• 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.

A Biscuit or Mortar

They are a good source of calcium, iron and zinc for healthy growth and development. So says the promo on the website for Arrowroot biscuit/cookies.  These are even called biscuits in the States, being a little too hard, read like concrete, to fit into the cookie category.

When it was noticed while reading the sidebar of this fabulous bit of literaryness that The Tenuous  Purpose of this blog includes wishing for  an archive of Arrowroot, a little tinkling bell of remembrance rang out in the growing out cinnaberry cerebrum.  Arrowroots were recommended by the paternal grandmother of our first born child, Chickenpoet when she grew to be able to sit in the wooden high chair stuffed with pillows to keep her little self upright, as she was teething.  Sore red gums needed something soothing and nutritious to gnaw on as the pearly whites broke through.  One of these store bought baked goodies was placed on the tray within reach of grasping little fingers.  She spied it, grabbed it and straight into the slobbering mouth it went.  The idea seemed to be that since this cookie was tough as a brick it would not break off and choke the little darling even with copious amounts of saliva digesting it in hand. True enough, there was no need for a Heimlich Maneuver.  However after a thorough cleansing of said child and a little rock a bye to dreamland, the fancy wooden high chair neglected to clean itself of the Arrowroot paste with which it was now covered.

Fast forward a few days.  Since the high chair was not really used for feeding yet, the babe was still on a liquid diet at this tender age, the Arrowroot goo had been allowed to set up and cure, becoming a nearly permanent fresco on the heirloom quality chair.  When finally it was discovered that the chair’s previously smooth tray, seat, back and legs were now bumpy as a gravel path in the garden, the task began to chisel it back to pristine condition.  After all, this was to be used several times a day by the precious person in our care, it had to be perfect.  Ah the naivete of a young mother concerning her first born.  After many attempts trying to clean the chair with the standard soapy arsenal, it was taken outdoors for a spray with the garden hose.  Wetting down the entire thing to soften the biscuit sculptures and scraping each surface down with a plastic cake icing tool did the trick.

The three subsequent offspring were allowed to chew on rubber toys, ice filled teething rings and their own hands and fingers.  No Arrowroot was offered up, for with four to keep up with there was no longer the luxury of time to run the high chair through the car wash.


Frances Garrison

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4 Responses

  1. Had my own brain not been fogged with first time mother distractions, I might have remembered this special quality of Arrowroot biscuits and used them for mortar when making Gingerbread houses…They would have held together beautifully. Hmm…I wonder if the special mixing technique that our children employed made the mixture stronger! gail PS My son really did love that co-biscuit!

    • Gingerbread houses! I have never made one, but that goop scaped from the high chair tray would have been the perfect glue. Perhaps it would begin the digestive process on the walls though! HA

  2. i was tripping along the internet wondering what people did with arrowroot cookies, other than eat them straight…i didn’t quite consider using them as paste!

    this precautionary tale really made me smile – what a lovely memory to have 🙂

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