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cookie culture shock - helen-louise
baratron
baratron
cookie culture shock
irc log from #commonroom, posted with permission of the participants. Typos mostly uncorrected :)

baratron: what on earth is "snickerdoodles"?
baratron: someone posted on ukvegans asking for recipes for Christmas cookies. i pondered that one all day - wondering if they meant speculaas or one of the german spiced cookies that i don't know the names of.
JenW:     cookies!
JenW:     yummy cookies!
baratron: finally asked what on earth she meant, and she said "I just meant like seasonal cookies that people make and eat at Christmas. Like with cinnamon, sugar cookies, vanilla, snickerdoodles, that kinda thing. "
baratron: wtf?
baratron: we have mince pies, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake and Yule logs - no cookies that I'm aware of
JenW:     snickerdoodles are rolled in cinnamon and sugar
baratron: that's not helping me
baratron: i make pretzels in cinnamon sugar, are they like that?
JenW:     no, they're something like a sugar cookie
Andygal:  mm...pretzels!
JenW:     small and crunchy but chewy inside
baratron: what on earth is a "sugar cookie"?!
JenW:     ummm
baratron: like a macaroon?
JenW:     butter cookie?
JenW:     soft
JenW:     the kind you cut into shapes
baratron: i don' get how a soft butter cookie could be crunchy and chewy?
baratron: like shortbread?
baratron: you cut that into shapes
JenW:     it's crispy outside, but soft/chewy once you start eating it
baratron: sounds like maybe shortbread
baratron: shortbread gets dipped in sugar, but i've never seen it dipped in cinnamon
JenW:     http://littlemissmay.com/images/blog06/060525_snickerdoodles03.jpg
JenW:     *thicker
* baratron blinks
baratron: i have no idea what that is
baratron: i'm back to thinking macaroons again
Lythdan:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snickerdoodle
baratron: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macaroon :)
JenW:     I'm not sure I've had macaroons...are they not coconut-y or am I thinking of something else?
JenW:     ah :)
JenW:     okay I've never had real macaroons lol
baratron: wikipedia's talking shite because none of the people currently in this house nor my dutch friend who's on irc right now have ever heard of snickerdoodles, and wikipedia says "Snickerdoodles are a traditional Christmas cookie in The Netherlands."
baratron: no, that would be speculaas
baratron: which was precisely what i asked if she wanted a recipe for!
Lythdan:  Maybe they call them something else there?
JenW:     the cream of tartar is the real key I think...gives it a bit of a different taste
baratron: speculaas is the christmas cookie of the netherlands - well, it's a st nicholas day thing. dec 6th.
JenW:     no idea how common that is though :P
baratron: i have speculaas all year round 'cos i love them
baratron: and oddly, they're sold here as "caramelised sugar biscuits"
baratron: so could they, indeed, be the same thing as a "sugar cookie"?
baratron: except i thought Jen had had them before
baratron: or was that ness?
JenW:     Ness had
baratron: ahh!
baratron: ok, thye're speculaas
baratron: i'm delighted to have that mystery solved :D
JenW:     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_cookie
baratron: yup
Andygal:  sugar cookies aren't shortbread, they are thin cookies.
baratron: speculaas have cream of tartar in, i just read the ingredients
JenW:     isn't shortbread hard-ish?
baratron: depends
JenW:     cool, then they are the same thing or very similar :)
baratron: speculaas have a lot more different spices in, though
baratron: cinnamon + a whole blend of other things, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cardamon, pepper
baratron: i tend to get the sweet cinnamon-only ones, though. which are also vegan :)
JenW:     hm, they are a simplified version then, perhaps
JenW:     :)
Andygal:  shortbread is usually thicker then sugar cookies though isn't it?
baratron: most of the more exciting ones have egg and butter in
baratron: yes - if indeed speculaas and snickerdoodles are the same, they're not much like shortbread
baratron: shortbread also has no raising agent in tht i'm aware of
baratron: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shortbread
JenW:     aha, yeah, I think I have had that kind of shortbread
JenW:     heh heh :)
Lythdan:  hehe
JenW:     this is the snickerdoodle recipe I use, if anyone cares :P lol
JenW:     http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Snickerdoodle-Mix-in-a-Jar/Detail.aspx
JenW:     it's actually one of those things where you're supposed to make the mix to give to someone as a gift
baratron: where you're supposed to make _the mix_ to give to someone as a gift...?!!
baratron: _the mix_?!!!!!!
baratron: uh....
JenW:     heh yeah
JenW:     lol
JenW:     you wrap it up sort of pretty, with the recipe attached
JenW:     must be an American thing :)
baratron: uh... how in god's name is that a present?
baratron: here, make your own cookies.
JenW:     ummm pretty much :)
JenW:     part of the work is already done
baratron: you're too stupid to know how to make this simple recipe, so i premixed some of the ingredients and printed the recipe on the jar
JenW:     LOL
Andygal:  LOL
JenW:     yeah, I'd say the hot chocolate mix in a jar is probably a better gift than the cookies :)
baratron: richard says "do you think it's the sort of thing a mother would send to her floundering son on his first christmas away from home along with the clean laundry?"
baratron: wtf is "hot chocolate mix"?!
JenW:     hee hee! yes probably actually lol
JenW:     hot cocoa
baratron: no, i know what hot chocolate is, i have it all the time. what on earth is the "mix" for it?
JenW:     sugar, cocoa, not sure what else
baratron: you buy hot chocolate powder from the supermarket
JenW:     yeah, it's basically that but homemade...no idea what all is in it
baratron: uh... that's weird
baratron: i'm having almost as much culture shock as when i found out a strip mall wasn't a place you go to see strippers.

Tags: , ,
Current Mood: amused amused

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Comments
treacle_well From: treacle_well Date: 22nd December 2006 02:19 (UTC) (Link)
That is amusing.

Also:

richard says "do you think it's the sort of thing a mother would send to her floundering son on his first christmas away from home along with the clean laundry?"

Why yes, yes it is. It's useful for someone who doesn't ordinarily have baking ingredients on hand. It's useful for when someone doesn't want to bother or take the time to measure out dry ingredients individually (in some cases that's very handy--I make myself waffle mix so I can just scoop the dry stuff out, stir in some liquid, and there I have it--waffle batter in a jiffy).

How is it as good a gift as actual cookies would be? Well, upon using it, the person gets to have fresh, warm from the oven cookies (which is only sometimes the case with a gift of actual cookies). Also they get to have cookies later, after they are no longer buried under all the pre-made cookies that everyone else gave them.

(Deleted comment)
hobbitbabe From: hobbitbabe Date: 22nd December 2006 03:49 (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I think Canadian lemonade is sorta halfway between lemon squash and bitter lemon in the UK.

I don't actually like the vegetable very much, so I don't know if there is a different word for it in Britain. Hmm. Were there any in the Wallace and Gromit movie? Zucchini aka courgette aka zucchini squash is one kind. Also, I don't know if marrow aka vegetable marrow counts as a squash.
(Deleted comment)
jinian From: jinian Date: 22nd December 2006 05:50 (UTC) (Link)
As best I can tell, genus Cucurbita is originally American, and that's all the edible squashes. Other food crops in the same family, like watermelons, are from Africa, and certainly squashes can be grown about anywhere. I'm pretty sure there are pumpkins (the same species as many other edible squashes, just very highly bred) in Britain now; surely there aren't still turnips being used as jack-o-lanterns.
baratron From: baratron Date: 22nd December 2006 14:12 (UTC) (Link)
Butternut squash exists, but it's a very new thing - it's been around maybe 2-3 years. We have carrots, swede, parsnip and turnip as winter vegetables. Pumpkins are now imported around Halloween for people to carve, but I've only ever known one British person eat what they scraped out of the pumpkin.

Squash is indeed a drink - fake orange juice like Sunny Delight, full of artificial colours and flavours with very little juice content, only sold as a concentrate rather than pre-mixed. If you've ever had Capri Sun, that's a ready-mixed orange squash.

We've only had courgette (zucchini) for about 15 years. Prior to that, it was always grown into marrows (the big monstrous things referred to in that Wallace & Gromit film). This seems very odd to me, because courgettes are yummy, especially baby courgettes (the ones about 3 inches long), whereas marrows are vile.
From: pir Date: 22nd December 2006 14:40 (UTC) (Link)
Sunny Delight is a different beast than orange squash. Squash isn't really bad for you and isn't full of vegetable oil.
From: pir Date: 22nd December 2006 14:51 (UTC) (Link)
I only came across sugar cookies when I lived in the US, they don't really have an equivilent in the UK.

There are a few of the premade biscuits that are functionally equivilent but not taste/style. I can't say I miss sugar cookies in the slightest since I left...
From: rivka Date: 22nd December 2006 03:38 (UTC) (Link)
You don't have Christmas cookies in the UK? At all? There are no traditional biscuits that people make at Christmastime? Every family doesn't have their own set of biscuit recipes that they make every year at Christmas, and that define the flavor of Christmas for that family?

...Whoa. This is me experiencing culture shock.
syllopsium From: syllopsium Date: 22nd December 2006 11:42 (UTC) (Link)
Nope. Mince pies. Christmas cake. Christmas pudding. Sprouts. Nuts. Turkey. stuffing. cranberry sauce. gravy. quite often sausages. In recent times, stollen is becoming quite popular too.
baratron From: baratron Date: 22nd December 2006 14:20 (UTC) (Link)
People in the UK don't generally make biscuits at all. We buy them. Our biscuits are like dwarf bread in the Discworld books: hard and last forever in a tin - months, at least. The only time people make biscuits is if they're trying to make soft American-style chocolate chip cookies, or if they're a freak of nature like me. Even then, it's now possible to buy a large number of dairy-free and/or gluten-free biscuits.

The website Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down and, particularly, the corresponding book have reviews of just about every biscuit on sale in the UK, plus a few old favourites that got discontinued years ago but we still remember fondly.
rhialto From: rhialto Date: 27th December 2006 00:22 (UTC) (Link)
biscuits - from the french "bis cuits" (and in dutch it is pronounced much more like the french but the spelling is sometimes dutchified to "biskwie") is something like "cooked (baked) twice". No wonder it is hard and dry.

I was reading http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speculaas and at the bottom it gives an interesting origin for the dutch expression "iemand versieren" (lit. to decorate someone, meaning to chat someone up), which involves decorating a speculaas doll and giving it to the fancied girl.
hobbitbabe From: hobbitbabe Date: 22nd December 2006 03:47 (UTC) (Link)
Do you have Peek Frean brand of biscuits in the UK? If yes, then I think maybe sugar cookies are like the Peek Frean "Nice Biscuits".
baratron From: baratron Date: 22nd December 2006 14:27 (UTC) (Link)
Nice is just a standard type of biscuit here, not owned by any particular manufacturer. Every supermarket own brand does digestives, chocolate digestives, rich tea, Nice, custard creams and bourbon creams, at the very least. Many of them also do malted milks ("moo cow biscuits"), Viennese fingers, fake Kit Kats and fake American-style chocolate chip cookies (let down by the fact they're solid rather than squidgy). British biscuits have to be made hard enough to withstand being dunked in tea or coffee, you see.

You can now buy "real" American-style chocolate chip cookies from the shopping centre (mall) chains Cookie Jar or Millie's Cookies, or the instore bakeries of large supermarkets, but they last two days at most and cannot be dunked into any hot beverage. In fact, they usually crumble in your hand as you try to eat them.
redbird From: redbird Date: 22nd December 2006 04:25 (UTC) (Link)
I think you might know hot chocolate mix as drinking chocolate.

As it happens, the only hot chocolate mix I have is British--Green and Black's now does a Maya Gold drinking chocolate. Quite nice.

When I'm not using that, I mix cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla extract, and usually orange extract, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt, and add that to heated milk. Basic method from the Droste package, elaborated with flavorings over the years.
hobbitbabe From: hobbitbabe Date: 22nd December 2006 04:37 (UTC) (Link)
Many hot chocolate mixes here in Canada include powdered milk or something similar, so you add them to hot water rather than hot milk. When our kids were little, they used to strongly prefer "real cocoa" to what they called "boyulled hot chocolate", but fortunately didn't mind if the milk got heated in the microwave.
redbird From: redbird Date: 22nd December 2006 13:02 (UTC) (Link)
Some here contain powdered milk; Maya Gold doesn't, and is in fact specifically vegan (the bar form of that particular chocolate is one of the desserts I can offer to vegan friends, using my standards, which are that it has to be something I would eat myself).
baratron From: baratron Date: 22nd December 2006 14:08 (UTC) (Link)
That's just it - a British person wouldn't make a homemade hot chocolate mix, because you'd just buy the one that Cadbury's make in their factory. "Instant" hot chocolate, that contains powdered milk as well as the cocoa powder, sugar, salt & vanilla mixture, exist - but comparatively few people drink that by choice. Generally speaking, only people who hate milk or are on low-calorie diets drink the instant ones, because they are watery by comparison with hot chocolate made with real milk.

I buy Green & Black's standard hot chocolate powder, myself - we buy Fairtrade and Organic wherever possible, and I don't like the Cocodirect hot chocolate at all (it has no vanilla, which is wrong wrong wrong).
redbird From: redbird Date: 22nd December 2006 14:55 (UTC) (Link)
I drink the instant ones, occasionally, when I'm at office jobs or the like and have no way to store/heat milk (given a refrigerator and a microwave, I'll keep cocoa powder in my desk and mix it with warmed milk and sugar when I want to drink it).
trinker From: trinker Date: 22nd December 2006 06:11 (UTC) (Link)
Snickerdoodles are *NOT* speculaas.

Speculaas are a spice cookie, pressed into molds. Snickerdoodles are a sugar (plain butter/shortening and sugar flavored) cookie dropped onto baking sheets and sprinkled with cinnamon; or sprinkled with cinamon, rolled into spirals and sliced before baking.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snickerdoodle notes they may be *German*.

Meanwhile, I'm being mean, but the querent is ...well, a bippyhead. This is what I found in less than a minute's searching for "snickerdoodle recipe vegan": http://vegancore.blogspot.com/2006/05/secret-ingredient-is-evil.html
baratron From: baratron Date: 22nd December 2006 14:03 (UTC) (Link)
And it also says "Snickerdoodles are a traditional Christmas cookie in The Netherlands." Which is most definitely rubbish. So I'm inclined not to trust the Wikipedia on this at all :)
trinker From: trinker Date: 22nd December 2006 15:52 (UTC) (Link)
I did see that. Silly people.

http://www.epicurious.com/cooking/how_to/food_dictionary/entry?id=4630
claims it's NorAm-ish, and I'm more inclined to believe that.
ceno From: ceno Date: 22nd December 2006 08:23 (UTC) (Link)
Am I alone in misinterpreting 'speculaas' for a brief moment there?
From: hatter Date: 22nd December 2006 12:00 (UTC) (Link)
No. You have asked the shortest question to answer, so you get an answer now and I might return to the rest of the thread later.


the hatter
baratron From: baratron Date: 22nd December 2006 14:04 (UTC) (Link)
*snicker*

Yeah, I often freak out people on irc by talking about speculaas... :D

("Speculum", right?)
alexmc From: alexmc Date: 22nd December 2006 14:37 (UTC) (Link)
I haven't read the whole of the chat, but one of my german lodgers made cookies for Christmas. Yum.
From: dwoucke Date: 23rd December 2006 13:30 (UTC) (Link)
don't you have star shape biscuits at christmas?
thekumquat From: thekumquat Date: 23rd December 2006 21:53 (UTC) (Link)
There are certain parts of American cuisine that sadly have never taken off in the UK: going out for brunch, real baked beans, and Christmas cookies.

I grew up making cookies each Christmas - if you're coming to mine for New Years and email me your dietary reqs, I'll make some.
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