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Thin Arrowroot

Monday 11 Nov 2002

Yet again this week we have elected to review another dry tasteless dull excuse for a biscuit, the Thin Arrowroot.

Baked by Crawfords the 'B' team of the United Biscuits empire with McVities being their 'A' team. However, Crawfords do produce a great many reference standard biscuits, particularly the Custard Cream and the Bourbon, and we frequently see Crawfords biscuits at the very sharp end of the biscuit world such as those little packs that you get in hotels or railway cafés. With the Thin Arrowroot Crawfords set the standard.

So what are the burning issues with a thin Arrowroot? Well, why are they thin, and what an earth is Arrowroot? Well the answer to the first lies in the second. Arrowroot, is a starchy powder obtained from the rhizomes of the Arrowroot plant, typically grown in places like the West Indies. Typical uses for Arrowroot are to make sort of gloopy fruit slop for desserts and the like, as it works a bit like cornflour. Adding Arrowroot to biscuits, seems to work a bit like adding cement or perhaps plaster of paris. Thin Arrowroots contain 2 percent arrowroot and this appears to be enough to make them a bit like a really hard dry and generally hostile Rich Tea.

In fact we were mostly impressed with the structural properties of the biscuit rather than what it tasted like. For instance the resonant frequencies possesed by the biscuit, produced a higher note when dropped in comparison to a similar sized Rich Tea. Yes, when faced with a biscuit like the thin Arrowroot, one is forced to consider what sound it makes in a vain attempt to find something nice to say about it. It therefore seems like that such a thing as a 'Thick Arrowroot' whilst technically feasible would be too much for the average consumers dental facilities, although they would probably make load bearing walls.

As result of this high level of structural integrity, the writing on top of the biscuits is fantastically detailed, as if engraved onto metal. Unfortunately they taste pretty awful.

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Fox's Butter Tea

Tuesday 5 Nov 2002

Just recently we have had an awful lot of Rich Tea to get through. A nice man from Burton's foods wanted our opinion on some of their Rich Tea, and those which they make for various supermarket chains. The whole exercise was very informative and we feel we have a much better grasp of the genre having eaten our way through seven packets. Suffice to say we are all Rich Tea'd out.

So it was with some trepidation that I dipped into our Fox's review box and pulled out a pack of their Butter Tea biscuits. And it was with a certain amount of delight that I found they were nothing like Rich Tea. In fact they are nearer to an all butter biscuit that has been crossed with a slightly corse shortbread, featuring as they do 11.2 % butter content. Altogether a nice session biscuit, with several being seen off in short succession, and this is not entirely due just to their taste as we shall see.

All was not completely rosy in the garden. The first sign of trouble was the small plastic tray slipped inside the pack and holding the biscuits in one continuous stack. Such devices are there to protect frail and easily damaged biscuits and indeed many of the pack contents were split in two. This can make it difficult to judge your biscuit intake as polishing off half biscuits seems more like an act of compassion putting the poor demi biccies out of their misery. One soon looses count, in the rush to bring order and wholeness to the biscuits. And this is where the second problem arises, Butter Teas appear to stick to one another, and when you try to unstick them they break in two, and off you go again trying to eat all the broken ones.

So before you open a pack of Butter Tea be prepared for it all getting away from you, one way or another.



Tuesday 29 Oct 2002

This week we have picked on one those dull bland biscuits again. The Marie biscuit really isn't much to get worked up about, in fact I'm struggling to think of anything to say about it really. Its like a fluffy rich tea with a hint of vanilla. There. Oh and it has some quite intricate patterns and writing.

Why then does half the world seem to have an interest in this un-remarkable little disc of whatever? India, Austraila,South Africa and many other countries think of the Marie biscuit as part of their cuisine. Indeed the review biscuits were made in the Netherlands, and imported by Sainsbury's. How has this biscuit secured a position of global importance? No that wasn't a rhetorical question, I really don't know. But wait what's this! They are all doing wonky recipes with them, smashing them up or covering them in random stuff, well they would have to really because they taste pretty lousy.

I don't know, I prefer to think of them in terms of a biscuit version of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, up there with the Rich Tea, Morning Coffee and the Lemon Puff. The Lemon puff would be the really dodgy one on the far right, and the Marie biscuit would have a big sword and start all the fights. Yep I'm wandering now.

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