Halftime Leisure

Gingerbread teacups, biscuit waistcoats, and very large nuts

October 19, 2020

Call me American, but I have a tumultuous relationship with biscuit week. I know the snappy, uniform, basic, hard-as-rock British “biscuit” situation is designed to be dunked and enjoyed with a cup of tea (unless you ask Mary Berry—she’s not a dunker), but I just love my chewy, massive American cookies too much to consider a simple biscuit on that same level. Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe I was born in the wrong country, but I just can’t embrace this element of Brit culture. To sum up my thoughts, I really felt Noel’s “in America they’re called sidewalks” spiel that kicked off this episode. Please forgive me my British kinfolk, your so-called cultural equivalent to cookies suck. But let’s get this negativity outta here, it’s time to kick off biscuit week! What it lacks in delicious content it certainly makes up for in character.

This episode opens with the contestants’ thoughts on biscuit week, and Peter (the reigning star baker) with his “you know, biscuits can be quite tricky” is cracking me up. Peter is the kid in the class trying to make everyone feel better with “oh yeah this is really tough wow gosh how do they expect us to know this” when, really, they are setting the curve every exam and everyone knows it. Lottie continues with her general fear-of-all-things tent and bearded Mark from Northern Ireland is becoming an adorable favorite. I’d marry either.

The signature is a take on chocolate-dipped florentines, a brittle oatmeal/nut/fruit situation that looks like something I would have avoided at my grandparents’ house. Or maybe great-grandparents, these cookies (sorry, biscuits) look crusty. Regardless, highlights include Lottie, of all people, receiving the first Hollywood handshake of the season (my COVID-19 era mind was shaking… what is human contact?) and Marc (not from Northern Ireland) churning out a tray of ginger, cherry, and pistachio squares with a patterned ruby chocolate finish that I would like photographed and framed on my wall. Geez Marc, pop off! I’ve never been so attracted to a plate of hyped-up granola bars. Also, Rowan finished approximately half of the florentine waistcoats that he was attempting to make, not good foreshadowing for his season, and Prue, unexpectedly, delivered one of the least subtle innuendos I have ever heard on GBBO. “I remember worrying a bit about your very large nuts…”—relatable Prue, relatable. 

For the technical, coconut macaroons? Ok so throw out everything I have ever learned about biscuits being snappy. Anyways, Dave won. He certainly deserved it, and also he needed to win something before I started getting nervous for the other bakers’ safety. I’ll just say this—if the other bakers start going down due to poison, my bets are on Dave as the culprit. The man is INVESTED. Rowan and Mak, lacking nothing in passion, brought up the rear. 

In another disappointing turn of events, this week’s Showstopper was biscuit table spreads. Here is my issue—I feel showstoppers these past two weeks have been focused on the artistry rather than the baking itself. What happened to the Paul Hollywood “quality over artistry” policy? I actually miss it. Regardless, the results were cute: we saw a quite phenomenal Mexican-ceramic-tacoware set by Dave, a too-cute gingerbread Scottish spread (biscuit haggis included) from Peter, and a gorgeous silver Dutch high tea set from Linda. Remarkably, Rowan got something on the plate, but I am still not sure what it was.

How did it turn out? SPOILERS HERE

Star Baker: Dave! Certainly well-deserved, Dave was on top throughout. I’m betting on him for the final.

Sent home: um. Mak? I have to say, though I love that Rowan is here to have a good time, I feel like Mak was far more committed to improvement. He got screwed, and I’m interested to see if Rowan turns it around— even he knew he should have gone.


See you next week bakers!

Katie Woodhouse
Katie Woodhouse is a junior in the college studying psychology, chemistry, and music. Her great loves are cooking, baking, and her fish Edward Cullen. Her very realistic life goals include becoming a low key reality TV star and spending her winnings on a petite cafe/wine bar in the outskirts of Paris. Come to her with thoughts on food, the Midwest, British television, and prospective donations towards the aforementioned ventures.

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