At the risk of sounding a teensy bit like Dick Smith…

22 Feb
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Partly because of parental influence and partly because I really do get wittier the more I talk, I sometimes repeat stories.

‘Yes, ThirdCat,’ friends who arrived on these shores from far lands would say, ‘you did once mention that Bush Biscuits were the second best foodstuff ever to be manufactured and I think you’re probably right that Australian society has suffered since they were discontinued by Arnotts. If only we had arrived in those heady times when tertiary education was free and the greatest arguments were between those who liked their Bush Biscuits plain and those who liked them smothered in Vegemite. Now, perhaps you could tell us again about that time you set your kitchen on fire.’ And they would settle back into their chairs and smile then laugh then roar. My friends are good that way.

And then, at the end of last year, Bush Biscuits returned, packaged in fours rather than eights, and – as with all childhood memories – slightly smaller than you might have thought – but tasting the same.

‘Oh,’ those friend(s) said, ‘ThirdCat you were right. Bush Biscuits are brilliant.’ And they are. Though they are not the healthy option children are taught about in schools these days they are filling, cheap and do not go soggy. And, unlike apples, you can hide them at the back of the cupboard thus ensuring that you have not run out by Friday.

I had thought that Bush Biscuits were an Australian-all-over institution, but it seems I was not right (and that’s something I’m only going to say once). Blog-cruising the other day, I was surprised by Lucy Tartan’s surprise at the Bush Biscuit. It seems that like Fritz, Woodroofe’s lemonade and the State Bank, Bush Biscuits were South Australian.

The future of Bush Biscuits is uncertain, and these days they are manufactured in Papua New Guinea.

This post is not brought to you by SA Great, or KG it just sounds that way.

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17 Responses to “At the risk of sounding a teensy bit like Dick Smith…”

  1. ampersandduck February 22, 2007 at 2:02 pm #

    My first thought upon seeing that photo was that you’d done some lovely photoshopping and were about to write a pithy little post about Dubya being crackers…

    But you wrote a pithy little post about regional foodstuffs, which was lovely.

  2. ThirdCat February 22, 2007 at 4:05 pm #

    I didn’t even think of it! But now you mention it, maybe that’s why they’ve brought them back. Turning teh evil into teh benign.

  3. Blue February 22, 2007 at 7:47 pm #

    I miss Bush Biscuits & now having to remember to ask for devon instead of fritz 😦

  4. hasarder February 23, 2007 at 1:20 am #

    Bush biscuits!

    I always ate them smothered in butter, next to the pelican bins at Burnside pool.

    I didn’t realise they were an SA thing. And I’ve never even noticed the lack of Woodroofe’s since I moved interstate.

    So what’s the first best foodstuff ever to be manufactured?

  5. Ariel February 23, 2007 at 6:54 am #

    Do not forget Coopers in that list!

  6. suse February 23, 2007 at 8:02 am #

    That was a beautifully executed post.

    You’re good at this, aren’t you?

  7. elsewhere February 23, 2007 at 10:43 pm #

    Now I will definitely buy a packet of Bush biscuits next time I go to my local IGA in Alice. I’ve been wondering what they are and you and Lucy Tartan have impressed upon me the need to experience them within this lifetime.

    When you said ‘KG’, I thought you were referring to Pavlov’s Cat!

  8. Pavlov's Cat February 23, 2007 at 11:30 pm #

    From what I can make out, KG Cunningham and I have very little in common apart from having been born in SA.

    But it is true that I was so inspired by this exchange that I too picked up a packet of Bush Biscuits (which are being tirelessly promoted, at least at the Old Port Canal Coles) while shopping this evening for cat litter and peaches, and am anticipating the moment when I bite into one and it unleashes, madeleine-like, a flood of childhood memories.

  9. Pavlov's Cat February 23, 2007 at 11:30 pm #

    From what I can make out, KG Cunningham and I have very little in common apart from having been born in SA.

    But it is true that I was so inspired by this exchange that I too picked up a packet of Bush Biscuits (which are being tirelessly promoted, at least at the Old Port Canal Coles) while shopping this evening for cat litter and peaches, and am anticipating the moment when I bite into one and it unleashes, madeleine-like, a flood of childhood memories.

  10. Mummy Crit February 24, 2007 at 10:57 am #

    Wow, as i started reading your post my thought was “there’s no denying it, Thirdcat really is from Adelaide” yo-yo biscuits were the other SA regional one. There were lots of regional differences, including Teddy Bears, and some of the recipes were different – ginger nuts were very different depending on where you were. This was the state of play until some time in the 90s when they were the subject of a US takeover…and everything became standardised. I’m glad that Bush Biscuits are back, though I never ate them (not being from Adelaide) they were legendary – described as ‘like an oversized SAO only more robust’. I’m gonna look for some next time!

  11. ThirdCat February 25, 2007 at 11:08 am #

    Pelican bins. Now there’s something you don’t see anymore. Also the lions. Also those bins with all the stones pressed into the concrete. I think Woodroofe’s got taken over by Schweppes. Back in the days when I still believed the Green Left Weekly was a credible news source I was boycotting Schweppes for some reason or other…does anyone know why that might have been? Not that I drink soft drinks so it doesn’t really matter.

    PC, youse also both really like cricket.

    Yes, SAOs are definitely flakier than Bush biscuits. Bush biscuits are quite similar in taste and texture to Yo-Yos. And both are best with a good serving of butter.

    Anyone who needs me to send them a packet of bush biscuits email me your address and I’ll put some in the mail.

  12. Mummy Crit February 25, 2007 at 7:58 pm #

    Crikey, that’s tempting. Can’t get them round these parts…

  13. Helen February 26, 2007 at 6:50 am #

    Oh, now I’m wafting away in a haze of memory, like a bad movie where everything goes all wavy…

    Swimming lessons at Hazelwood Park swimming pool, outdoors, we were tough in those days. We did it in the morning and we’d be shivering in our towels afterwards, chomping on those enormous Bush Biscuits which the pool kiosk sold.

    And Woody’s Screw Top, the best ade made…

    Waft…

    I’ll send my address with a self-addressed postpak containing something Melburnian (thinks…)

  14. Pavlov's Cat February 26, 2007 at 10:42 am #

    Adelaide Girls’ High tuckshop, 1970.

    *Sigh*

    I’m trying to work out how something with golden syrup in it could possibly taste so good with Vegemite added to the butter. The golden syrup is kept to a minimum and is there in the first place, or so I would guess, to give the bush biscuits that gingerbread-like hardness. Aren’t they supposed to keep well as camping food, hence ‘bush’ as in ‘Take them with you out into the’?

  15. Pavlov's Cat February 26, 2007 at 10:42 am #

    Adelaide Girls’ High tuckshop, 1970.

    *Sigh*

    I’m trying to work out how something with golden syrup in it could possibly taste so good with Vegemite added to the butter. The golden syrup is kept to a minimum and is there in the first place, or so I would guess, to give the bush biscuits that gingerbread-like hardness. Aren’t they supposed to keep well as camping food, hence ‘bush’ as in ‘Take them with you out into the’?

  16. genevieve March 10, 2007 at 9:24 pm #

    This is SUCH an Adelaidean’s post, n’est-ce pas?
    The Bush biscuit as the South Australian madeleine… Bet you can’t post them over the border, neither.(Sighs) I shall just have to come to your Writers’ Festival after all. Or pig out on some SAOs.

  17. helen June 21, 2009 at 7:43 am #

    This is SUCH an Adelaidean’s post, n’est-ce pas?
    The Bush biscuit as the South Australian madeleine… Bet you can’t post them over the border, neither.(Sighs) I shall just have to come to your Writers’ Festival after all. Or pig out on some SAOs.

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