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)

One Wikipedia article should be about one topic. This one is about two different things and these should be two different articles. One should say "In the USA a biscuit is..." and the other should say "In most English speaking countries a biscuit is...". The current opening violates the wp:refers guidelines, in my opinion. See also content split guidelines. Tayste (edits) 21:00, 7 March 2016 (UTC)

The problem is that both meanings are found in many countries (including America and the UK), and there are some products that are part-way between. All varieties started from the same origins, they just diverged in different ways. Your suggestion would solve the argument over varieties of English. Dbfirs 21:11, 7 March 2016 (UTC)
The article could safely be about the topic of "the word biscuit and how it has evolved", but the current article seems unclear in its scope. (I was just considering rewriting the opaque "See also: Biscuit (bread) and Cookie" hatnote as "This article is about X. For Y, see..." but couldn't work out quite what this article actually thought it was about.) --McGeddon (talk) 11:34, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
@McGeddon: I agree that the article is unfocused. I think there should be two articles: Biscuit (Commonwealth English) and Biscuit (American English), with a disambiguation page named Biscuit. The word refers to two different items in the different variants of English. Their only similarity is that they are small, baked, snack-like foods. Lou Sander (talk) 15:40, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
Given the current organization of articles, this page is about the General/British usage-term, which encompasses a variety of sweet and savory baked goods that are generally flat and crispy, while Biscuit (bread) is for the other one. I recommend we rewrite the lead paragraph to reflect this. Ibadibam (talk) 21:32, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
Good idea! I changed the introduction to do that, stating that this article is about the flat, crispy kind, and that readers should look to Biscuit (bread) for the softer, leavened kind. I propose to remove the "North America" subsection at the bottom of this article, just to make that point more strongly. Lou Sander (talk) 02:01, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
How are we distinguishing between the biscuit and the cookie (which has its own article)? Crisp versus chewy? Or should we be merging these articles? --McGeddon (talk) 08:40, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
Good question! As an American who eats a lot of baked goods, I perfectly understand what a Biscuit (bread) is to us/me. The article with that name covers it accurately and in depth. I also perfectly understand what a cookie is to us/me; they can be hard like Oreos or soft like Fig Newtons, and they are always sweet. Their article covers them accurately and in depth. I know that non-Americans call them biscuits. I'm slightly aware that non-American biscuits, unlike cookies, can be savoury as well as sweet. I know that what we call crackers can be savory, sweet, or neither. Some of the sweet ones, notably graham crackers and animal crackers, might be a bit cookie-like, but nevertheless are crackers, and are marked as such on their boxes. Lou Sander (talk) 09:13, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
See if this comes close (I'm American so I'm basing this on what I've read here and on internet forums − feel free to edit this):
US→
↓UK
Cookie Cracker Biscuit Scone
Cookie
Biscuit
Scone Buttermilk biscuit Blueberry scone
The outlier being that in parts of Scotland, "cookie" can mean what most Britons call a "bun" and what Americans would either call a "bun" or "roll". (And that Americans have no real descriptor for what the British call crackers.) Ibadibam (talk) 19:07, 17 May 2016 (UTC)

British English[edit]

An IP editor recently changed the spelling to American English. I think this edit [1] established British English, so I reverted the change. Please correct if my analysis is in error. The article is about biscuits worldwide. Dbfirs 09:59, 7 March 2016 (UTC)

If you look at any of the edits before the one you chose, you would see that they were all in American English. It's fine to make the article about biscuits and british cookies, but, the article started out using American English (if nothing else, putting jam on a biscuit to a brit would be akin to an American putting jell-o on a cookie, something I don't think was meant)...so I've reverted back to the original form of english. Cheerio! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:C7D:CA0D:8C00:E8B9:7180:BB14:96AA (talk) 20:17, 7 March 2016 (UTC)
Well, no. The current article is about biscuits world-wide. The variety of English for the article was established by the first regional spelling in the difference to which I linked. This is how Wikipedia works. See WP:ENGVAR: "When an English variety's consistent usage has been established in an article, maintain it in the absence of consensus to the contrary." and "the variety used in the first non-stub revision is considered the default. If no English variety was used consistently, the tie is broken by the first post-stub contributor to introduce text written in a particular English variety." Dbfirs 20:37, 7 March 2016 (UTC)
I attest the first variety of English for the article was established by the use of Jelly to mean fruit preserves as opposed to gelatin dessert. Sorry mate. It was American English first. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:C7D:CA0D:8C00:E8B9:7180:BB14:96AA (talk) 21:21, 7 March 2016 (UTC)
Look in any British supermarket and you will see "blackcurrent jelly" (and other varieties) as fruit preserves. Use of "Jello" would have established ENGVAR. Sorry, mate. Dbfirs 21:39, 7 March 2016 (UTC)
An American editor started the article about an obviously American topic. By Engvar then, it has strong national ties to America, as it is a bona fide cultural food in the south. You are not correct in assuming that the usual parlance for jelly is a fruit preserve and not jello. As it stands, nobody puts Jello on their biscuits, only jam or jelly (or perhaps butter/margarine). As you stated that, you basically agreed that this started in American English. You are mistaken, mate, in thinking that this is at all a british topic. Sorry, the sun has set on this article being falsely in british english — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:C7D:CA0D:8C00:E8B9:7180:BB14:96AA (talk) 21:48, 7 March 2016 (UTC)
I'm fully aware of the difference between Jello and jelly. My point was that we have both jelly and jam as fruit preserves to put on scones on this side of the pond, so use of the word jelly does not establish American English. The article as it stands is about biscuits throughout the world. Dbfirs 21:58, 7 March 2016 (UTC)
Putting a British English tag on the article doesn't make it so. The article was started in, and still is, in American English. This is an article about...biscuits. Honestly. It was started in one variety of english. I was rolling back obvious AmEn to BrEn engvar violations, noticed it, and changed it back. Not a huge problem, except I can see you've been commenting on this issue for 4 years. I take it you really really like cookies? If I go to Jelly the UK definition is "Gelatin dessert, referred to as jelly in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and other countries"
I'll edit the Jelly article to reflect British usage. You were changing established spelling that had been in place for years. Since we seem unable to agree, I've asked for a third opinion at Wikipedia:Third opinion. Dbfirs 22:13, 7 March 2016 (UTC)
Fair enough. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:C7D:CA0D:8C00:E8B9:7180:BB14:96AA (talk) 22:18, 7 March 2016 (UTC)
The article biscuit was originally created with US focus and gradually came to encompass all foods called biscuit. In January 2010, Trident13 raised a discussion, the ultimate outcome of which was to split off the US food to biscuit (bread), leaving the remaining page solely covering the Commonwealth-English sense of the word. The effective result of the expansion and split of the biscuit article is that the original article was moved and the current article created in its place (it just happens that two articles existed on the same page for a number of years, employing the simultaneous use of differing English variants in different sections). I would consider this revision as the earliest version of the current article, and the one that should be considered for ENGVAR. Ibadibam (talk) 21:00, 8 March 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for a third opinion, Ibadibam. I appreciate that the history is complicated by the split. The biscuit (bread) article correctly uses American English, but this article should correctly retain British English as per the oldest version you mention above, and also according to the usual rule determined by the first regional spelling in 2004. Dbfirs 21:13, 8 March 2016 (UTC)
For the record, I'm not your official third opinion, but rather an editor who has been active in maintaining and discussing this page for some time. I would still welcome a contribution from a disinterested party via 3-O. Ibadibam (talk) 21:27, 8 March 2016 (UTC)
Apologies for the misunderstanding, but thank you anyway for your analysis. I look forward to an independent opinion from a disinterested party. Dbfirs 21:32, 8 March 2016 (UTC)
As biscuit has been delisted from the 3O board, you may consider my comments the requested third opinion. Ibadibam (talk) 23:22, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
Thank you. Dbfirs 23:25, 14 March 2016 (UTC)
I respectfully disagree with Ibadiabam's analysis . This article was started in one sense of the word. If anything, the British English sense of the word (cookie) should be a disambiguation, as opposed to the original purpose of the article, and truer sense of the word and meaning, and more widely acknowledged and used sense of the word, being relegated to a mere disambiguation. British English should not get automatic top placement solely because of sneak editors trying to use creeping britishisms to overtake wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:C7D:CA0D:8C00:4CA0:A05B:AE5A:9A66 (talk) 06:47, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
I understand your viewpoint, but the current article is about world usage of the term, and there is now a separate article for American usage. There were no sneak editors, and from this side of the pond it seems as if American editors are taking over. Wikipedia tries to be fair to all varieties of the language. The only other solution would be to have separate editions for the two main varieties of English, and this has been suggested, but it has many disadvantages. Dbfirs 08:29, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
Anonymous editor, if your objection is to the scope of the current article, that's a topic for another discussion. The current article scope was not arrived at by "sneak editors" but by consensus through discussion (to which I have already linked in my first comment above). What you're doing now, however, is circumventing discussion by edit warring, which is not helping your case. I'm willing to enter into a request for comment on the organization and perspective of the information in biscuit, biscuit (bread) and biscuit (disambiguation), if you're willing to respect the process by not editing the pages in the meantime. However, if you continue to repeat your changes to the article and the header of this talk page, the likelihood is that the pages will be semi-protected and you will not be able to represent your viewpoint. Ibadibam (talk) 19:39, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
There should not be an argument about American editors taking over. However there is a fundamental problem with the approach Wikipedia takes. The language adopted by the original editor of an article is inherently an arbitrary choice for the spelling then locked into the article. The more sophisticated approach would be to adopt standard (ie. British) spelling everywhere. American English is a non-standard variety of English. British English is not a variant of American English, but the other way around. This article is about a term most commonly used in British English, not American English, so British English would be more appropriate even with the current rulesRoyalcourtier (talk) 22:11, 7 May 2016 (UTC)