James from Encounters with Remarkable Biscuits asked me to prove I’m not actually the same person as Clare by writing my own post for their site. It was published yesterday over there but I’m publishing it here too.
No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate than a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place…at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory.
À la recherche du temps perdu
1. 1985. When I close my eyes, the resulting darkness isn’t completely flat black – there is something simultaneously both smooth and rough about it, both uniform and pitted. I instantly equate the texture with the surface of ginger thins and continue to do so for the next 20+ years. Ginger thins remind me of closing my eyes, closing my eyes remind me of ginger thins.
2. 1989. Weekly pocket money from Nana must be spent instantly at the newsagents around the corner and the transaction must always include the purchase of a Choc Dip. It is eaten quickly as not to spoil my appetite for the impending Sunday roast. The majority of the biscuit sticks are eaten dry; the last biscuit alone delivers the anticipated orgy of chocolate goo.
3. 1992. I don’t know – am genuinely perplexed – why anyone would pick an orange, mint or fruit Jacob’s Club when the all chocolate version is available. They are eaten in the following way every time, without deviation: bite off the chocolate from the ends, gnaw off the chocolate sides, peel off and eat the chocolate on top, scrap off the cream with top teeth, attempt to clear the chocolate base with teeth (not always successful but an attempt is necessary) then finally, eat the biscuit. The best part is the cream layer.
4. 1995. I visit Ikea for the first time and discover their double-chocolate oat biscuits. A new obsession is born.
5. 1998. I travel 80 miles to meet my then-boyfriend’s family for the first time and after dinner, a tin of biscuits is opened – left over from Christmas but still full. Amongst the assortment are some small biscuits: golden, slightly domed and vanilla flavoured. The melt-in-your-mouth texture is divine and I instantly annex them off from the boyfriend and his brother. The boyfriend calls them “forbidden biscuits” and realising they smell like my vanilla body spray, we call my scent “forbidden biscuits” for the duration of our relationship. It’s the only thing that makes me nostalgic for that time.
6. 1999. Oreos are a precious treat – only available once in a while, when the bargain shop in town gets a random delivery.
7. 2001. Bourbon biscuits dunked in tea are the only weekend breakfast for me.
8. 2002. Dan is obsessed with Echo bars. I try to share his joy but don’t think they taste of much. I repeatedly try to see what he sees in them and help him get through his stash in double-quick time.
9. 2004. I realise I reach for dark chocolate digestives as my everyday biscuit of choice now and see it as a signal that my biscuit palate has matured.
10. 2005. The anticipation of a cookie – not the finest quality but large and a refreshing choc-mint flavour – is the only thing that gets me through the day.
11. 2008. I’m sitting on a bench outside the former kitchen block at Sachsenhausen concentration camp, listening to an audio commentary about life – and starvation – in the camp. I eat a dark chocolate wafer biscuit as discretely as possible and I’m ashamed how good it tastes.
12. 2010. The New Year is welcomed with friends, port and cheese. We have homemade ginger shortbread in the shape of squirrels and dinosaurs – blue cheese and brie are (separately) pasted along the top for the ultimate sweet and savoury experience. It begins and ends with ginger.