Saturday, December 18, 2010

Other people's breakfasts

Picture: Bevan Christie

In my email today:

'Some of us have biscuits (a misnomer: biscuit means twice cooked) for breakfast; others of us have Turkish coffee and Giorgio della Cia's Spirit de Muscat.'

Mr Christie

I like having friends who know significantly more than I do on many and in Bevan's case, any, given topic. Perhaps the best friends we have share not only some of our interests but flesh out our own personalities, adding to ourselves the qualities we lack? I know someone who cultivates friends who know significantly less than he does, and I think he finds pleasure in his obvious supremacy. To me that must be sheer boredom.

What do these knowledgeable friends of mine see in me, you ask? Well, I feed them. It is barter, pure and simple.

Back to biscuits. In all of the English-speaking world, bar the US of A, biscuits are crispy, thin, hard, yet febrile things - crackers, in this country. Indeed, a quick delving into etymology does reveal twice-cooked, from the 14th century French word bescuit, derived from the Latin words bis (twice) and coquere (to cook), and, hence, means "twice-cooked."

Apparently it took the War of Independence, on our soil (actually, I am sitting right on top of that soil, here in Cobble Hill!) to adopt, formally, the American word cookie, that refers to what is in the Commonwealth, a sweet biscuit! Go to Wikipedia for the whole drama (and give them $10 at the same time...).

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