Irish people love a cuppa tea and a biscuit. Here I reminisce about cups of tea and afternoon biscuits with my Irish mother. Lovely memories of an Irish childhood.
In my teenage years I loved sitting down to a cup of afternoon tea and a few biscuits with my Mom, when I got back from school. Such a perfect time to connect. Mom always listened, as I recounted my tales. I am so thankful she spent a short while chatting with me everyday. I think it made my teenage years less volatile. Little does my Mom realize how much her small investment in time paid off. That ability to let off steam and gain her invaluable insight, kept me balanced as I matured. At least, I think I am fairly balanced!!!
Anyway, I digress. The point of my post today is to discuss biscuits. My American readers now have a vision of me sitting down to a cup of tea and an American biscuit – you know, the hot, buttered, soft bread type, shaped like a small cake.
I am actually referring to cookies. In Ireland and England a cookie is called a biscuit, and a biscuit is called a scone.
When I first came to America I found cookies very sweet, so I just learned to do without, as I sipped my afternoon cuppa.
Then, everything changed, once I had children. I made the mistake of purchasing a packet of Golden Oreos. Now, there is a constant creak of the pantry door, a tell-tale rustling of crinkly wrapping, buzzing around in my ears.
“What are you up to?” I question, knowing full-well, the lure of the pantry.
“I just need one cookie for energy.”
“Just one, then.”
But you know they can never have just one.
My day has been taken over by never-ending cookie appeals. We live in a constant state of cookie mayhem. My diligent provision of raisins, dried mango, and trail mix has gone unrewarded. Initially, I let a few packets of Fig Newtons into the cupboards. You know figs are good for you. But once we relented and opened our first packet of Oreos, they infiltrated the house. The poor raisins lie dried up and shriveled in the back corner of the shelf.
The cookie chaos starts in the morning. Five, possibly ten minutes after breakfast, I hear a well-mannered request.
“Mom, can I have a cookie, please?”
“No. It’s too early for cookies.
Ten minutes later the begging reaches a new level.
“Mom, I’m staaaarving. Can I have a snack?” (Snack is my kid’s code word for cookie, but I speak a different snack language, and interpret it as fruit.)
“Sure, help yourself to an apple or a banana.”
“I don’t feel like fruit. I’d like a cookie.”
Just before lunch, the appeals get desperate.
“How long more will lunch be? Can I have a cookie while I am waiting?”
“No, you’ll ruin your appetite.”
“What’s an appetite?????”
I usually feel a little guilty when I deny their requests for an immediate after-lunch cookie. You see, in the last few years I am indebted to cookies. My taste buds have adapted. I now love American cookies.
Cookies have cheered me up when feeling down, and kindled sweet memories of my childhood, becoming the perfect partner to my cup of tea. My midnight munchies have been satiated by a cookie. My joy has been overwhelming upon discovering a solitary, chipped and rejected Oreo, hidden in the back corner of a presumed empty packet. Oh, what joy!!!
And so, I am a little less harsh when my trio employ their phone strategy. When Mom is distracted, usually talking a mile a minute to someone in Ireland, the covert operation commences. Triplets are canny operatives. One is the lookout. One maneuvers the chair, while the daring one climbs to the cookie shelf to retrieve the packet. I pretend not to hear the crinkly, tear-back of the new, re-sealing packaging. I give in, and let them indulge. Just one, maybe two cookies, or three or four …..
By the time I finish talking on the phone, I have to put the kettle on for a cuppa, and just like Oscar Wilde, I can resist everything but temptation. And so, history repeats itself. We all sit down together for an afternoon cup of tea, or glass of milk, and a cookie. But best of all, cookies are the greatest accompaniment to a chat.
So I can forgive a few cookies each afternoon, if they help keep the air waves open, and the dialogue flowing between Mommy and her four little cookie monsters.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
P.S. Nabisco and McVites have no idea who I am, and have not sponsored this post in any way. I only buy their cookies to indulge my ever so sweet tooth.
If you’re Irish and feel the need to indulge your taste buds with a few Irish biscuits, there’s a great range available from Food Ireland. The link below is an affiliate link which means I will earn a small commission should you purchase a product through this link. The price you pay does not change.
Here are some Irish recipes you might enjoy…