Bad biscuits and scary soup

09Apr10

We never really did deal with the soup question, did we? It was brought back to me yesterday when I was browsing the supermarket shelves, bit hungry after a swim so less discriminating – ie jaded – than usual, when I happened upon some own-brand fruit digestives. Yeah, you heard me, Fruit Digestives. What the…? WHAT? Digestives with currants in them? How can this be?

I’m hoping it was just low blood sugar post-swimmage, but I felt an unreasonable degree of what can only be called anxiety. Currants, I kept saying to myself, in a digestive? Or are they sultanas? Obviously I bought a packet and took it into work. There’s no way I’m tackling that sort of craziness without colleague backup.

Everyone else, which is to say the picture editor, was astonishingly sanguine about the whole thing. I can only assume he hadn’t really grasped the magnitude of the troublesome snack that he was attempting to open. Since he refused to open the packet by pulling the tag marked ‘pull’, preferring to pick painstakingly at the heavily glued ends (it’s ‘wrong’ to open by means of the tag, according to MentalMan), I feel I can safely disregard his attitude as unsound. Or perhaps he’s OCD, which would mean the mashup of dried fruit and classic biscuit should have pushed him over the edge. Perhaps it was so enormous, so fundamentally incomprehensible, that it had been rendered invisible to him as he pick-pick-picked at the packet.

Which is where the soup comes in. I mentioned a while back that I’ve never understood soup. It’s wrong. It straddles categories in a way that, according to psychoanalytic literary theory, is frightening. Julie Kristeva, a French philosopher, in about the only comprehensible thing she ever said, observed that things that cross boundaries induce anxiety. Things that seem to take on the characteristics of something else, while still partially remaining themselves, are deeply unsettling – ‘uncanny’. Thus gothic/horror is scary to us because it features things that are dead but not dead (zombies), beautiful yet foul (hot lady vampires, if you’re Bram Stoker), human and animal mixed (Island of Dr Moreau), fleshy yet shape-shifty (werewolves), solid-looking but likely to disappear (ghosts). Follow my logic here: what the hell is soup? Is it a meal? Is it a drink? Mug or bowl? Starter? Main course? Hot? Cold? Lumpy? Clear? Bloody anxiety written all over it, that stuff. I have warily come round to it of late, but only because I have decided that it is a light lunch, served in a bowl with a hunk of bread, possibly some cheese; and that’s an end of it – I’m simply not going to acknowledge the dark corners of soup potentiality.

And what was the verdict, after Julius had taken 10 infuriating minutes to open the stupid packet? Well, in the rustly interim, we’d agreed that it was funny that Mr McVitie hadn’t already added them to his stable, if they were all that. And our hunch was correct. A disappointing biscuit, all in all. Bit dry, bit strange, bit interrupted. You’re much better off with a fruit shortcake, the ones with the scalloped edges and the sugar sprinkled on top. Now that’s a biscuit that me, Mr McVitie and Julie Kristeva could really get behind.

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One Response to “Bad biscuits and scary soup”

  1. 1 luckyfiver

    Love it! I too enjoy a fruit shortcake but tend to veer more towards the crinkle crunch, good for a dunk but only briefly.


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