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Distributed for Reaktion Books

Biscuits and Cookies

A Global History

What’s your favorite cookie (or biscuit, for any British baking show buffs)? Chocolate chip, ginger spice, or Oreo? Oatmeal-and-raisin, black-and-white, digestive, or florentine? Or do you just prefer the dough? Our choice biscuits and cookies are as diverse as the myriad forms and flavors these chewy treats take, and well they should be. These baked delights have a history as rich as their taste: evidence of biscuit-making dates back to around 4000 BC.

In Biscuits and Cookies, Anastasia Edwards explores the delectable past of these versatile snacks, from their earliest beginnings through Middle Eastern baking techniques, to cookies of Northern Europe in the Middle Ages, and on into the New World. From German lebkuchen to the animal cracker (more than half a billion of which are produced each year in the United States alone), from brownies and sugar cookies in the United States to shortbread and buttery tea biscuits in the United Kingdom, to Anzac and Girl-Guide biscuits in New Zealand and Australia, this book is crammed with biscuit and cookie facts, stories, images, and recipes from around the world and across time. And there’s no need to steal from the cookie jar.

128 pages | 50 color plates, 10 halftones | 4 3/4 x 7 3/4


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“Illuminating the complexities of these creations, Biscuits and Cookies: A Global History is a thorough effort to chronicle the multifaceted gastronomical histories of baked goods, which are shown as taking an array of forms over the centuries. Focusing on the baking of the Americas, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East, Edwards’s book takes the long view by explaining how the production, cultural, and national significance of biscuits and cookies have been interwoven with the intricacies of business and economics. As she explains, baking such treats remains a livelihood for many across cultures. . . . As for the book’s style, Biscuits and Cookies evinces parallels to the work of earlier food writers such as the American author M. F. K. Fisher insofar as Edwards offers an accessible, insightful, and lively account that inspires thought. . . . Edwards’s book thus offers readers an insightful historical introduction to the ways biscuits and cookies have influenced and enhanced diverse lives.”

Food, Culture & Society

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