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||Is a biscuit the same thing as a cookie?|
|Nicey replies: Some would say so, but not us. Biscuit is derived from the French 'bis' for 'twice' and past participle of the verb 'cuir' to cook, and so means twice-cooked. This described the process by which flour could be preserved by making ships biscuits. An initial baking of a simple flour and water dough was followed by a long second drying process, hence twice cooked.
Now comes the pure speculation on my part. Presumably the same derivation led to the naming of biscuits in the southern states of the USA by French settlers where a 'biscuit' is somewhat like a British 'cobbler', a small floury baked item which is enjoyed with savoury dishes to soak up gravy. As the word biscuit had already now been used for something in the American cuisine, a new word must have been needed to describe what the rest of the world thinks of as biscuits. Many American cookies would be recognised as biscuits in the UK, however, the large diameter soft baked variety, are what we think of as Cookies.
||On my only trip to England in 1996, which I had hoped for and planned for over 20 years, I had my first tea with milk and sugar and a biscuit in Sussex. Now my mornings in Austin, Texas always begin with 2 cuppas. As for biscuits, are there Girl Scout biscuits in the U.K.? Here, the Girl Scout "cookie" sale happens once a year and the Thin Mints famously popular. These are a chocolate mint flavored crisp biscuit covered in very thin chocolate glaze. Personally, I think the taste over-powers the tea and the chocolate melts when dipped. For those reasons, my favorite is the Nabisco Lorna Doone. It has a finer texture than Walker's Shortbread and is cheaper too. Also (from Sweden) Nyakers Gingersnaps, very crisp and they come in their own tin that is attractive.|
About the tea...I make a personal blend of 2 pts. Darjeeling to 1 pt. Assam and brew for 3 minutes. I'm the only tea drinker at home so I can splurge. As for the cup; I received a Dunoon English bone china mug (design by Ruth Beck) and I loved it so much, I ordered all the others (different kinds of teas and coffees) she had done, unfortunately now discontinued.
My tea habit is a memory of England that I will have with me forever. Thank you so very much. I sent a link to your site a friend who has been ill. I told him that your site is a "vacation spot occupied by adults who are...happy!"
|Nicey replies: Hello Julie,
What a lovely Texan email you have sent us. Your tea drinking and biscuit eating sounds very resourceful and sensible. Hoorah! for you.
Unfortunately, our Girl Scouts (Guides), don't really get involved with the manufacture and distribution of biscuits.
I'm an American living in NYC, however we always have a mug/cup of tea and a bickie here. I'm currently devouring a box of Anna's Chocolate Mint thins. Has anyone on your site reviewed these before? Quite nice. My mug is from Harney's tea company in Connecticut. My husband knows that I will yell and scream if he touches it. It is mine. It does not go to work. It stays at home. Hmm. I think I'll go make a cuppa.
|Nicey replies: Yes we have a source for Anna's range of thins locally who import them from Sweden. We are keen to review them in one of their incarnations at some point.|
||The Uruguayan "alfahor" is spelled "alfajor" - we also have them in Argentina. However, the Argentine ones are a lot tastier and less crumbly. Tesco's used to sell "Dulce de Leche", but appear to have discontinued. The Anglo-Argentine Society, in London, do manage to get hold of it. It is used on puddings, the way we use cream. One can also make it by immersing a can of condensed milk in water and boiling it for 2 hours. Wonderful! Best thing to do is fly to Buenos Aires and have a wonderful holiday and then bring back a load of alfajores.|
ANNE GILES (Anglo-Argentine)
I just found your fab website which brought back childhood memories of biscuit assortments that my mum used to buy at xmas and birthdays. We usually had Rover, where there were never enough jammy dodger ones to go round, with those vile pink wafers sucking up all atmospheric moisture until you ate them out of desperation at the end of the tin. Sometimes we had Danish all butter that were all a bit samey and those small round ones had sugar crystals that were a touch too big for my liking!
In our house, and some of my family the left over Rover tin would be used as a place to keep importnat papers, bills etc.. Did anybody else do this with their assortment tins. In fact I might have to get one for my filing!!
It would be cool to have assortments on your site and to hear feedabck about them!
Love the site!
|Nicey replies: Sarah,
Thanks for a terrific email. We love biscuit assortments but reviewing more than a couple can be quite a task, still you're right its only a matter of time. Good call all the Danish all butter. The Danish seem to have used up all their inspiration on their Bacon and Pastries activities. Evidently when they got to biscuits they were spent, and just managed to make the same thing over and over only slightly altering the shape occasionally.