Colm O'Regan: Sometimes all you want is a biscuit

Surely an institution like a biscuit, the defence of which was a key element of the 1916 Rising, deserves a course all by itself.
Colm O'Regan: Sometimes all you want is a biscuit

It’s been a good meal. The first in a nice (by ourselves, no chips) restaurant since The Thing.

We didn’t have a booking, but the front desk person agreed to squeeze us in if we could be finished by 8 o’clock. I assured them we would be.

We both grew up in families where the spuds sat in the middle of the table in the middle of the day and the faster you ate the more you ate.

I still don’t have any idea why some people take so long over dinner. Talking? Someone might call to the door and interrupt. There could be a revolution starting and you don’t want to be leaving your charcuterie board half-finished to race to the safety of the garrison. You can talk later.

If either of us were on the TV show First Dates we’d definitely be going out to the toilet, not to phone best mate Lee/Bev but to just wait for our date to stop ‘opening up’ and DO SOMETHING WITH THEIR CUTLERY.

Even still, our lip-smacking assault on the plates surprised even us. We fell on their food. We were like that scene in Nearly Every Film where an urchin gets rescued by the wealthy family and semi-scandalises them by taking a bite out of a leg of fowl, a hunk of bread and a peach at the same time.

The 8 o’clock deadline was not in danger. By 7.20pm we’d bought ourselves time for dessert. The menu re-appeared but…

With no disrespect to the wonderful profession of dessert making, baking, pastry chef-ing, the delightful presentation of nice ice cream and doing little squiggles with chocolate sauce and a dusting of icing sugar, sometimes all you want is a biscuit.

Surely an institution like a biscuit, the defence of which was a key element of the 1916 Rising, deserves a course all by itself.

They don’t even need to be made. The cheese board isn’t curdled out the back. Most places don’t have a vineyard. And not amaretto either.

If I want almondness, I’ll specifically request. I just want the option of a custard cream.

And this is not a pot-shot at the beleaguered restaurant industry who have been through so much. I am on your side. The markup on biscuits would be HUGE. You don’t even have to get nice ones. Just a few Aldi Versions Of Hobnobs for 80 cent and knock them out at a euro a biscuit. I will pay that. Why not? We’re having a slap-up meal. I’ve already paid for a taxi. I’m throwing caution to the wind. And I don’t think it will impact the dessert profession. In fact you’ll capture those planning on deserting without dessert. You just gently point out the biscuit option and watch them visibly relax.

And yes we could share a dessert but that just becomes a spoon duel. Give me two, sorry what am I saying? I mean four, biscuits and I’ll be very happy. Yes, I could get them elsewhere afterwards, but I’m not going home for a while and I’m not going into Spar to buy a packet of biscuits. Well I mean obviously I am because I have been denied them in the restaurant.

I realise that my words carry weight especially with all the biscuits I’m buying and there are consequences. The fetishisation of the ordinary biscuit could lead some hipster to open a vastly overpriced Biscuit Café in Shoreditch but let the market take care of that. For now, the demand is simple. Please, pretty please, with sugar on top (if it’s a Nice), let’s have biscuits on the menu.

  • Colm will be playing two shows (3pm and 8pm) at the Whale Theatre, Greystones next Saturday. Biscuits will be on the rider.

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