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Welcome! As "Annie in Austin" I blog about gardening in Austin, TX with occasional looks back at our former gardens in Illinois. My husband Philo & I also make videos - some use garden images as background for my original songs, some capture Austin events & sometimes we share videos of birds in our garden. Come talk about gardens, movies, music, genealogy and Austin at the Transplantable Rose and listen to my original songs on YouTube. For an overview read Three Gardens, Twenty Years. Unless noted, these words and photos are my copyrighted work.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Garibaldi Biscuits

Both Philo & I remember liking a kind of shiny-surfaced, flat cookie with a raisin filling when we were growing up in the Chicago area, but we hadn't seen them in years. The flat bars had perforations to break a larger cookie into smaller rectangles.

Recently I read a tweet from James Alexander Sinclair , of Blackpitts Garden, revealing that his Biscuit Blog now had its own twitter account. These aren't American-style baking powder biscuits split to enclose sausage or drenched in gravy... they're what we might classify as cookies.

When Garibaldi biscuits were spoken of on the blog the historical name didn't seem to connect with our cookies of memory, but the photos looked right. Philo's family and mine lived less than a mile apart and our parents shopped at some of the same stores. It's a long time ago, but we think the cookies/biscuits were not bought not in packages but in bulk at the bakery department of a long-gone Chicago chain of department stores called Goldblatts.

Online searches turned up Crawford's Garibaldi Biscuits. While still deciding how nuts it would be to order them and pay the shipping, we stopped for other products at Spec's liquor store here in Austin and found the Garibaldi Biscuits on an aisle of imported treats. They look the same and taste pretty close to what we remember, although the ingredients say "currants" and we're pretty sure the version from the 1960's were filled with raisins. The wrapped and packaged biscuits don't seem to be as chewy as those sold loose and exposed to air from glass bins.
Patient GardenerJane Perrone wrote a post for the biscuit blog musing on the origin of the name Garibaldi Biscuit. A web search turned up a children's book called Garibaldi's Biscuits, written and illustrated by Gonzo artist Ralph Steadman, collaborator with Hunter S. Thompson on Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and apparently... lover of biscuitry.

ED Oct 12 AM Was giving credit to the wrong person for that original Garibaldi post - sorry Helen!


James A-S said...

How lovely to see the Encounters With Remarkable Biscuits spreading its influence far and wide!
It is my experience that most remembered biscuits usually disappoint when revisited.
Garibaldi used to have many more currants.(Always currants, not raisins)
Chocolate biscuits used to have much more chocolate etc etc. 'Tis the gauzy veil of nostalgia!
We would be delighted if you wanted to write a guest post about Biscuits when you had the time.

By the way, it was Helen Johnstone (The Patient Gardener) who wrote the Garibaldi post, not Jane.

patientgardener said...

Yes twas me that wrote about the Garibaldi not Jane

Annie in Austin said...

I apologize for not giving you proper credit as the writer, Helen - and did so enjoy your post!

James, if I buy currants here they'll be a kind of small dried grape from California, fruit of Vitis rather than of Ribes. Do you think the currants in the Garibaldi biscuits are made with true dried fruit of currant shrubs?


nick s said...

The currants in Garibaldis are Vitis, for sure: they're sold as 'Zante currants' in the US, but are just 'currants' in the UK, and remain a staple of the baking aisle, alongside raisins and sultanas. Many, many currants will now be making their way into Christmas cakes, Christmas puddings and fruit mincemeat for mince pies.