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Taking the Biscuit: How a long-life ration became the quintessential British comfort food

During lockdown we not only spent more money on biscuits, we also baked more of them ourselves: so what's the lasting appeal of this sweet snack? Sheila Dillon finds out.

Biscuits aren’t just a classic accompaniment to a cuppa: they’re also somehow an edible comforter - very often providing a link to childhood, to family, to happy memories. And of course, giving that all-important sugary pick-me-up.

All of which goes some way towards explaining why, over just one month of lockdown, the UK spent an extra £19 million on biscuits, according to market research firm Kantar; and why baking biscuits helped keep so many of us sane during what's been a tough year.

But there is more to the humble biscuit than comfort. This is a food that helped shape wartime rations, that was front and centre of Britain's factory revolution, that formed the basis for an industry that employed thousands and shaped neighbourhoods - and today, remains a key component of the UK's food manufacturing and trade sectors.

So what's the secret to their success? Sheila Dillon finds out.

Produced by Lucy Taylor for BBC Audio in Bristol.

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29 minutes

Broadcasts

  • Sun 4 Oct 2020 12:32
  • Mon 5 Oct 2020 15:30

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Can comfort foods really make you feel better?

Can comfort foods really make you feel better?

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