May 5, 2014

HIBK is not a particularly easy to pronounce acronym, and perhaps more memorable for that very reason. As I learned in 11th grade English, HIBK is a romance novel trope (by romance, I mean late eighteenth to early nineteenth century western European, not Danielle Steele) employed when the hero or heroine looks back on the series of unfortunate events that have unfolded and thinks (aloud) “had I but known…”
Had I but known how much I loved food, I would never have decided to spend a year in St Andrews. Yet such a decision would have deprived me both of the best Indian food I have ever eaten and digestive biscuits.
In St Andrews I had one good friend who lived in a proper house, and whenever I would come round (sometimes unannounced–I didn’t have a cellphone and things were much more accidental as a result), she would put on a cup of tea and a few biscuits. There was a special cupboard just full of biscuits, mostly of the digestive variety. You can find digestives very easily in New York nowadays (even the caramel and chocolate dipped Hobnob variety), but why buy something from the store when you can make it at home?

The Guardian is a useful paper for recipes (I’m afraid that I can’t comment on the other content), in particular a current column by Felicity Cloake that tests various recipes of a particular dish and takes the best elements from each one. Her digestive recipe seemed thoroughly researched and I highly recommend it.
Ms. Cloake notes that digestives are not in fact particularly healthful. They contain much more butter than the average slice of (unfrosted) cake and are alarmingly fast to eat. The fact that the British would give such a medicinal name to a cookie goes a long way toward explaining a great many things as my tea guest could tell you.
I’ll admit that I mostly wanted to invite Alfred Hitchcock over to tea so that I could take a stab at drawing him.

When I confessed to this ulterior motive, Hitchcock simply responded, “puns are the highest form of literature.”
I’m glad we agree.
Unlike my boyfriend, my mother, and my sister, I have never taken a cinema class on Hitchcock. I have seen at least half a dozen of his films, including the one that according to Wikipedia was his favorite, Shadow of a Doubt (which seems to have been the primary inspiration for the recent film Stoker–a worthwhile and disturbing film in its own right). So anyway, we had plenty to talk about in between sipping and dunking.
Most recently, I re-watched Rear Window (a film my sister has written at least two essays about) after discovering my cousin inhabits a very rear window oriented apartment . My own rear window looks out on what appears to be a youth kickboxing studio. That said, when the unseen neighbor’s dog wakes us up at 5:30 in the morning, I can’t help but feel some of that claustrophobic urban angst.
Unlike digestives, Hitchcock explained, “revenge is sweet and not fattening.”