Today I decided that life comes down to biscuit choices. Really nothing says more about a person than the biscuits they chose to spend their hard-earned money on and how they chose to eat them. Do you eat your biscuits with tea? Do you dunk your biscuits in said tea? Do you dunk those crumbly oat cookies your grandma makes in your tea? And if so, why do you hate yourself? Ain’t nobody got time for that lumpy tea-pulp. Americans everywhere want to know whether you bite or twist your Oreos and British people will fight you over whether a Jaffa Cake is a biscuit or a cake (right answer: a CAKE. That gloopy, plastic, orange mess does not deserve a place at the biscuit table). Biscuits have always been a matter of national concern and it’s high time we took note of what this says about us.
If you can’t get on board with my Jaffa CAKE opinion or equating the importance of biscuit choices to voting in the general election, then I suggest you hop off this gravy train now.
Biscuits are an integral part of British culture. Everyone can remember their family’s cookie jar on the top shelf or the tartan biscuit tin that had been re-filled so many times no one could remember what it originally held. Forget decorating the tree or hanging out your stocking, it never feel like Christmas until someone cracked out the seasonal biscuit selection. Custard Creme? I’ll take that gold-wrapped, praline-filled, chocolate swirl crunch, thank you very much. Maybe I’m just really craving a chocolate digestive, but I firmly believe biscuits are to Britain what cheese is to France; no other country will ever quite understand our love for tea and biscuits, just as we will never be able to pull off wine and cheese like the French. However, a recent Waitrose survey of the nation’s biscuit habits (I told you we took this shit seriously) revealed that our biscuit preferences are leaving a lot to be desired. The results of the survey and what this says about us as a people are brilliantly laid out in this game-changing (okay now I may be getting carried away) article by Joel Golby. Regardless of your investment in the nation’s Malted Milk consumption, its nonetheless a good read. Based on our biscuit choices its fair to say that if Britain were a colour, it would beige.
So, now we know that most British people are not taking full advantage of the glorious range of biscuit choices out there. Beyond pitying the nation’s taste buds, this is a worrying example of just how far conformity stretches here. Before shutting your laptops and dismissing this as the ravings of a cookie-craving lunatic, ask yourself where the logic lies in choosing a biscuit which both resembles and tastes like cardboard over a chocolate-coated, caramel-filled, or pink-coloured treat? Both are unhealthy and contain little to no nutritional value whatsoever. Why not call a treat a treat and actually enjoy your snack time? The answer is depressingly simple. We’re used to it. I’ve had Rich Tea biscuits in my house ever since I can remember and am guilty of munching on them over a banana (which has more flavour for Christ’s sake) countless times. We’ve grown up with beige biscuits and so we continue to buy the beige biscuits, even passing by the triple-chocolate cookies on offer as we do so.
So what? I hear you cry. So what if we eat what we eat and like what we like? Why do you care whether I call a Jaffa Cake a biscuit and chose plain digestives over chocolate ones? Why does it matter if it tastes like cardboard I’ve never learnt to question anything ever? You probably weren’t thinking that last one. But that is what it boils down to. We are a nation of conservative traditionalists no matter what the desperately self-aware graffiti in Shoreditch tells you. We are cardboard consumers who buy the same biscuits our nan did during the war and keep electing the same two political parties we profess to hate because we’re scared of change.
British Beige Conformity (the true BBC, if you will) has us believing that we do not have the power to change anything, that society’s course was determined years before we were born and we are just another wave in a sea of people all being controlled by the same current. Malted Milk are the norm and we’ve never questioned why. Media outlets raved about Gogglebox so we don’t question why the fuck we’re willing to waste our valuable time watching other people watch TV. Only Tory and Labour have a chance of getting elected so you have to pick a side regardless of how much you prefer the policies of the Green Party, Lib Dems, or UKIP (I’m trying to be unbiased but if you actually vote UKIP you can slither away from my blog right now, ta). Most British people regard their right to vote like an award for participation: a nice little acknowledgement of their existence but, ultimately, meaningless. Picture the average British person today. They’re probably curled up in their armchair with a brew and a packet of Walker’s Shortbread, trying to fill the hole the finale of Great British Bake Off has left in their lives with re-runs of Come Dine With Me and moaning about the government they probably couldn’t even be bothered to vote against. We as a nation need a serious shaking. My point is that we are all having shit shoved down our throats regardless of whether it’s in the form of biscuits, television, or politics. And we can either mindlessly adopt the rich tea brigade’s googlebox approach to life and accept it or we can grab the metaphorical chocolate chip cookie with both hands and ingest all the sugar-coated junk that is our socio-political landscape knowingly and, hopefully, critically.