A Brief History of Dunking Biscuits / Cookies

" ...from a peer-reviewed scientific journal..."

It was the Romans who started the tradition. They dunked their hard, unleavened wafers in wine in order to soften them. These wafers were known as “bis cotum” leading to the word biscuit. Modern day dunking, however, has it roots in the naval traditions of the 16th century when a flour and water mixture known as “hard tack” was baked and used for sailors’ rations. These incredibly unappealing biscuits were also known as “tooth dullers” and “molar breakers” making the need for dunking very clear. Hard tack was routine dipped in beer or brine (!) to soften it before it was even remotely edible. The fact that the one in the picture below has survived from the 19th century proves just how tough they must have been!

By the 17th century the basic biscuit recipe had been developed into something much nicer that tasted like sponge fingers. These were originally served at the end of the meal and dipped into wine or other alcoholic beverages. They are the ancestors of the trifle. From that time on, a number of biscuit recipes proliferated until in the Victorian period, biscuits, cake and tea were partaken mid-afternoon as the formal afternoon tea. Dunking, however, was discouraged. The Victorians disapproved of public biscuit dipping, feeling that it was something only to be done in the privacy of one’s own home. So, ends the history.

Not everyone enjoys dunking and the choice of a dunking a biscuit / cookie is still a very personal matter. So, here is the all-important question. Do you dunk?  Yes I do!

My dunking or dipping began when I was 6 years old. I remember my mom buttered a graham cracker and put another on top like a sandwich. Then I dunked it into my milk and oh my gosh it was so good that today I continue to dunk them. That was the beginning which lead to cookies being dunked. It was so good. But, by far the best dunk was the Oreo cookie which beat out the chocolate chip cookie. My next Learn topic is all about cookies and coffee! Dunk away by David Nozar and Jollymaccoffee.