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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Biscuits - Bourbon Creams

As a biscuit is twice baked, this post is twice posted as it was lost on the half baked and stored in the biscuit tin that is my hard drive, where still crispy, it is reposted here.

Originally posted on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas DECEMBER. 27, 2020

[143-365] 26th. December 2020- Another Old Timer, The biscuit was introduced in 1910 by the biscuit company Peek Freans, of Bermondsey, London, originator of the Garibaldi biscuit.

The Bourbon name, dating from the 1930s, comes from the former French royal House of Bourbon. A 2009 survey found that the Bourbon biscuit was the fifth most popular biscuit in the United Kingdom for dunking into tea. The small holes in bourbon biscuits are to prevent the biscuits from cracking or breaking during the baking process, by allowing steam to escape. Many other companies make their own version of the biscuit under the "Bourbon" name, including major supermarkets. (Wikipedia)

Peek Freans? I always thought that was the weirdest name for a food company. James Peek and his three brothers hailed from Devon where they started a tea importation company in 1821. To give you a little insight into how obsessed the British were about tea,(ask the people of Boston USA) within just over twenty years the three Peeks (Not the Twin Peaks) were importing tea worth over £5 million a year. James Peek had eight children, so he got the two oldest to start a new business and wanted something related to tea. What better than the objects you dunk in tea, so they started a biscuit company. Unfortunately one of them died young and the other emigrated, so James needed to find someone else to run the company.

He had a niece called Hannah who had married a Mr. Frean, and James thought Peek Frean, weird but catchy, and plus point, Frean was a successful miller and ships biscuit manufacturer, so this being the 1840's James asked Hannah's husband to manage the company, not Hannah, because women's equality had not been invented yet. Don't forget, even most men didn't have the vote at this point, so "vote's for women" was like watching tele transportation on Star Trek today, all a bit far fetched.

Ship's biscuits were how Britain conquered the world. First you kidnapped your crew usually using best Rum in a dark little harbourside pub. Then when they woke up two days later half way to Africa you gave them ship's biscuits, these were biscuits made in steel foundries in the Midlands, they were that hard. You then said all we've got are ship's biscuits, but follow us willingly lads and we'll discover Thai Green Curry and Sweet and Sour Pork and Pappadums and Hot Tea. The rest is history.

The House of Bourbon after whom the biscuits were named had their hands in many different monarchical pies, giving the world Kings, Princes, Dukes, Lords, Ladies, Counts, and Arch Duchesses, not forgetting a few Archbishops thrown into the mix, of every description, variously ruling countries like France, Spain, Parts of Italy, and even Brazil, anywhere really, looking for a cheap Royal family.

They were your original rent-a-royals. Starting another little Grand Duchy? Need a Grand Duchess? Dial Bourbon 000 123."We've got a couple of Isabellas, a nice Anne, and three Maries." In contrast to the British Royal system the Bourbons follow the agnatic system, the direct male line only, which is why you have never heard of a Queen of France in a ruling role, only as the consort of a King. It's why they had so many spare Grand Duchesses. Brazil had it's own monarchy until it was abolished in a coup in 1889.

Having bored you with the family history of the Bourbons there is also a theory that the biscuits were invented by a German who worked at Cadbury in Bournville, UK, and who coined the name from the first four letters of Bournville and the first three of his home town Bonn. You can take your pick, or your Peek.

Many rumours abound about the biscuits containing whiskey arising from the misassumption that they have something to do with that American drink.

All things considered, the home of whiskey bourbon is said to be the Bourbon region in Kentucky, and it was so named after the war of American autonomy as a motion of gratitude to the French lord, the Bourbon Louis XVI, for his assistance against the Brits.

Kentucky briefly thought of having a monarchy and doing a deal with Louis, a sort of buy one get one free, but the negotiations went on too long, four and a half years, France being involved. And what did fish have to do with it? Kentucky doesn't even have a coastline.

Proudly, the bourbon stands at being the very first biscuit to be consumed on the moon by Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin. Of course, Neil Armstrong was the first man to land on the moon, but he was not the first to enjoy a biscuit delicacy on the moon.

Armstrong only had pouches of dust and tubes of paste to enjoy. In fact that is the reason Neil Armstrong didn't hang around very long when he got there, no Bourbon Creams, let alone a hot cup of tea to dunk them in. It's why he only took one small step, no energy.

Having said that, tea would probably have floated away in little brown globules and shorted his circuits, although he could probably have waved Bourbon biscuits around to mop up the globules like a sort of futuristic, weightless, mid air dunk. Imagine if the trip to the moon were saved by having a packet of Bourbon biscuits. It would mean doing a remake of Apollo 13, where back at NASA various scientists do experiments on ways to save the crew and this meek little scientist sitting at the back who nobody has noticed, spills his tea and it runs towards his massive desk sized computer that can just about add two numbers together, but he has left some Bourbon biscuits in the way and the tea runs towards the biscuits and is stopped in it's tracks.

Then there's the key moment in the film as you see the tea in slow motion disappear into the biscuit, and his little meek voice is heard, in a breath holding moment, when everyone realises the crew are going to die, "Hey guys, I think I have an idea, do they have any Bourbon biscuits up there?"

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