Talk:Biscuit

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Two articles?[edit]

In its introduction and Etymology sections, this article does a good job of describing the two meanings of the word. Then, with no clarification, the History and Biscuits today sections talk only about the British meaning. IMHO this is misleading and unencyclopedic.

There is a separate article on the American biscuit, but no separate article on the British. It seems to me that both should be covered in one article or, possibly better, this article, plus one on the British biscuit and another on the American one. Lou Sander (talk) 13:46, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

I agree with this, if the article is about the UK meaning it should be made clear. Carenthos (talk) 17:52, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

The USA is the only anglophone country (with the exception of certain parts of Canada) where they call a scone a biscuit, yet the article talks about 'global confusion' over the definition. Isn't this a little USA-centric? Perhaps, the USA definition should redirect to the article about scones? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 188.220.70.14 (talk) 02:03, 20 October 2012 (UTC)
American biscuits aren't scones. Scones are quickbreads. American biscuits aren't. You'd know if you've had both (I have). This article is decidedly "Americans are dumb in their nomenclature" slanted. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.195.128.195 (talk) 16:25, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
I've never seen an American biscuit. Could you explain how it differs from a scone? I don't see any anti-American bias in the article. Which sentences need cleaning up? Dbfirs 21:55, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
American biscuits are made with baking soda and/or baking powder, never yeast, so I'm not sure why the above poster thinks they're not quick breads. In American usage, biscuits are always round and usually unsweetened and unflavored, where scones are usually triangular and contain fruit, nuts or flavorings. But then, if you gave an American a round scone with raisins in it, we'd probably call it a raisin biscuit; a plain triangular scone, some would probably call a scone and some a biscuit. Others might also argue that American scones are made with less fat and are thus much drier and harder. Ibadibam (talk) 00:08, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying the American version. UK scones are usually round with fruit, but they can be made plain or with cheese. Would a UK unsweetened plain scone be the same as an American biscuit? The standard British plain scone (according to the "Be-Ro" recipe book) is made with 8oz flour and 1 12 oz fat together with milk, salt and baking powder (or SR flour). Dbfirs 07:55, 21 March 2013 (UTC)
By my understanding (and it's been a while since I've been to London and eaten a scone), the plain English scone is identical in essence to the standard American biscuit, with slight variations possible in ingredients and preparation. When sweetened, sometimes it's still called a biscuit, sometimes a scone, sometimes shortbread. When savo(u)ry ingredients are added, again, sometimes it's still called a biscuit, sometimes a scone. But when it's triangular, it's almost always a scone.
One source of confusion may be the fact that there is not much of a "scone tradition" in the U.S., so most Americans in the present day probably associate scones with what's sold at bakeries and coffee shops, where they are made larger and denser so as to have a longer shelf life. Biscuits, on the other hand, are either served at restaurants or at home, and are fresher and often warm.
There's also the issue of marketing and intended use. All we're really talking about here is a small quickbread, and the vendor or recipe author may choose to call it whatever they like. In a way, the name is dependent on how and when the food is eaten.
  • Biscuit (U.S.): Round in shape, eaten with/as a main course, especially with breakfast or a meal of Southern cuisine
  • Scone (U.S.): Triangular in shape, usually eaten at breakfast, brunch, or as a snack with tea or coffee
  • Shortcake: eaten for dessert, nearly always with fruit
For maximal precision, we could have three articles, Scone, Cookie and Cracker, with Biscuit (disambiguation) pointing to all three. This would probably please no one: it is neither natural nor recognizable. So what we probably want is:
  • Biscuit (bread)
  • Biscuit - refers only to the globally understood meaning of biscuit, move all bread content to Biscuit (bread), add a hatnote like:
    This page is about the unleavened, sweet or savoury baked good. For the bread product, see Biscuit (bread). For other uses, see Biscuit (disambiguation).
  • Scone - add a see-also hatnote on the Americas section, pointing to Biscuit (bread)
Sound fair? Ibadibam (talk) 20:40, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

For all who see this, especially previous commenters Ibadibam, Dbfirs and Dougweller: The two types of biscuit still cause confusion. The Biscuit (bread) article does a good job with its subject, but is hard to find for Americans who don't know about the other kind. This article, Biscuit does a good job with the hard kind, but its title doesn't specify which kind it is about, which is somewhat puzzling to Yanks, etc. Much confusion could be eliminated if the title of this article clearly specified that it is about the hard kind of biscuit. Hopefully, there is a name for that kind. Then we could have two articles: Biscuit (bread) and Biscuit (whatever). Each article could refer to the long Biscuit (disambiguation) page, and could primarily cover its own type of biscuit, maybe with a few words about the other of the two main meanings of the word. The problem for me is coming up with the (whatever). Any suggestions? Lou Sander (talk) 13:49, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

After a bit of looking around, maybe there should be Biscuit (Commonwealth English) and Biscuit (American English). Maybe there could also be just plain Biscuit, which could have the first paragraph of the current Biscuit article, the picture of the two types, and maybe a bit of comparative etymology, with prominent links to the American and Commonwealth biscuit articles, and a hatnote about disambiguation. As mentioned somewhere above, these foods are culturally important in their respective lands; Wikipedia should be very clear about the differences, and IMHO we aren't quite there yet. Lou Sander (talk) 14:21, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I agree that the articles are still not as clear as they could be. Perhaps your split would work, with this article being about the history of the word, with clear links to articles on the the two very different products at the top, but then where would you put details of continental biscuits that tend not to be hard? Are British-style biscuits not seen in Canada? Dbfirs 20:52, 23 November 2013 (UTC)
I don't know anything about continental biscuits that tend to be hard, and I don't know if British-style biscuits are seen in Canada. I DO know that they are seen here in the U.S., and that it's easy to distinguish between the two types -- they look different, they feel different in the mouth, they taste different, they are sold in different departments of the market, etc. IMHO, the article(s) should explain the differences. Maybe they should be Biscuit (bread) and Biscuit (twice-baked product). I'm not ADVOCATING that; just suggesting it as a possible solution to a thorny problem. As I think about it, though, it seems to me that the true difference is in the form of English that applies to the word, even though there may be some overlap in the usage. Lou Sander (talk) 15:57, 24 November 2013 (UTC)

Why the reference to gingerbread?[edit]

Why does it say under the sub-heading "Biscuits for pleasure" "Main Article: Gingerbread"? Surely there are plenty of non-ginger biscuits (e.g. chocolate biscuits, jammy dodgers, custard creams, lemon puffs, garibaldis, nice biscuits) that are eaten for pleasure. ACEOREVIVED (talk) 10:32, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Probably because when the section is added much was copied from Gingerbread? I really don't know, I've removed it. I think it's inaccurate anyway, see [1] which doesn't even mention gingerbread. Dougweller (talk) 11:18, 7 September 2011 (UTC)
"A little bit of cookie history
The book Cookies and Crackers, Time/Life Books, 1982 (page 5) provides a history of cookies that is perfect for elementary gourmets:
"The art of making cookies and crackers is that of turning simple ingredients into wonderful things....Like cakes and pastries, cookies and crackers are the descendants of the earliest food cooked by man-- -grain-water-paste baked on hot stones by Neolithic farmers 10,000 years ago. The development of cookies and crackers from these primitive beginnings is a history of refinements inspired by two different impulses--one plan and practical, the other luxurious and pleasure-loving. Savory crackers represent the practical and may well have been the first convenience foods: A flour paste, cooked once, then cooked again to dry it thoroughly, becomes a hard, portable victual with an extraordinarily long storage life--perfect for traveling....For centuries, no ship left port without enough bone-hard, twice-cooked ship's biscuit--the word biscuit comes from the Old French biscoit, meaning twice cooked---to last for months, or even years. While sailors and other travelers chewed their way through unyielding biscuits, cooks of the ancient civilizations of the Middle East explored the culinary possibilities of sweetness and richness. These cooks lightened and enriched the paste mixtures with eggs, butter and cream and sweetened them with fruit, honey and finally--when the food became widely available in the late Middle Ages--with sugar... Luxurious cakes and pastries in large and small versions were well known in the Persian empire of the Seventh Century A.D. With the Muslim invasion of Spain, then the Crusades and the developing spice trade, the cooking techniques and ingredients of Arabia spread into Northern Europe. There the word cookies, distinguishing small confections, appeared: The word comes from the Dutch Koeptje [koekje], meaning small cake. By the end of the 14th Century, one could buy little filled wafers on the streets of Paris...Renaissance cookbooks were rich in cookie recipes, and by the 17th Century, cookies were common-place."
Technology of biscuits, crackers, and cookies By Duncan J. R. Manley p. 2" However, the term biscuits was applied originally to dried bread pieces. These were also sweetened and flavoured with spices. Other products like our modern biscuits were made but called by more cake-like names. For example, shortcake and shortbread, short dough types are very ancient. In 1605 there is reference to puff pastry made by placing butter between sheets of rolled out dough. 'Wafers' are probably the oldest types of biscuits; ancient records show that they were widely used in religious ritual. As a type of baked flour product they were introduced into Britain by the Normans from France (c. 1100). They were made on special wafer irons not only by bilkers but also by wafer makers and at home. The products must have been cake-like similar to the gaufres of France today and not the thin crisp sheets we call wafers now. Wafers are made from batters and the recipes, used at least in France, were often enriched with eggs, wine or cheese. In 1605 there is reference to rolled wafers, i.e. wafers with enough sugar in the recipe to allow them to be rolled off the baking plate after baking. They would have been similar to the brandy snaps and rolled wafers of today."
Dougweller (talk) 14:28, 7 September 2011 (UTC)

Need a section devoted to soggy biscuits[edit]

Discuss. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.162.123.52 (talk) 06:55, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Who would be interested in soggy biscuits, other than "dunkers"? Dbfirs 12:28, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
Do you mean this kind of soggy biscuit? If so the answer is definitely no. And I'm not even going to go into whether dunkers would be interested in that! Graham87 14:27, 21 June 2012 (UTC)
I've never heard of your soggy biscuit game (and don't want to). I've also never heard of your Norwegian Hound, presumably with a capital "D", but one lives and learns, even if reluctantly. You are probably correct in your interpretation of 92.162.123.52's request, in which case I should have ignored it. Dbfirs 21:59, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Woefully Incomplete[edit]

This article mentions only 2 of the hundreds of varieties of biscuit; were this not a subject of which americans ignorant, there would probably be a Biscuit Portal here. Shamelessly amerigocentric, barely above stub status for such a culturally significant foodstuff. --2.223.240.211 (talk) 02:43, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

That's not helpful. Insults with no practical suggestions as to how to improve it. I'm not sure if what you want to add is already at List of cookies or if you are thinking along entirely different lines. And if it's incomplete, I'd say that's not because of the editors who have edited it but because of those who haven't edited it, including you. Dougweller (talk) 12:26, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps the OP could tell us which types of biscuit are missing from the list. It is a redirect from List of biscuits, but perhaps we could make the existence of the listing more prominent in the article, rather than just at the end in "See also". I'll try adding a link in the lead. Will this satisfy the "Biscuit Portal" request. I think the article is appropriately international. Dbfirs 12:56, 1 March 2013 (UTC)

Hardtack soaked in brine?[edit]

The article says that "To soften hardtack for eating, it was often dunked in brine, coffee, or some other liquid or cooked into a skillet meal." That sounds really, really weird. I suppose they might have soaked them in seawater, but that still would have required them to drink more fresh water than if they just dipped them in fresh water to start, right? (Assuming they drink any leftover water) In any case, if you mean seawater you should say seawater, because "brine" makes me think of something extra concentrated. Wnt (talk) 15:36, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

Good point. I've added a Cn tag, since the sentence on the whole seems to be unsupported at the moment. Ibadibam (talk) 19:59, 3 May 2013 (UTC)