photo courtesy of James F Carter,Wikimedia CommonsGaribaldi biscuits (cookies) are made from two long thin oblong pastry strips forming an outer casing which encloses a thick layer of currants. They are popularly known as 'fly cemeteries' or 'squashed fly' biscuits and as such have been known to deter more sensitive children from eating them, a ploy by older siblings to ensure a greater share of the goodies, no doubt. (It certainly was so in my case until I realised my brother was teasing me!) They are packed in bands of biscuits with an indented line to indicate where each individual starts. Breaking the strips into single entities is part of the enjoyment of eating Garibaldi biscuits. The sweetness comes from the fruit rather than the pastry. (I must confess that I don't really care for Garibaldi biscuits. Too much negative propaganda when I was young? I don't think so!)
photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Why Garibaldi? Giuseppe Garibaldi was a popular Italian general who fought to unify Italy. He visited Tynemouth, England in 1854 and it is believed that the biscuit was named after him. It was first manufactured by Peek Frean in 1861 and has remained a favourite accompaniment to 'a nice cup of tea.' There are conflicting accounts of the provenance of the snack. One explanation declares that General Garibaldi ordered his cook to create a high energy foodstuff for an army marching on its stomach, requiring it to be both lightweight and robust. Another version states that the biscuit was created in England to celebrate the General's visit. A third story claims that the first Garibaldi biscuits were actually formed from bread soaked in horse blood mixed with berries. Apparently, the General frequently had insufficient food for his troops during his campaigns and when rations ran out ordered his horses to be bled to nourish his men. It is entirely possible that legions of flies added themselves selflessly to the ingredients. This last theory seems plausible for indeed in the 13th and 14th centuries Mongol warriors would drink a mixture of mare's blood and milk to sustain themselves, a custom still adhered to in some cultures when food is scarce and a quick infusion of energy is required.
(G also stands for Gillian, my eldest daughter, my son Gareth and, of course, Gus, who is now six months old and as tall as Jenna, though not yet as broad.
Gillian's birthday is March 3rd. Happy Birthday, dear Gillian!)Thank you to the ABC team who organise and host this meme. Be nosy and see what others have presented for G today!