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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Biscuits - Wagon Wheels

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas JANUARY. 08, 2021

[160-365] 8th. January 2021- "So big you have to grin to get them in", such was advertising back in the 1960's and 1970's. Today they are simply "Epic inside" which is nowhere near as exciting if you are a young wannabee cowboy like me.

There have been many debates amongst fans of the biscuit about its size. Wagon Wheels have supposedly shrunk in size over time, but Burton's Foods Ltd has denied this. It has been suggested that the supposed shrinkage is due to an adult's childhood memory of eating a Wagon Wheel held in a much smaller hand;

Wannabee cowboys looked like this back then, out on the range, sleeping around campfires and eating beans. That's when we weren't eating Wagon Wheels.

Wagon Wheels are a snack food sold in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, other Commonwealth countries, and the Republic of Ireland. They consist of two biscuits with marshmallow sandwich filling, covered in a chocolate-flavoured coating.

Wagon Wheels were created by Garry Weston, son of W. Garfield Weston. Garry Weston worked for his father's business in Australia before taking over his family's business in England. He placed two Marie biscuits around a marshmallow filling and covered it with chocolate. They were introduced in 1948. The name (originally "Weston Wagon Wheels") relates to the shape of the biscuits and capitalised on the Wild West, which was popular in mass media at the time.

I don't know if I would call them epic inside. There are several meanings to the word epic and I suppose this one is the one intended by the advertiser.

Epic- Heroic or grand in scale or character. While that may be said to apply to me in the photo above I am not sure I would go so far as to say it applied to two fairly soft biscuits and 3mm of marshmallow. In fact I would have thought marshmallow would symbolically be somewhere on the other end of the scale from heroic or grand. I would have thought the nature of marshmallow lent itself more to describing the guy who gets the sand kicked in his face rather than the guy who goes around doing the sand kicking.

Modern day cowboy photographers not only have bigger hands and smaller Wagon Wheels but we also keep plenty of Gingham handy for photographing cowboy gear.

Gingham is a medium-weight balanced plain-woven fabric typically with striped, check or plaid patterns in white and a bright colour made from dyed cotton or cotton-blend yarns. It is made of carded, medium or fine yarns.

It is speculated that the fabric now known as gingham may have been made at Guingamp, a town in Brittany, France, and that the fabric may be named after the town. Some sources say that the name came into English via Dutch. When originally imported into Europe in the 17th century, gingham was a striped fabric, though now it is distinguished by its checkered pattern. From the mid-18th century, when it was being produced in the mills of Manchester, England, it started to be woven into checked or plaid patterns (often blue and white). Checked gingham became more common over time, though striped gingham was still available in the late Victorian period. Wikipedia

Gingham becomes very popular in the USA in the mid to late 19th Century. It is used for clothes and home furnishings. The USA is producing its own cotton and mills locally manufacture gingham fabric and dyes. Gingham fabric remains popular, inexpensive and patriotic. It is a popular fabric for men, women and children and boosts the economy.

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