• 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.

Nice to meet you. And what do you do? ….

‘Networking’ is a necessary evil of the business world. Sometimes it can be interesting, with great people and topics, but it can also be dreadfully dull. Different faces, same conversations.

So imagine my response when a friend of time confessed that when he attends a networking event that is far from enthralling, he changes tack to make things more interesting.

When asked his profession, he replies, ‘Me? Well, I’m a biscuit designer.’

Imagine the faces. Disbelief, wonder, excitement…interest.

I laughed so hard when he told me my diaphragm ached for the next day, but then I began to wonder about biscuit designers – they have to exist – somewhere. I sort of imagine them in a kind of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ invention room, surrounded by weird and wonderful ingredients, toppings and a myriad of shaped cutters.

And because I am a designer, it also made me look at the design of biscuits generally.

Why are most round as surely this is one of the most wasteful shapes when they are being punched out? Why are some only found in the round whilst others are both rectangular and round (like the Rich Tea)? Are they supposed to fulfil different functions? Are cream filled biscuits just wrong or bloody good value as you can overlook the fact with each helping you are actually eating two biscuits plus the filling?

Then I began to think about the biscuit I would design.

Would it be crumbly or well structured? Embossed? Any icing? Chocolate? Shape? Target audience? Calories per biscuit?

Well, despite being brought up to not play with me food, I would create an interactive biscuit experience. They would be packaged in a recycled card box for ease of delivery and protection, with minimal text, so you can scribble ideas for your creations on the box itself. The biscuits inside would be a series of shapes – some solid, some notched, some with holes – designed such that you could create your own edible 3D model before consuming the lot.

Of course, there would be no chocolate, as this would melt and disrupt the creative process, but some would have shiny hard and coloured icings which would allow interesting colour juxtaposition in the model.

You could even run a monthly competition on the biscuit’s website for the best ‘thing’ uploaded….

And what would I call them?  Creatives? Biscuit Blocks? Who knows – but remember – you saw them here first…

Claire Potter

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7 Responses

  1. Isn’t being a biscuit designer a bit like being a new garden tool designer? All the best biscuits/tools have already been invented and none of the new inventions really take off, because, well, they’re unecessary.

  2. Hmmm, I do see the point. The classics are already there, but every now and again a real corker stumps up and shocks (well, ripples) the world.
    I recently saw a takeaway utensil that was both fork and spoon – the spork. Now both had already been invented, but the combo was a large improvement in many ways.
    And what about the new Fox’s vienese swirl-cum-biscuit?
    Plus, if there were no biscuit designers, there would be no more biscuits and the world would be a sadder and less creative place.
    Plus I like playing with my food in the name of design and creative development, so I’m off to my kitchen to bake a prototype straight away.

  3. When NAH and I started going out we soon realised that an engineer/trainee systems analyst was the ideal combination to make people’s eyes quickly glaze over at all the parties we went to.

    So we invented our own alternative careers to get tongues wagging. I was a crazy paving designer. NAH alternated between putting out bollards on motorways (because they always seemed to appear magically, so he could invent lots of different ways on how they got there) and a designer of dog shaped biscuits.

  4. Claire – copyright the idea asap, you can’t trust anyone these days.
    Personally I like the idea of biscuits with holes in that you can squeeze and a gooey filling comes out. Somewhat like the playdough head that you could squeeze then cut the hair (I never had one, my best friend did – I secretly wanted to steal it, I still get that feeling in toy shops to this day).

  5. I think being a biscuit designer must be a lovely stressful job with no deadline – after all when was the last time you saw a really new style of biscuit on the shelves

  6. Good point PG – I have a post on this very subject half finished…..

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