Fantasy Bob accepts that his reader has a point. Biscuits have been absent from his postings for too long. He therefore wishes to introduce to readers this Scottish beauty, the undisputed greatest biscuit in the world. The Gary Sobers of the pasteleria, aka the Empire Biscuit.
Readers outside Scotland may not be familiar with its delights - poor souls. It was originally known as the Linzer biscuit (as in Linzer Torte), and later the German biscuit, but with the outbreak of the First World War it was patriotically renamed the Empire biscuit, just in case eating it would succour the enemy. Nevertheless in treasonous parts of the east coast of Scotland it is still known as the German biscuit. It has a layer of jam between two soft shortbread biscuits, covered with white water icing and topped with a decorative glace cherry or (as in the photo) jelly-tot. There is nothing better with a cup of tea in the whole world. And quite the best Empire biscuit is to be had from Storrie's Home Bakery in Leith Walk, Edinburgh.
Thoughts of Empire, as well as biscuits, stirred in FB's brain today at the start of the Cricket World Cup. Like other major sports invented in these islands, cricket's spread around the world was facilitated by the British imperial expansion of the 19th Century. However unlike other sports, it never took hold outside the Empire. The Netherlands is the only country to have competed in any Cricket World Cup which was never part of the British Empire. Compare even rugby, where France and Italy are powers and did not bend the knee to Queen Victoria.
Is there an historical explanation? Why did France accept rugby, and get so good at it, but spurn cricket?You might have thought that the country of existentialist philosophy would have found much to appeal in the batter's lonely struggle for authenticity in the face of short pitched bowling. You might equally have thought that Monet and Degas would have seen cricket's aesthetic of white against green as what impressionist painting was made for. But no. FB does not know what got into the French on this one. Or the Germans for that matter.
|Philadelphia - touring England in 1884|
America became an associate member of the ICC in 1965 with which it has continued to have an interesting relationship having been suspended a couple of times. They played in Division 3 of the World Cricket League which took place in January but were unfortunately relegated to Division 4.
The Netherlands developed cricket as a result of their close trade links across the North Sea. Even though they have appeared in the last 3 World Cups, cricket is only the 25th most popular sport there with 6,000 or so players. FB is struggling to list the other 24 sports.
|Cricket in Corfu|
But the Empire is striking back. For it is the emigrant Asian population across the world that is developing cricket in many countries where is was previously unknown. More power to their elbow.
|The Empire biscuit's only competition|
Food of the gods - Test Match Quality.