Win a copy of TensorFlow 2.0 in Action this week in the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
programming forums Java Mobile Certification Databases Caching Books Engineering Micro Controllers OS Languages Paradigms IDEs Build Tools Frameworks Application Servers Open Source This Site Careers Other all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
Marshals:
  • Campbell Ritchie
  • Liutauras Vilda
  • Paul Clapham
  • Bear Bibeault
  • Jeanne Boyarsky
Sheriffs:
  • Ron McLeod
  • Tim Cooke
  • Devaka Cooray
Saloon Keepers:
  • Tim Moores
  • Tim Holloway
  • Jj Roberts
  • Stephan van Hulst
  • Carey Brown
Bartenders:
  • salvin francis
  • Scott Selikoff
  • fred rosenberger

The Great Biscuit versus Cookie Debate

 
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 22671
153
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In the annals of modern British/American English, few topics are more controversial than "biscuits" versus "cookies". I'd venture to say that it outshines the "chips/crisps" argument (and it should be noted that "chips" were allegedly invented by an American because a diner's "chips" weren't "crisp" enough), how to pronounce "aluminium", how to spell "tyre" or even what makes a proper "shepherd's pie".

While America has a reputation for being a rather new-fangled place in British/English history, it has a surprising number of cases where it's actually hewing to pre-Revolutionary usages where England is the more recent adopter of certain practiices and spellings. And of baked goods,

First, for all the Brits who object to the term "cookie", I lay the blame squarely on King George III. If he hadn't knocked up his German relatives for mercenaries during the Revolutionary War, the influx of German (and Dutch) immigrants into the Colonies might have happened much later. While I have no actual historical information, I'm pretty sure that while those Hessians and their ilk were wandering around the US East Coast some of them decided that they liked the place and later settled down. In any event, they brought a baking tradition, and "cookie" is what you get when the Germanic "kuche" gets respelled into English.

But as to biscuits. The "biscuit" word appears in many places and languages, most notabily Italian, where "biscotti" faithfully represents the process of being twice-baked. In the Royal Navy, Ship's Biscuit (hardtack) was a staple supply for long voyages along with such things as (pepper) corned beef and infamously, limes (once they learned not to be a scurvy lot). The annals of Horatio Hornblower expound on how to rap one's biscuit on the table before consuming to persuade the weevils to abandon ship - failing to do so made for supplemental protein, I assume.

At any rate, you couldn't just bake bread and expect it to last for months, weevils or no. It would go stale, and worse, mouldy. Much of this deterioration is aided and abetted by water in the product, so by baking twice, more water was driven out. Hence, "biscuit".

The Colonies established themselves relatively early in wheat production as well as in their own maritime endeavours, and set to producing biscuit of their own. Some factories reportedly didn't stop with baking twice, in fact. Apparently up to seven bakes were not unheard of.

Somewhere after this point, things diverged. American had its "cookies", and England adopted the name originally used for a strictly savoury product to cover sweet single-baked "biscuits". To further confound the issue, the American South spun off a single-bake savory (sic) biscuit (and commonly added buttermilk), This bewildered the British who mistook them for savoury scones, but as I recall, a true scone can have egg in it and American biscuits never do.

While America has embraced their biscuits nearly nationwide, the undisputed capital of biscuit-ness is in its Deep South, where the Gold Standard would be buttermilk biscuits made with White Lily brad flour and soaked in gravy. Makes the fried bread of a Full English look pitiful by comparison. White Lily flour, incidentally is a softer wheat than standard US all-purpose flour.

So the Southern US equivalent of a Full English would typically be bacon, eggs, grits, ham and biscuits with gravy - ham gravy is fine here. If you need more, add sausage and toast. Contrary to various amusing Internet photos, you do not place your revolved on the table next to the coffee mug. Revolvers are to remain holstered at all times. The automatic rifles should be carefully propped against the table lest they fall down and accidently discharge in the directtion of children or the dog.
 
Marshal
Posts: 70703
288
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tim Holloway wrote:. . . failing to do so made for supplemental protein, I assume. . . ..

If you come over here, we shall have to visit the HMS Trincomalee. When I first went there, well over twenty years ago, they still had real live guides, who told us how they would feed the hard tack to the local Rodents, and probably even more so the weevils. Said Rodents are omnivorous. They become very friendly if handled aright, and if they aren't friendly, they can also become additional protein themselves. We were told many Jack Tars wouldn't sail without assorted wildlife on board or they would lack for sustenance. They were supplied with a generous allowance of rum, something in the region of half a pint daily, and beer, about eight pints. Of course, if you spread all that booze out over 24 hours, it isn't as much as it sounds. One of the uses for the beer was to dunk the biscuits so they could be eaten without breaking any teeth!
You will have to ask my Missus about scones; I don't think she puts eggs in them.
 
Campbell Ritchie
Marshal
Posts: 70703
288
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Of course, that is nothing compared to the Dispute about Jaffa Cakes, whether they are cakes or biscuits. Despite what my grandson says, they are officially very small cakes.
 
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 242
39
Firefox Browser MySQL Database Java Ubuntu
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Living in what used to be a British colony, we often take to British side of the argument. We use "biscuit" for the hard flat baked goods, although "cookie" is also acceptable most of the time. I believe that to an American a "biscuit" is a soft, risen, bread like entity. This includes what we would call "scones".

We have chips (like in fish and chips) and crisps are what you buy in foil bags ("chips" can serve for both in a lot of cases, though). In some parts where I'm from crisps are called "crips"
 
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 22671
153
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
JJ, you've given yourself away. That's Oz speaking. Or failing that maybe Kiwi. Please keep the Tim-Tams coming!

Regarding the daily tot of rum for sailors, I don't think that was actually abolished until about 1967!

The Jaffa cake controversy was settled in court. They're cakes. For a while it wasn't possible for me to buy ready-made so I now own a baking tin. It's not ideal - the cake size is closer to 7cm than the the 4-5cm I get in boxes, but the results are at least as good. Now we have an Aldi's and they stock 2 flavours.

We're a Navy town and occasionally tall ships sail downtown and tie up for visitors. I don't recall if the Trincomalee in particular has been one of them. but it's possible.

I check my cooking database and of the 3 scone recipes, 1 takes eggs, 2 don't. But I think the Sticky Fingers mixes do. In any case, you'll hardly ever mistake a scone for an American biscuit or vice versa.

In case you're interested, here's my standard food processor recipe for biscuits on a cold morning:


I spin the dry ingredients until well-blended, drop in the butter, run on pulses until the particles are fairly fine, about 15 seconds total. Then pour in the milk while spinning and let it form a ball, which I then take out and knead just a little before rolling out, cutting and baking at 450°F - about 230°C, figure out the gas setting yourself, since I can only do electric.

For a better rise and to neutralise the metallic taste that baking powder can add, I use soured milk if I have it. Or I have some buttermilk powder. Or I probably could add in a touch of lime juice since I'm currently up to my armpits in fresh Persian and Key limes. Some additional tricks that I've heard of include subdividing the butter and blending part in then adding the rest at the last moment to avoid melting so that you get fat chunks in the dough. It's all rather like pie crust except that it rises.

A reminder that American measuring cups run just under 250ml by volume and that only a damn foreigner would suggest weighing the ingredients.

Of course, to get the authentic experience, skip the butter and use clabbered buttermilk. It provides both the sourness and the little fat islands of butter and the result is similar to a thicker version of puff pastry. The ideal biscuit is flaky rather than bready. But I usually get a sort of layered bready form myself since I don't stock buttermilk.

As I said, I've a surplus of limes at the moment and I'm overdue for making both lime biscotti and lime scones. Maybe by this weekend...
 
Jj Roberts
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 242
39
Firefox Browser MySQL Database Java Ubuntu
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tim Holloway wrote:JJ, you've given yourself away. That's Oz speaking. Or failing that maybe Kiwi. Please keep the Tim-Tams coming!


Wrong! Try again.
 
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 22671
153
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
OK. You got me. I think someone mentioned South African preferences on some newsgroup on The Great Chip Debate the other day, but I forget who said what.

Incidentally, another blessing the local Aldi's has provided me with is biltong. Jerky is a tradition in this part of the world that predates the Europeans, but biltong hasn't been seen around here that I know of. Different seasonings and slightly different drying process, I think.
 
Jj Roberts
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 242
39
Firefox Browser MySQL Database Java Ubuntu
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've always wondered what the differences are between biltong and jerky (I've never had the opportunity to try the latter). Friends in Tennessee who lived here in South Africa could get a lot of our specialities that side.

If they come here they always stock up on certain sweets (candy ) — especially Fizzers — to take back for the family.
Hmmm, it seems you can buy Fizzers from Amazon
 
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 22671
153
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Jerky is typically meat dried in smoke with maybe a sugar cure. Hickory smoke being popular. I think that the most popular meats are beef, turkey, and game. I've had deer jerky from a guy who thought I'd be shocked to be eating Bambi. Didn't know I'd spent part of my childhood out in the middle of the woods.

There have been a lot of flavors on the market lately, including jalapeño pepper, black pepper (old favorite), Teriyaki probably even Korean-style if I looked hard enough. Garlic and "sharp" (yeast-based) falvorings seem to be popular commercial ingredients. And sugar.

I've made my own in the food dehydrator by marinating sliced roast sandwich beef in soy sauce and drying overnight or so.

The biltong I bought was seasoned with exotic (for us) spices like coriander and according to a quick web check, raisin juice (?) and vinegar.  Made for Aldi in Michigan USA.

They claim that jerking destroys certain enzymes that biltong doesn't. If I recall, biltong drying is slower.

A Native American favorite is pemmican, which is meat (typically bison), fat and berries pounded down into a mass. Unlike its Mongolian equivalent, you didn't have to ride around using it for a saddle. They didn't have horses until the Europeans arrived.

Speaking of which. A really odd thing is that the First Nations arrived from Asia, where horses abound into America, where horses evolved, but went extinct long ago. This was done before humans domesticated horses, or for that matter, anything else except for dogs.
 
Marshal
Posts: 25965
70
Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser MySQL Database
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jj Roberts wrote:crisps are what you buy in foil bags



Peri-peri was our favourite flavour when we were there.
 
Master Rancher
Posts: 3701
44
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jj Roberts wrote:Living in what used to be a British colony, we often take to British side of the argument.


Bah - that's no reason!  We used to be a British colony too.
 
Marshal
Posts: 7792
536
Mac OS X VI Editor BSD Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Paul Clapham wrote:Peri-peri was our favourite flavour when we were there.


These days these are called chicken shops here in London (UK). When I came to UK it used to be 2£ for 6 chicken wings (of length of your small finger) and fries (not chips) and a drink of your choice (pepsi/7up/mirinda). Now prices gone up, in most places 5£ or more.

 
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 22671
153
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've yet to see peri-peri over here. On the other hand, the local soils grow onions sweet and peppers hot and St. Augustine datil peppers are quite famous. I think they taste sort of buttery. As they flay your tongue.
 
Paul Clapham
Marshal
Posts: 25965
70
Eclipse IDE Firefox Browser MySQL Database
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was referring to peri-peri-flavoured crisps, actually. But usually peri-peri is found world-wide via the Nando's chain of restaurants -- the nearest one to you looks like it's in Virginia.
 
Campbell Ritchie
Marshal
Posts: 70703
288
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tim Holloway wrote:. . . . I don't recall if the Trincomalee in particular has been one of them. but it's possible. . . .

No, it isn't; the dock she is floating in has such a shallow sill that it would be impossible for her to put to sea.

450℉ is No 8 on a gas oven. That is pretty hot.

I have a copy of Pictures at an Exhibition, the solo piano version by Moussorgsky which belongs to Ruth's sister. It has a splendid typo for one number: Ballett der Küchlein in ihren Eierschalen. I shall leave it to another German speaker to translate that and say what the spelling error is.

[addition]

Tim Holloway wrote:. . . Regarding the daily tot of rum for sailors, I don't think that was actually abolished until about 1967! . . .

But the tot had become much less strong and much smaller by then.
 
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 22671
153
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I meant that peri-peri anything isn't something I can find locally.

I learned about Nando's from The Rivers of London books and Virginia was as close as I'd seen, too. Doesn't matter, My tastes don't run to chicken or fish.
 
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 22671
153
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
"Pictures" is one of my favourites. I have the ELP rock version and I think maybe Isao Tomita. The usual translations are "Dance of the unhatched chickens" or "Dance of the chickens in their shells".

Your German rendition would be "Dance of the chicks in their shells", and actually, it's correct, although "Küchlein" is a poetic usage, and the vernacular is "Küken".

But I know what you're thinking, and Jaffa Cakes would indeed translate as "Jaffa (Jaffische?) Küchlein". (note, I edited for plural. German grammar is fun.)
 
Campbell Ritchie
Marshal
Posts: 70703
288
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Tim Holloway wrote:. . . "Küchlein" is a poetic usage, and the vernacular is "Küken". . . .

Der Jaffischen Küchlein. I had only come across Küken Küklein and Kücklein and wasn't aware of that variant spelling, so the “ballet of the unhatched chicks” becomes the “ballet of the unhatched cakes”

German spelling changes about once every fifty years or so. Just as Webster changed honour to honor, so Duden changed Thier to Tier. And Leibneitz to Leibniz, although the original spelling of his name was Leibniz! Then in the 1990s they changed everything again and removed Duden's rule that no word may contain the same letter thrice in a row. So Schiff‑Fahrt (journey by sea, literally ship journey) went from being Schiffahrt to Schifffahrt. They also “simplified” the rules about ß.
 
Bartender
Posts: 1075
19
Mac OS X IntelliJ IDE Oracle Spring VI Editor Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
A while back I found these youtube clips featuring American vs Scottish snacks.  Of course, they never agreed on what is a biscuit/cookie/cake/crisp/chip/fries (etc).      

Southern man tries Scottish snacks
Scottish man tries southern snacks

I believe most sailors (matelots) still keep up their daily alcohol allowance, they just consume it when [if] allowed shore side and [hopefully] off duty  I never understood how you could get [Newcastle] Brown Ale on tap in America, but only in bottles in Newcastle (or the rest of the UK).
 
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 22671
153
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Campbell Ritchie wrote:Der Jaffischen Küchlein.



Ach! I mistook plural "die" for gender.
 
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 22671
153
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
At least there's no argument about sausage rolls or Scotch eggs. None to be found here.
 
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 22671
153
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Campbell Ritchie wrote:450℉ is No 8 on a gas oven. That is pretty hot.



It's about the limit on my oven as well. But it's a "bread".
 
Campbell Ritchie
Marshal
Posts: 70703
288
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yes, you want the oven hot. I usually cook bread about No 7, and our oven only goes up to No 9.
 
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 22671
153
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm revising my correction. It is, indeed Jaffische Küchlein. Because who only eats one of them???
 
Peter Rooke
Bartender
Posts: 1075
19
Mac OS X IntelliJ IDE Oracle Spring VI Editor Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It seems that Jaffa Cakes were in the (Scottish) news after a politician was asked "Are they a biscuit or a cake?".  Not much agreement even in their local country...          

This was challenged by HMRC, with the issue ending up in court in 1991 to prove Jaffa Cakes were biscuits or confectionery, and as such not exempt from VAT. (value-added tax)

 
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper
Posts: 22671
153
Android Eclipse IDE Tomcat Server Redhat Java Linux
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Peter Rooke wrote:It seems that Jaffa Cakes were in the (Scottish) news after a politician was asked "Are they a biscuit or a cake?".  Not much agreement even in their local country...          

This was challenged by HMRC, with the issue ending up in court in 1991 to prove Jaffa Cakes were biscuits or confectionery, and as such not exempt from VAT. (value-added tax)



The deciding factor being that biscuits, when stale, soften, but cake gets crunchy. Science!

And I stand corrected on the local availability of things peri-peri. Turns out that the local Aldi's has peri-peri-flavoured biltong.
 
Don't play dumb with me! But you can try this tiny ad:
Thread Boost feature
https://coderanch.com/t/674455/Thread-Boost-feature
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic