It is pissing it down. My shift at the tiller is over, but I can’t quite get dry, or warm. It’s possible that I might have trench foot.
Since being on the boat, we have had a little biscuit-filled elevenses most mornings. The biscuit is, apparently, a must-have on a narrowboat, as you can use it as fuel to keep yourself going to the next suitable mooring spot, you can bribe lock-keepers to help you on difficult staircases, you can make friends with the boat next door, etc. Over the last few months, a most splendid variety of sugary, buttery snacks have passed our lips. This research has been conducted in the public interest, you understand, not for pleasure. And so now, in an attempt to lift the mood and banish those rain clouds, I present my top five biscuits.
5/ Jam sandwich cream.
Sainsbury’s Basics (or, perhaps, IP lawyer) speak for a Jammie Dodger, this is a one-night stand sort of a biscuit. All show and no substance. You wouldn’t really trust it to meet your everyday biscuit needs, but just occasionally it’s fun to succumb to temptation.
The question is, to chocolate coat or not to chocolate coat? It’s a great all-rounder but few stand out qualities. That said, I can’t think of a person in the world who would turn their nose up at a cup of tea and a digestive. A crowd pleaser.
3/ Hob nob
Always a pleasure to crack open a packet when things get desperate on board. The perfect combination of salty and sweet, it has a gorgeous toothsomeness to the bite. Fails to place higher as, when you think about it, it’s not really an all-year-round biscuit… I can’t quite see it working in high summer.
2/ Bourbon Cream
A surprise entry in second place, as it has long been a staple, nay favourite, of the Jones cupboard. The crisp brown biscuit base is an exquisite complement to the soft buttery cream. Works well (but not wonderfully) when dipped in tea. Impossible to only eat one, however, which does make you feel like a despicable glutton. Also, a bugger to pronounce.
1/ Rich tea
Straight in at number one, the old classic and darling of all our hearts. Best served dipped in tea, it is great fun to see how long you can hold it in the hot brew before it disintegrates. One biscuit can keep me going for hours, both in the savouring and the digesting of it. Look on my rich tea, ye mighty, and despair!
And the ones that don’t quite make it out of the tin and onto the plate.
- Jaffa cake (identity crisis biscuit).
- Custard cream (not a patch on its bourbon cousin).
- Garibaldi (can’t get past the stupid name).
- Party ring (I’m not sure this even counts as a biscuit, it’s a horrible over-sweet assault on the taste buds. Also way too hard. And gaudy. Definitely bottom of the list.).