Monday, 2 July 2012

Biscuit of the Day: The Rice Cake

 Do rice cakes count as biscuits?  Now this is a point about which we could debate forever.  Some argue vociferously about the cake-ness of a rice cake. The basis of their argument tends to be that cakes go had, and biscuits go soft.  However, having conducting some exhaustive experiments (which involved leaving a rice cake in my desk drawer for several months and then eating it) I can verify that the constitution of a rice cake remains remarkably impervious to the passage of time.  Since it cannot therefore be said to go either hard or soft, I imagine either definition to be acceptable (although I am sure the argument about this will rage on).

Reaching into the drawer for a rice cake must be one of life's most divisive experiences.  Certainly I know many people who would sneer.  Still more would imitate the action of vomiting.  Indeed, I know one person who says the smell of rice cakes reminds her of 'sick'.

Personally, the smell of rice cakes reminds me of popcorn, and the smell of walking into the foyer of a cinema.  Since this happens to be one of my favourite all-time activities (the cinema bit, not necessarily the walking bit), the smell of a rice cake is something I rather like.

Certainly rice cakes have the 'health' factor.  They taste healthy (even if they do smell of popcorn).  There is an absence of anything sweet or chocolately in the composition though, which I could certainly understand might be off-putting for some.  The go rather well with a cup of tea, as by comparison they make the tea taste rather sweet.  They do seem to bring out the bitterness of coffee though - which is a shame.  In their favour though, they do make a satisfying 'snap' sound when you break or bit into them.  Rice cakes are therefore the biscuit/cake equivalent of the car door on a Volkswagen.

Many people may have resorted to the rice cake because of its healthy aspect - although I do suspect this aspect is potentially misleading.  The sheer healthiness of the things means that eating one with your cup of tea can be oddly unsatisfying, and you can find yourself eating three or four of the things where possibly only one biscuit would have sufficed.  Calorie-count in terms of volume may therefore (in the long term) outweigh (literally) the calorie count of an individual biscuit.

Let's be honest here.  Rice cakes are like joining the gym in January - they are the result of an enthusiastic desire for a healthier life-style which is unlikely to survive the rigours of February.  I had not managed to get half-way through the packet before my tea-breaks left me dreaming of bourbons.


High marks for build quality and sensory enjoyment
Low marks for taste and satisfaction


It's a fad.  Get over it.