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My sister sent me the Afghan URL as we grew up on them - one of our favourite biscuits - in Australia! A neighbour made a trayful for my birthday party recently. So I think Lilly is correct. There is another mysterious use of the word Afghan, to describe a sort of throw-rug, knitted or crocheted. Perhaps this also derives from the Afghan camel drivers.
|Nicey replies: Alice,
Its always lovely to receive emails from famous Space Archaeologists about biscuits and rugs.
|Dear Nicey, firstly what a wonderful web site, you have totally made my day in finding you. With reference to Charles Hutchinson's letter about the biscuit he ate in the cadet force. This was the true holly grail of all biscuits and is referred to as an oatmeal block. It was still a component of military rations when I did my training in 79 and could be used as a bargaining item for almost anything. Most of the guys I went through Initial Officer Training with (for the RAF) would come fairly close to selling their souls for one. I once found a few being sold at the Camden Lock market - probably war surplus but who cares. I don't know if they are still included but if they are then look no further, there is nothing better on this planet. Oh and on the subject of Afghans, there is a superb Fagan made by a company called tuckatime which is seriously addictive and much better than the other commercial varieties|
Now living in New Zealand
I thought I'd better write in to make sure real afghans didn't get a bad name (us kiwi's are proud of them you know). You are quite right to be dissapointed in the Griffins version, real afghans have a much more substantial and less structurally sound biscut about 8cm diameter. There is a thick dollop of chocolate icing in the center and a walnut perched on top of that.
Here in New Zealand you can get passable versions in bakeries and there is an acceptable (although not strictly traditional) version made by Cookie Time. However, for a genuine afghan you really do need to make it yourself. Make sure you have heaps and heaps of coco and cornflakes.
|As a Kiwi now resident in Australia, and a keen Afghan maker/consumer, I can assure you that no Aussie I have asked has ever heard of them, so I would claim them as a purely NZ thing. No idea where the name comes from -- I did wonder if they were Victorian, named during a war on the North West Frontier, but the cornflakes would argue for a more recent invention. The Griffin's ones are gravely disappointing. It wouldn't be so bad if they called them Mediocre Milk Chocolate Crunchies or something, but to attach to them the hallowed name of Afghan is approaching sacrilege. But they're the sort of thing that has to be homemade to be any good anyway|
Stumbled upon your great site and I've been coming back to check out the biscuit of the week. I think the afghan biscuit (this week's pick) may have Australian origins because of the name. Perhaps you should look at it based on the people from Afghanistan. In Australia, during the gold rush days, there were Afghanis living in Australia, transporting goods with their camels across the great distances. One of the great railways of the world which runs from Adelaide to Alice Springs is called The Ghan, a name derived from the Afghanis.
PS. This is also where the source of feral camels in Aust. came from.
|Nicey replies: Lilly,
Thank you for that. Yes they seem like much better reasons than the ones I made up.