‘Science takes time’ – the foundation and guiding philosophy behind my research. I’m no big pharma, I know that due process, a tireless focus on accuracy and endless patience are all key to my work, and propping all that up is the knowledge that I suffer for you, dear reader. Without me you wouldn’t know that Party Rings are shit, Bourbons taste like the tears of an angel or that Leibniz are the last word in German biscuit excellence. How would you have realised that the standard of biscuits at Microsoft HQ are a clear indicator of it’s wider endemic problems or, for that matter, that the people at Hit biscuits really, really, really don’t understand the internet? Anyway, the point I’m making is that I take my role seriously and rather than act in a reactionary capacity I instead seek out the challenges, the biscuit related questions that you’ve always wanted answering. And this time I’m really helping you out. Shit, as they say, got real.
So here it is, something you’ve long searched for: a pragmatic guide to making a house out of biscuits. Soon you to will know how to make a decorative table display that even Diana would have liked, a piece so tasteful it can, and probably should, adorn your table at Christmas.
I’ve split it up into a handy staged process: Planning and Realisation. The planning stage is a little high-level, so I’m assuming a lot of you probably won’t understand what I’m talking about but, for the top ten percent, I’ll lay it out. I wanted a solid little country cottage, although you can of course build as big as your imagination dares. After pondering a little I broke out the science, compared the data and constructed a few charts to really bring the planning stage to life. The first thing I identified was attention span. Clearly even building a relatively modest dwelling was going to take some time, a lot of biscuits and a basic understanding of engineering principles, which resulted in this rather worrying graph.
Yup, straight away I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but like all good scientists I also realised I had to look at the whole argument to make sure I hadn’t introduced any bias. I put some thought into mitigating factors and came up with this.
Those results changed everything, sure I was going to get bored, and yes the structural soundness was going to suffer, but hell look at all that glory; building a house out of biscuits has got to be worth it. But what does glory really mean, how to quantify it? How would this literally translate into outcomes? Luckily having a week to spare due to yet another tagging order, I managed to knock this together and suddenly the cottage looked a lot more worthwhile.
No more sneers at the confectionery conferences or mocking laughter at the school reunions, this time science would take time, but crucially it would also pay. With barely a glance at my accounting software I went to buy some raw materials, having a think on the way about the biscuits that would taste good and have the strength to stand up to the madness of your average Christmas meal. I came back with this lot.
Yup, it pained me to see all of that without eating anything, but I knew, eventually, the cottage would be reward enough. Next I had to figure out a way to stick it all together and eventually settled on icing sugar which when mixed to a paste looked sticky enough. It was therefore annoying to learn that it takes approximately an hour to set, which I simply wasn’t up for; I know science takes time but that’s taking the piss.
After covering every possession I own in icing sugar, swearing profusely and glaring daggers at anyone stupid enough to enter the room I realised that the icing sugar cement thing really wasn’t going to work. I knew I’d have to revise my somewhat elaborate plans and focus on some tidy stacking instead. Bourbons, shortbread and custard creams were the order of the day, offering as they do a traditional approach to biscuits excellence and more importantly a nice flat edge. Behold.
Much better, progress was being made. I’d originally thought I’d prototype the walls and then retrospectively take it apart and glue it all back together once I’d decided on a workable design. Two hours in and four walls down there was no way in hell that was happening; from this point on I was committed to stacking and some out of character praying. I was in the lap of the gods.
It also became apparent that for this thing to even look like a cottage it would have to have at least one window and one door, without which it would just look like a stack of biscuits, and that’s just stupid. Anyway, once the walls were up, and the window and door were in, (utilising the Scottish might of Shortbread) I realised I had to cap the whole thing off to support the roof, so a layer of custard creams went up. Unfortunately they brought their own problems in the form of an uneven roof surface, which is when I stumbled upon the biscuit cottage building genius of Leibniz. A few of them in all the right places and I was looking good.
For the roof I’d originally planned on precisely sticking Morning Coffees together to make roof tiles, before turning them into a triangle, but due to the aforementioned icing sugar time issues, I had to think on my feet and come up with something else. Stacking even more of the mighty Bourbons in the middle I managed to rest the Morning Coffees on them, after which I again prayed to every major god to ensure it wouldn’t collapse.
I now had something that resembled the country retreat I’d dreamed of, but somehow it just didn’t look good enough to justify the four hours I’d invested. I wanted bells, I wanted whistles, I needed a fucking cartwheel.
Would you look at that? Marvel at how the Welsh Cake has been cut with a craft knife to reveal the subtle outlines of its spokes. That, dear readers, is quality. All that remained was the topping off ceremony, I wouldn’t live in a cottage that didn’t have a roaring fire so it was time to build a chimney. The only problem with this was the slightly dodgy nature of the roof and it’s utter reliance on luck and god’s watchful eye. How do you balance a chimney on a structure that’s struggling to hold it’s self upright? The answer it would appear was an iron nerve and a resolutely solid hand. Unfortunately I posses neither of these things so I again went with the so far proven praying option. The result, of which I’m rightly proud, is this truly awesome creation. Let’s have a look at it from another angle.
All that was left was to drizzle the increasingly solid icing sugar mix, safe in the knowledge that it would be dry in 2-3 days.
So there you go: how to build a house out of biscuits from planning to realisation; once again, you’re welcome. Go forth and build stuff, make a tower block, move onto a bridge, surprise me and yourself. A reward (biscuits) to all who take up the challenge.