon over a custard cream.
    But a custard creme over a Jammie Dodger.
    Mr Uku you are a legend in your own elevenses to dig out the Blue Riband song. Who is that actor? he looks familiar from some childhood TV series but I can’t quite put my finger on where…
    There have been numerous skirtings around the Blue Riband on this blog – especially from my learned colleague – but no full blown post on the subject as yet.
    Somebody needs to fill that void with wafers of perfect prose.

    • That would be Mike Berry singing the Blue Riband Blues. He also appeared as the father of the children in Worzel Gummage and as Mr Spooner in Are You Being Served. Apparently, he is also the definitive Buddy Holly tribute act and regularly performs for Sir Paul McCartney.
      Despite his representation in the above advert, Mr Berry is quite the musician.
      I really must get out more.
      Bourbon anyone?

  4. One or the other of my parents would always get up at 7.30am and bring everyone a cup of tea and digestive biscuit in bed. This happened whether you wanted it to or not. Being woken early and forced to eat a biscuit when you had a teenage binge-drinking hangover and mouth like a buzzard’s crotch (as we used to say) was not the best way to start the day.

    We used to have tea and digestives at suppertime too so the day was sandwiched between biscuits.

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