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|Flour, butter, yeast, milk|
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A Bath Oliver is a hard, dry biscuit or cracker made from flour, butter, yeast and milk; often eaten with cheese. It was invented by physician William Oliver of Bath, Somerset around 1750, giving the biscuit its name.
When Oliver died, he bequeathed to his coachman, Mr. Atkins, the recipe for the Bath Oliver biscuit, together with £100 and ten sacks of the finest wheat-flour. Atkins promptly set up his biscuit baking business and became rich. Later the business passed to a man named Norris who sold out to a baker called Carter. After two further changes of ownership, in the 1950s the Bath Oliver biscuit recipe passed to James Fortt.
The reference to Bath Oliver biscuits by Mary Norton in 'The Borrowers' 1952 evokes an Edwardian gentility: ...and it would comfort him to see, each evening at dusk, Mrs. Driver appear at the head of the stairs and cross the passage carrying a tray for Aunt Sophy with Bath Oliver biscuits and the tall, cut-glass decanter of Fine Old Pale Madeira."
Similarly, Bath Oliver biscuits seem to evoke a nostalgic, very English, idyll in the first chapter of Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling: "[the child heroes of the story] were not, of course, allowed to act on Midsummer Night itself, but they went down after tea on Midsummer Eve, when the shadows were growing, and they took their supper—hard-boiled eggs, Bath Oliver biscuits, and salt in an envelope—with them. [...] Everything else was a sort of thick, sleepy stillness smelling of meadow-sweet and dry grass." Also the biscuts are a favorite of Inspector Lestrade in the M.J.Trow mystery series.
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