The Artful Jammy Dodger

One thing I love about being an expat is occasionally you come across something completely new -- even when you have lived in your new country for a very long time.

Having watching the movie Oliver when I was a kid, I knew a lot about the Artful Dodger, but not so much about the Jammy Dodger.

In the new role I took on at work -- now not so new as it was almost a year ago -- I am now working in a U.K. team of all Brits (with the exception of me and one other expat from Ireland). These work colleagues -- well actually one particular work colleague -- are really into biscuits and we were discussing my new-found love for jammy dodgers. It then transpired that I had never had a Penguin, a Trio, a Wagon Wheel, a Gold Bar, an Orange Club or a Breakaway. I mean, what have I been doing the past 15 years in the U.K.?

You would think that we lived in a very global world, but the truth is, it really isn't always so global. I often find that the Brits I know here (including the Hub) grew up eating very different food, watching different T.V. shows and now we know, eating very different biscuits!

The first thing we should get clear is exactly what I mean by "biscuit". As my sister-in-law asked me after watching Bake Off from the U.S., "So, what is a biscuit?" (She also asked me why Bake Off takes place in a tent, which I feel is a question that could fill a whole other blog post.*)  

It's very complex, my friends. A biscuit can be either sweet or savory. If it is sweet, it is what an American would call a cookie; or if it is savory, it is what an American would call a cracker. The confusion lies in the fact that Brits will call one kind of biscuit a cookie: a chocolate chip cookie. I think this is because they consider this to be strictly an American thing. 

As for what Americans call a biscuit, they just don't understand this. I have tried to explain what an American biscuit is, but I can't communicate it at all. I think they will just have to go to America and try one. Maybe one with gravy and one with strawberries. 

Anyway... so I got to play guinea pig, and it was fun. The verdict is that I loved the Penguin and thought the Breakaway was O.K., but the rest I didn't really like (caveat: I haven't tried Wagon Wheels yet. I think we still need to secure some). But nothing could compete with the Jammy Dodger. I am pretty picky when it comes to food -- particularly sweet things. We're talking about a child who didn't like cake, only pie, and so had to have a birthday pie. Which really could go some way to explaining why I like Jammy Dodgers so much.

There are many great things about being an expat, as well as some not-so-great ones: you win some, you lose some. But getting to sample a parade of new biscuits in the office is definitely a win.

*The short answer to this question is: it is not a tent. It is a marquee. The Brits just love their marquees. I will write a blog post of this soon. Watch this space.

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