Sunday, 4 March 2012

The Biscuit, The Prop We Need in this Vale of Tears

biscuit (n.)
respelled early 19c. from bisket (16c.), ultimately (besquite, early 14c.) from O.Fr. bescuit (12c.), lit. "twice cooked;"
The word biscuit is from an Old French term derived from Latin. So the biscuit is itself very Catholic in its heritage.

If you are cultured, like what I am, you'll enjoy nothing more than a biscuit with your cup of (Glengettie) tea. I know it's Lent so I won't tempt you too much with flowery language and voluptuous descriptions of biccies, but let it be said that I enjoy a biscuit or two (OK, or three) with my tea, preferably in one of my GK Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, Pope Benedict or Bonnie Prince Charlie mugs. You can ask Mrs. H., if a cuppa is served up in some other receptacle I will frown so that the person delivering the tea knows of my displeasure. Never let it be said I don't know how to convey my feelings.

So yes, a biscuit is a fine thing to enjoy. If the good Lord had not meant us to enjoy biscuits he would not have made a goodly number of people into bakers -- surely a matter of Providence, whereas estate agents show how badly free will can rebound on us all. Besides which, I am sure many monasteries must have made biscuits. I have no proof of this, but the idea pleases me, so let's just agree on that, OK?

So, now we come to the important part. What is the ideal biscuit for a Welsh Catholic dude (OK, I made that last bit up) like what I am. Let me lay my cards on the table. I tend to go for the double-bubble biscuits, where you have two biscuits conjoined by a yummy centre. The most traditional of these is of course the Custard Cream or the Bourbon. The beauty of both of these is that cheaper varieties usually taste exactly the same as the slightly more expensive.

But should you get a curve-ball, in the shape of the BOGOF (buy one get one free) you can't get much better than the Fox's biscuits with the creamy centres. They taste very good both pre-dunk and post-dunk; and that is never to be sneezed at! Of course one can always overstep the mark and find yourself dunking a Jammy Dodger, and that is a step too far (it's how Michael Barrymore started!)

On the other hand I am not a fan of the Rich Tea biscuit. For me they are far too protestant, being a bit too plain and very limp and floppy (post dunk). They may not have openly(!) gay "bishops" in England but you can bet the Rich Tea is very well used in protestant circles. In fact I'd wager a McVities van makes a bulk delivery on account once a month to Lambeth Palace, wherein the staff are careful to ensure no cases of Jaffa Cakes (let's not discuss the cake v. biscuit debate here, enough blood has been shed and I think the Council of Trent dealt with that succinctly enough, drawing on the clear delineations of St Thomas Aquinas) are smuggled in to upset the upper echelons of Anglicanism.

So let me throw the floor open to you dear reader. Perhaps you are Welsh. Perhaps you are Catholic. If you're really lucky you're both. If Providence has dictated that you must battle against the odds you may be neither, but nil desperandum my friend. You should start off slowly. Attend Mass, sit at the back quietly and take it in. Start supporting Wales, you can begin quietly just enjoy the sensation. Salvation is available to all! Ask and you shall receive...

But whatever you are, wherever you are, I'd be happy to hear your suggestions for the perfect biscuit. An explanation of your decision would be appreciated (the whys and wherefores matter almost as much as the final decision). Only atheists and militant secularists/homosexuals need not apply. Hey - you had our adoption agencies shut down, so you can zip it! The boot is on the other foot now and your choice of biscuit means nothing to me! Besides which, homosexualists must surely be drawn to the ginger biscuit?

Perhaps a priest might like to make a suggestion too? After all, the imbibing of tea served by parishioners, coupled with the offering of biscuits must surely make them highly qualified to make a suggestion. Will a shepherd come forward to lead his flock?

I like to think writing a blog is not about navel gazing. No! This is where the matters of great importance are discussed, before the truth is laid bare for people to take comfort from. In a world of tumult and worry, what better guidance can we give than to state what the best biscuits are? When false religions, atheists and nutters are assaulting us on all fronts, we surely need a 'nice cup of tea' to calm ruffled feathers. With the correct biscuit we can start to take the fight back at our adversaries and win hearts,minds and souls for Catholicism and Wales.

Oh yes. Now I'm feeling all heroic, with a crusading zeal. I may even go off and rewrite Faith of Our Fathers with a few subtle references to biscuits.

Faith of our fathers, living still
In spite of dungeon, fire and rich tea biscuits...

P.S. Writing this blog has helped to expunge today's news that Cardiff City lost 0-2 to West Ham. Oh woe! The good news is that Ireland held France to a draw in rugby and so Wales are the only team who can now win the Grand Slam.


  1. Did you realise that hymn is about the English Catholic struggle? As an Englishwoman happily married for many years to a Welshman I support. 2 rugby teams and we were both thrilled by the match, this weeks football and ruby were an anti- climax like rich teas!
    We rediscovered lemon puffs recently, smaller and round but delicious
    I'm still mourning the loss of milk and honey creams and big square tins in the grocers window.
    But choco
    Ate digestives are wonderful !

    1. Oh yes - and Welsh Catholics too (e.g. St Richard Gwynne).

      As for Lemon Puffs, after the wise warning of Cardinal O'Brien on the weekend against subverting marriage, I just think we should tread carefully! ;-)

      I've never been a fan of chocolate digestives, but do come across them in the house as Mrs H and the little Hs like them. If robbed of other choices I have been known to partake.

      Still open to suggestion for the perfect biccie... Let the debate rage!


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